As HTC spirals closer to its doom, we’re seeing the company taking more and more drastic steps to stay afloat, such as the sale of its share in Beats and the rumoured talks with Lenovo about a potential buy-out of the beleaguered Taiwanese company. The latest rumour suggests a return to the HTC of yore – building phones for other companies. Particularly, Amazon.
Amazon have long been rumoured to be building an Android-powered smartphone, but they obviously don’t have the ability to manufacture the device themselves, and so enter HTC – a company with a reputation for building solid mobile devices – to help out. The deal would be fantastic for HTC, who desperately need to start making money, and Amazon have a massive audience. Even if HTC have to forego their high-end design to meet Amazon’s likely low cost-point for the device, they would be able to use the money made from this deal to subsidise the losses it incurs from its own branded devices. In my opinion, no other Android manufacturer even comes close to HTC when it comes to design and build quality and I’d hate to see their unique style disappear from the market.
The trouble is that Amazon tend to sell their own-brand devices very cheaply, and unlike Google who allow Nexus OEMs to brand their device, Amazon is the only brand you see on their Kindles. So not only would HTC have to make Amazon’s phone to a very strict budget, it would get no brand exposure from the deal. According to the Financial Times, HTC are building three models for Amazon and are almost finished with one. Apparently, one of these phones will have a glasses-free 3D display, because we all know how popular those are.
Of course, Amazon’s PR team deny that there is going to be an Amazon phone, but the first rule of PR is ‘deny everything’. Only time will tell if the fabled Amazon phone is real, but if it’s going to be made by HTC, it could be pretty compelling.