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Geekwire points to a LinkedIn page for a recently hired Amazon employee to suggest the company is continuing to branch out into consumer tech.
Charlie Kindel – he’s already sick of the Kindle jokes, guys – used to be the general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Phone products. Now his job description mentions a secret project for which he’s hiring “developers, program managers, and product managers.”
Geekwire asked him outright, but all he would say is that “Amazon presented an opportunity to build something new that has ginormous potential. I simply couldn’t pass the opportunity up.”
Rumors about an Amazon phone have been bouncing around for more than a year. (Then again, so have rumors of a Facebook smartphone. Seems like every tech company is supposed to be making one, and if they have that already, a smartwatch.) A recent Digitimes article suggested the original plan was for the phone to debut sometime this quarter, but there was a hitch in manufacturing.
The hire suggests Amazon may still be earlier along in the process, but Kindel’s background and secrecy certainly makes it seem like a more credible possibility. And we know Amazon’s not afraid of undercutting the competition if it makes money in the long run – CEO Jeff Bezos has said that they’re quite comfortable breaking even on hardware if they can profit on software.