Amazon Said to Be in Talks With HTC Since June on Prime Handsets

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the world’s biggest e-commerce company, and HTC Corp. (2498) have been in talks since at least June to develop handsets for sale to users of the Amazon Prime service, according to two people familiar with the talks.

A final decision hasn’t been made on whether to proceed with a product or when it would be delivered, the people said, asking to not be identified because the talks are private. Amazon wants to increase the number of devices that can access its Amazon Instant Video service and seeks to sell phones through subscriptions with carriers, one of the people said.

Amazon Prime, introduced in 2005 as a fast-shipping service, has developed into a platform for streaming and downloading media, including movies and television shows. Amazon started working with Foxconn Technology Group last year on a smartphone that would enable customers to view its content, Bloomberg News reported in July 2012.

Three devices are being discussed by Amazon and HTC, the Financial Times reported earlier, citing people familiar with the project it didn’t name.

“HTC doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation,” the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in an e-mailed response yesterday. Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon, didn’t return a request for comment.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

HTC also is helping Amazon broaden its hardware beyond the Kindle devices. Close

HTC also is helping Amazon broaden its hardware beyond the Kindle devices.

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Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

HTC also is helping Amazon broaden its hardware beyond the Kindle devices.

Apart from its own Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Instant Video is compatible with Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad, iPhone and iPod as well as a range of televisions, media players and computers, according to its website.

HTC, which worked with Facebook Inc. (FB) to develop the HTC First handset featuring the social-network company’s Home software, also is helping Amazon broaden its hardware beyond the Kindle devices.

Amazon’s Herdener said last month the company has no plans to introduce a phone this year, and if it were to offer a handset it wouldn’t be free.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net.

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