Amazon: We Won't Launch a Phone in 2013, and It Won't Be Free, Either

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Late last week, Wall Street Journal vets Jessica Lessin and Amir Efrati claimed that an Amazon phone launch was imminent, and that the handset would be free. Amazon has responded to those claims, stating that neither is true.

Despite ongoing rumours about an Amazon phone, we're not really any closer to knowing what Bezos & Co. is thinking about it. Now, though, Amazon has told Lessin and Efrati that it has no intentions of releasing a phone this year, and furthermore, it wouldn't be free if it did anyway. Over in the US, it's very rare to get a phone for free on a contract -- most require a hefty upfront fee, along with the monthly network charges. It's not clear whether the rumour regarding Amazon giving away this phone for free would be in a similar line to what we see in Europe, or if it'd be a global (free) launch with customers required to pay for Amazon Prime and other Amazon services instead.

Of course, that's a company line, and could just be the story that Amazon is choosing to tell. But there's probably some truth in the idea that the phone wouldn't be completely free. In reality, it seems most likely that the device would just be heavily subsidised—like the Kindle Fire—in a bid to encourage consumers to purchase apps and media through Amazon.

Realistically, it's tough to know when and what to expect from an Amazon phone, and this latest rumour doesn't really further our understanding at all—apart from telling us that we probably have a bit longer to wait than we thought on Friday. [Jessica Lessin]