Report: Amazon, looking beyond Kindle, considers making phones

Amazon.com is considering developing other electronic gadgets beyond its Kindle ereader, including mobile phones, according to a New York Times blog post.

The post, which cited unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the company's plans, said that Lab 126, the unit of Amazon responsible for the Kindle, is considering the new hardware as a way for consumers to get easier access to digital books, music and movies from Amazon. Lab 126 has recently posted job openings for a hardware and RF engineer.

"Jeff's original goal for the lab was to build a range of other devices," one source told the NYT, referring to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. "There was talk of music players and other electronics." A possible mobile phone--which would compete in a market crowded with the likes of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) popular iPhone and phones running Google's Android platform--"seemed out of Amazon's reach," the source said. However, the mobile phone idea has not been abandoned entirely.

An Amazon representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month Amazon released new, cheaper versions of its Kindle ereaders, which use AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) 3G and WiFi networks. Priced at $189, the new Kindle also doubles content storage to roughly 3,500 books, with battery life of up to one month and built-in WiFi, Facebook and Twitter integration. Amazon also announced the the Kindle WiFi, which retails for $139--optimized for readers who don't want or need the 3G download connectivity of the regular Kindle.

For more:
- see this NYT blog post

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