Amazon Planing to Release Smartphone in 2012?

Amazon has already tackled the tablet market, so why not smartphones?

Apparently, doing just that is on the drawing board for the massive online retailer in 2012.

According to Citigroup’s Mark Mahaney, Amazon will release a smartphone in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“Based on our supply chain channel checks in Asia led by Kevin Chang, Citi’s Taipei-based hardware research analyst, we believe an Amazon Smartphone will be launched in 4Q12,” Mahaney says.

If reports prove accurate, the device would be aimed at challenging Apple’s iPhone and would likely be developed by Apple partner Foxconn.

“Based on our supply chain check, we believe FIH is now jointly developing the phone with Amazon. However, we believe that Amazon will pay NRE (non-recurring engineering fees) to FIH but the device and multiple components will actually be manufactured by Hon Hai’s TMS business group (the same business group that makes Amazon’s E-reader and the 8.9” Amazon tablet),” Mahaney adds. “We believe the smartphone will adopt Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4 processor and is very likely to adopt QCOM’s dual mode 6-series standalone baseband given QCOM has been a long-time baseband supplier for Amazon’s E-reader.”

While not yet certain, it is thought that Amazon’s smartphone will be powered by Google’s Android operating system.