The latest rumor surrounding Amazon’s followup to the popular Kindle Fire tablet is that the redesigned device may be able to send and receive calls and text messages.
The news was first picked up in July. An anonymous employee told the Wall Street Journal that the company was testing out a smartphone and preparing for mass production of the new device.
Amazon’s smartphone sounds like it may feature a similar design to the current Samsung Galaxy Note, a massive smartphone-tablet hybrid that has become a cult hit with over 7 million units sold.
The rumor was also supported by analyst Shing Yin, who wrote in a recent report that Amazon’s planed smartphone will be a smallish tablet that can make calls and text message using special apps, according to Market Watch.
“Even though this device would look, feel, and act like a smartphone, one could hardly call it a phone if it doesn’t have voice and text capability,” Yin wrote. “Looking at the other entries in their service plan price list, one must conclude that this device most resembles a tablet. Who says a tablet has to be a certain size?”
The concept of using apps to send messages or make calls in far from new, and used by many iPhone owners who already have access to regular cellular network. Google’s Nexus 7 can even can even act as a phone via WiFi, using apps like Google Talk and Skype.
The redesigned Kindle Fire 2 is also expected to feature a camera. It will also likely be thinner and lighter that the original tablet, with an improved display.
The Kindle 2 is expected to hit stores this year, as Amazon gears up to compete with Google’s new tablet, as well as the rumored iPad Mini from tablet.