Amazon's Jeff Bezos Practically Confirmed the Kindle Smartphone

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In an interview with Charlie Rose , Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos all but confirmed the development of a Kindle smartphone. "Here's one where… You know, we're very reluctant to discuss our future roadmap," Bezos replied when questioned about the existence of a Kindle phone. "I will have to decline to answer that question."

Rose laughed and asked, "Because it might incriminate you?"

"Yes," Bezos replied, laughing. "I'll just have to ask you to stay tuned. There are a bunch of rumors. I agree that there are a bunch of rumors that we might do a phone."

"Of course, that answer leads us to believe that you are going to do it," Rose added. "You're just waiting for the right opportunity."

"Well," Bezos replied, still laughing. "You'll just have to wait and see."

It is not yet known how long consumers will have to wait. Recent rumors suggest that the company may introduce its first smartphone in the spring. Amazon may also choose to save the announcement for its annual Kindle Fire event, which is likely to take place in late August or early September.

This timeline assumes that Amazon will continue to update its devices annually. If Amazon were to imitate Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) tablet strategy and upgrade the Kindle Fire twice a year, the company could introduce a new tablet as early as May 2013.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) seems to be taking a different approach. Instead of a full-fledged upgrade, the company doubled the RAM for the Nexus 7 this fall and released a larger tablet, the Nexus 10, in time for Christmas. Google also recently released the Nexus 4, a new smartphone manufactured by LG.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) received a number of complaints after rumors surfaced that the social networking giant planned to produce its own smartphone. Those rumors continue to fade in and out of the tech sector, but not without criticism from the company's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. During the last TechCrunch Disrupt event, Zuckerberg said that he thinks that brand-specific hardware "is a terrible idea."

"Amazon is producing a completely integrated service that would do everything that a certain type of person might want from a tablet," he said. "Facebook doesn't do that."

Despite Zuckerberg's denial, some believe that the company will proceed with its unconfirmed plans to build a cellular device.

The rumor partially stems from Facebook's inability to draw massive profits from its one billion users. While Facebook shares experienced a 20 percent gain after an unexpected earnings increase, the company remains unpopular with investors. A recent Yahoo Finance (NASDAQ: YHOO ) poll revealed that 77 percent of investors still won't touch Facebook . The social networking firm is trading up more than one percent this afternoon. However, it is still down more than 31 percent year-to-date.

Amazon, which is primarily a retailer that sells products from other manufacturers, is up more than 36 percent year-to-date.

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(c) 2012 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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