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Amazon says ‘no plans’ for smartphone this year, and any future one ‘would not be free’

Following a report over the weekend suggesting Amazon was gearing up to launch a free smartphone, the e-commerce giant has issued a statement denying any such move.

“We have no plans to offer a phone this year, and if we were to launch a phone in the future, it would not be free,” the company told AllThingsD.

Friday’s report suggesting Amazon was considering launching a free handset came courtesy of Amir Efrati on the website of former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin.

Efrati said a source “familiar with the effort” said Amazon had “talked to wireless carriers about offering its phones, though it is expected to offer them directly to consumers through its website.”

The report continued, “The free strategy isn’t set in stone and depends on several factors, including Amazon’s ability to work out financial arrangements with hardware partners.”

Though the Seattle-based company has just outright dismissed the idea of a free phone, it hasn’t denied that a smartphone is in the works. Considering the success it enjoys with its Kindle Fire tablets, and more importantly the revenue they create through their link to Amazon’s online store, it’s perfectly feasible that at some point the company will get a handset or two on the market.

Talk of an Amazon smartphone has been going on for years, with one of the more recent ones suggesting a device sporting glasses-free 3D capabilities and a high-tech eye-tracking feature.

Company boss Jeff Bezos certainly appears to be into the idea of coming up with a device that’s not just another phone, having last year been granted a patent for a mini-airbag system designed to protect a handset from breaking when hitting a hard surface.

Whatever Amazon has in store for the smartphone market, we’re going to have to wait till 2014 at the earliest to discover the details.

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