According to a report from the Financial Times, Amazon and HTC have made plans to launch a range of Amazon-branded smartphones to accompany Amazon’s Kindle range of e-readers and tablets.
However, there are concerns about HTC’s relationship with Google if it pursues a close relationship with Amazon. At present, HTC, along with the likes of Samsung, Sony and LG, have access to Google’s open Android operating system. Being part of this Open Handset Alliance (OHA) allows manufacturers to run the OS on their handsets, giving their users access to the full Google Play store and Google apps such as Gmail, Google Maps and Chrome.
However, Amazon has ‘forked’ Android for its Kindle Fire range of tablets, which uses parts of Google’s Android, but directs users to its own app store rather than the Play Store.
Analysts have warned that HTC could risk its OHA membership if it works with Amazon on a ‘forked’ Android device.
Acer was challenged by Google when it partnered with Alibaba in a similar deal, forcing Acer to back out due to the risk of losing its OHA membership.
It will be interesting which side HTC chooses to part with; if HTC’s sights are set on breaking China, where a ‘forked’ version of Android, the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP) is most popular, breaking out of Google’s OHA might not be such a bad thing.