Amazon smartphone will be AT&T exclusive, report says

Wednesday we'll finally get the official look at Amazon's entry into the smartphone business. AT&T will have a prominent role, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with Kindle HDX tablets. Amazon

AT&T will have a hand in one of the most anticipated smartphone launches this year, according to a new report.

The wireless carrier will be the exclusive provider of Amazon's upcoming smartphone, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the plans. It's not clear when, or if, the smartphone might be headed to other carriers.

AT&T declined comment.

AT&T and Amazon have already cozied up on hardware. The carrier provides wireless service on Amazon's range of tablets and e-readers. According to the Journal, the smartphone deal is an extension of the two companies' existing tablet agreement.

Tune into CNET's live blog of Amazon's smartphone event, Wednesday, June 18, at 10:30 a.m. PT / 1:30 p.m. ET

Amazon is holding a press event Wednesday in Seattle at which the e-commerce giant and Kindle device maker is expected to announce the long-rumored smartphone. It's believed that the device will come with 3D functionality and will rival flagship handsets on the market, including Apple's iPhone 5S. Expectations are that the device will get to consumers by late September.

By signing an exclusive deal with AT&T, Amazon is actually taking a page out of Apple's playbook. When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, it offered the breakthrough device exclusively on AT&T's network. More than three years then passed before the iPhone began to arrive on other networks. The Journal's sources weren't sure what kind of exclusivity deal Amazon and AT&T have signed.

For all the details from the unveiling as it happens, be sure to tune into CNET's live blog of the Amazon event Wednesday starting at 10:30 a.m. PT.

CNET has contacted Amazon for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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