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Kindle phone tipped as Microsoft dev pops up at Amazon

A former Windows Phone manager is hiring in his new role at Amazon, reigniting rumours of a Kindle phone.

Rumours of Amazon creating a Kindle phone have been reignited after a former Windows Phone general manager popped up at the company -- and he's hiring.

Charlie Kindel, a former mobile developer guru at Microsoft, has joined Amazon to lead a mysterious project. Abruptly leaving Microsoft in mid-2011, Kindel's LinkedIn profile now lists him as "at Amazon working on something wonderful".

"I'm building a new team going after a totally new area for Amazon," Kindel wrote in a LinkedIn profile update. Most notably, he's on the lookout for "cloud and mobile developers and testers, program managers, and product managers".

This mysterious "new area" for Amazon may be development on an unannounced Kindle phone, although rumours of such a device have been swimming around for years. Korean manufacturing gossip blog DigiTimes reported just last week that "industry supply chain sources" say Amazon is developing a 4.7-inch smart phone headed for a 2014 release.

Consistently outspoken at Microsoft, Kindel could often be found trashing Android and denouncing Google's OS fragmentation. After leaving the company, however, Kindel detailed in an article why he believes Windows Phone hasn't taken off, citing "lacklustre sales".

Despite the irony, and however improbable it may seem, a man named Kindel joining a company that makes the Kindle is not an elaborate April Fools' prank. Kindel joked on his personal blog that he would be leading a team working on the "Kindle Charlie" -- "Amazon's entry to the hotly contested home server market". Later on his Twitter account, however, he did confirm his new role at Amazon is legitimate:

The question remains, though, how a smart phone would fit into Amazon's future product lineup. At present, the company makes no profit on sales of the Kindle, instead using it as a platform to flog books, games, movies and other digital fun times. That's the polar opposite to Apple, which makes a staggering amount of money on every iOS device sold.

Would you buy a Kindle phone? Is it likely to look suspiciously like an iPhone (ahem)? Let me know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.