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Amazon denies plans to offer free smartphone this year

Internet retailer says it has no plans to launch a smartphone in 2013 and adds that if it ever does, the device won't be free.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Dan Farber

Contradicting rumors, Amazon said Sunday it has no plans to offer a smartphone for free.

Two days after former Wall Street Journal reporters Amir Efrati and Jessica Lessin reported that Amazon was considering the give-away strategy for "its long-planned smartphone," the company broke its silence with a statement dismissing the suggestion.

"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 Internet retail giant said in a statement to AllThingsD's Ina Fried.

According to an unnamed source in Efrati and Lessin's report, the company was still figuring out if the free model would work for its hardware partners. Their report also indicated that Amazon had approached wireless carriers about distributing its handset but that the Internet retailer would probably make its play for customers directly through its own Web site.

These are not the first rumblings we've heard of Amazon working on a smartphone of its own. Citigroup analysts suggested in 2011 that the Seattle-based e-commerce giant was working with Foxconn to develop a smartphone slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Although rumors that the company was working on a phone that would run a variant of the Kindle Fire Android operating system have been circulating for some time now, the latest version has been said to include 3D technology.