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Amazon smart phone tipped for summer launch, low low price

Rumours are swirling that Amazon will follow up its tablet success with a dirt-cheap mobile.

Deep within its cavernous mountain headquarters, Amazon's army of orcs are rumoured to be forging a smart phone that could fight the likes of Samsung and Apple with a dirt-cheap price tag.

Having found tablet-shaped success with the Kindle Fire, the online bookseller has apparently booked iPhone-maker Foxconn to produce a mobile phone, Taiwan Economic News says -- a claim that chimes with a Bloomberg report from July.

The mythical mobile is tipped to launch between the second and third quarters of 2013, which means at some point between April and September, and is reckoned to ship as many as five million devices in its first year, according to parts-makers "involved in the supply" of the new gadget, the site says.

The unit price is pegged as between $100-200 (roughly £61-123), meaning that if it's real, Amazon's own-brand blower could be extremely cheap.

Cheap traditionally means a lack of power or boring hardware when it comes to smart phones, but Google's £239 Nexus 4 proves that manufacturers are willing to sell high-end devices at prices that won't melt your credit cards.

Amazon has form when it comes to cheap gadgets, with the £159 Kindle Fire HD being one of the cheapest tablets money can buy. The high-street-destroying site can afford to sell gadgets at cut-down prices, because it makes its money from selling books, videos and other downloadable goodies once you've acquired the hardware itself. Google has a similar strategy with its Nexus 7 tablet.

The Kindle Fire tablets run on a highly-modified version of Android that's basic, but easy to use. It would be interesting to see whether that same interface could translate to a smart phone.

Amazon hasn't confirmed that it's making a mobile, so take any rumours with a fistful of salt until you hear something official. If Amazon did make a smart phone though, would you use it? And how much would you be willing to pay? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.