Amazon Is Planning To Launch Its Own Smartphone

The year 2012 is all about powerful smartphones, tablets, mobile operating systems and the never-ending patent wars. Until the last few months, Apple was the market leader in the super-competitive smartphone market. However, the tables have been turned. Now, Samsung has became the market leader by shipping 42.2 million smartphones worldwide, followed by Apple, which managed to ship 35.1 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the new rumors floating around the Internet, Amazon is likely to launch its very own smartphone in the coming months. This rumor is definitely not surprising for most of us since we have already see the capability of the retail giant. Last year, Amazon successfully launched its very own tablet, the Kindle Fire. This tablet was powered by the Android Operating System with Amazon’s heavily customized (shoptimized) UI on top of it. Thanks to the low cost and amazing specs, the Kindle Fire sold like hot cakes during the holiday season.

Bloomberg is reporting that the Seattle-based online retail company is planning to launch a smartphone which will compete with the Apple’s iPhone as well as other Android superphones. Basically, it means that Amazon is planning to compete with Apple and Samsung in the competitive smartphone market. The Amazon’s smartphone will run on the latest version of the Android Operating System. No prizes for guessing the user interface. It will come with the Amazon’s shoptimized UI on top of the OS.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. Yes, we are talking about the same Chinese mobile-phone maker which currently manufactures the Apple’s extremely popular iPhone’s and iPad’s. According to the rumors, the retail giant is working with Foxconn to develop its first smartphone. If these rumors turns out to be true, then you should expect yet another powerful smartphone with a stunning design.

Amazon has been already involved in five patent-related cases this year and 20 cases last year. To protect itself against potential patent infringement lawsuits from competitors claiming illegal use of technology, Amazon has already started obtaining vital patents through acquisitions. It has recently considered acquiring wireless patents from Pennsylvania based InterDigital. Sadly, the company sold its assets to Intel Corp. instead of Amazon for $375 million in June 2012.

It was not the end of the road for Amazon. The company recently hired Matt Gordon for patent acquisitions and investments at Amazon. Previously, Matt Gordon was the senior director of acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, which owns more than 35,000 intellectual property assets.

What are your views on the Amazon’s upcoming smartphone? Do you think this smartphone can survive in the competitive smartphone market? We would love to hear your views in the comments section below.

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Foxconn Workers Express Concern Over Reduced Overtime

A couple of days ago, it was reported that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) had reached an agreement with Foxconn to reduce the maximum number of working hours for its employees at its Apple production factories.

Now, Reuters reports that Foxconn workers are concerned about the decision due to the potential it may have on their salaries. These concerns are raised despite the assurances that Foxconn will change its compensation packages to compensate for the loss of working hours.

Over the past several years, Foxconn has been criticized for working hours, but others have suggested that instead of excessive overtime made required by the company, many workers are requesting as much overtime they can get. Many of the workers who have moved far from their homes to work at Foxconn want to earn as much money as possible so they can go back home.

During the audits, the FLA also uncovered a number of issues at three Foxconn facilities where Apple products are assembled, including those related to health, safety and worker representation.

Fair Labor Association Reaches Agreement with Foxconn on Working Hours and Pay

Over the past month or so, Apple had been drawing a lot of flak for factory working conditions in its factories. In order to solve this issue, last month, Apple requested the Fair Labor Association to do an audit of Apple’s major China supplier Foxconn.

Today, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) has announced that it has come to an agreement with Foxconn to ensure stricter working hours and examination of salaries paid to works at the facilities. During the audit, the FLA also found many violations of both Chinese labor laws and FLA standards when it comes to working hours. It was revealed that average workload clocked in at over 60 hours during peak times. In addition, scenarios of unfair overtime pay were also discovered, with overtime payments only being made in 30-minute increments. Workers also received no pay for overtime work of up to 29 minutes, while workers putting in 30-59 minutes of work received pay for only 30 minutes’ worth of work.

The FLA also found several other issues during its audits, varying from health and safety to lack of worker union representation. Full details of the results of the FLA’s audits are available through the organization’s website. Also, the FLA will continue to monitor Apple’s and Foxconn’s efforts.

Watch Apple’s Foxconn Factory ABC Nightline Show

ABC Nightline recently got the privilege to visit the Foxconn factory in China where Apple products are manufacture to create a report on the working conditions there. In the recent few weeks, Foxconn has been receiving  a lot of bad publicity about poor working conditions for factory workers there.

ABC News Foxconn Investigation

The Apple product manufacturer company was recently audited by the Fair Labor Association which gave it a good rating. Recently, Foxconn also raised wages for their Chinese Workers. In the past, Foxconn has been notorious for worker suicides and bad working conditions for their employees.

Apple recently gave permissions to ABC Nightline show to investigate the working conditions at Foxconn. In this exclusive investigation ABC Nightline takes users around the factory and gives them an inside view.

Users can view the entire episode of ABC Nightline’s investigation; Nightline 2/21: Apple’s Chinese Factories: Exclusive. An exclusive look inside Apple’s factory in China by visiting this link. The video is almost 18 minutes in length.

There is also a link for the above video which you can check out in the video embedded below.

Apple Opens Up Supplier Factories to Third-party Environmental Inspections

Lately, lots of news regarding Apple’s factories have been coming out. Even though the stories are getting stale, media will continue to talk about since it is Apple. A couple of days ago, it was reported that according to the Fair Labor Association (FLA), Foxconn’s factory conditions are to be “first-class” in comparison to the garment factories the association has typically monitored.Then just a couple of days after, Foxconn announced that it had raised the wages for its workers by 16 to 25 percent.

Now, the company that doesn’t care about its workers has agreed to cooperate on audits with independent environmental group seeking to verify the company’s own findings, via The Next Web. Ma Jun, founder of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, said that he had agreed last month to open up its facilities to be audited.

In addition, Linda Greer, the person in charge of the National Resources Defense Council’s health program, said the company had agreed access to two of the 14 suppliers. The groups that will be reviewing the facilities will focus on whether Apple’s suppliers are improperly disposing of toxic waste or not.

Apple Partner Foxconn Raises Chinese Worker Wages

Lately, Apple has been getting criticized a lot for its factory conditions. Just yesterday it was reported that according to the Fair Labor Association (FLA), Foxconn’s factory conditions are to be “first-class” in comparison to the garment factories the association has typically monitored. Today, Foxconn has announced that it has raised the wages of its workers by 16 to 25 percent.

According to Reuters, the salary of a junior-level worker  at its Shenzhen plant in China grew to 1,800 yuan per month. Also, that wage can even go beyond 2,200 yuan if the worker passes a technical examination and is a significant increase from the wage of 900 yuan from three years ago.”We will provide more training opportunities and learning time, and will continuously enhance technology, efficiency and salary, so as to set a good example for the Chinese manufacturing industry,” the company said in a statement.

This announcement from Foxconn comes only days after the Fair Labor Association began investing its facilities as part of a request from Apple. The last time Foxconn increased employee wages was in June 2010. Also, Apple announced last month that it was the first tech company to join the Fair Labor Association, which was a pretty big deal.

Amazon Kindle Fire 2 Coming in Early 2012

Amazon recently launched the Kindle Fire tablet, which is expected to capture the low end of the tablet market. It is priced extremely competitively, at just $199, and will begin shipping soon.

Apparently, Amazon is planning to go after the Apple iPad too, with a high end version of the Kindle Fire, which will be priced higher and will have a 10 inch display, just like the iPad 2.

According to a new report by Digitimes, Foxconn has landed the order from Amazon to manufacture the Kindle Fire 2. It will start production in Q1 2012. Foxconn also manufactures the Apple iPad 2 and some other tablets.

The Kindle Fire is made by Quanta Computer, which recently signed a patent licensing agreement with Microsoft.

We don’t have any specific details about the Kindle 2, except that it will be bigger, better and costlier. With the budget Kindle Fire and the premium Kindle Fire 2, Amazon will attempt to dethrone Apple as the king of tablets.

Rumors suggest that Apple may also be working on a cheaper version of the iPad — the iPad Mini — to capture the low end of the tablet market. Here’s why I think it may be true: Apple to Launch an iPad Mini to Fight Amazon’s Kindle Fire? It’s Quite Possible.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Foxconn to Make the Amazon Kindle Fire 2

Now that Amazon has launched the Kindle Fire, we have some interesting news about the rumored Amazon Kindle 2, the 10.1 inch premium version of the Kindle Fire which will compete with the iPad.

Production of the Amazon Kindle Fire was outsourced to Quanta, the same company which manufactured RIM’s Blackberry Playbook (which also explains the uncanny similarities in the designs of the two tablets).

Apparently, for the 10.1 inch Kindle Fire 2, Amazon is going with Foxconn Electronics, which also creates Apple’s iPads. According to a report by Digitimes, the Kindle Fire 2 will be available for shipping before the end of 2011, just before the holiday season.

While Amazon is taking a $10 loss on each Kindle Fire that it sells, it will likely be able to sell the Kindle Fire 2 at a profit, by positioning it as a premium product. It is expected to have much better specifications than the Kindle Fire, which is lacking in several departments when it comes to hardware.

Sources say that one of the reasons why Amazon launched the 7 inch tablet first is because of supply constraints related to 10 inch displays.

Amazon Kindle Fire