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Amazon says it won't launch a phone this year, and it won't be free

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Responding to an earlier post on reporter Jessica Lessin's website, Amazon is now telling Lessin's team that it won't be selling its own smartphone in 2013 — and if it does decide to eventually launch one, it won't be free.

The statement goes against Lessin's earlier report, which had claimed that the retail giant was considering offering its phones at no cost. At that time, no details were offered on how Amazon might achieve the goal, but it's safe to assume that it would involve subscriptions to some combination of the company's services like Prime — which includes a video streaming component — or Kindle.

Even without offering a phone to consumers at no charge, it's possible that Amazon could still bundle its services in such a way to offer the phone relatively cheaply without resorting to a traditional wireless contract, particularly since Amazon's forked version of Android — which doesn't include any Google services out of the box — encourages customers to lean more heavily on Amazon's own ecosystem for apps and content.

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