Bloomberg confirms Amazon is working on a smartphone

Over the past few years, the smartphone race has essentially come down to just two manufacturers: Apple and Samsung. HTC is struggling, as is Nokia, and RIM is all but done.

But that doesn’t seem to be stopping Amazon from entering the market. Another report is out this evening claiming that the retail giant is cooking up its very own smartphone…

Bloomberg is reporting that it has learned that Amazon is developing a handset, based on the Android operating system, in an effort to take Apple head-on in the smartphone space.

And don’t expect this to be some third-rate offering. According to the report, Amazon is pulling out all the stops. Not only has it contracted Foxconn — Apple’s main manufacturing partner — to build the device, but it is actively seeking wireless technology patents to help defend it from infringement allegations.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors that Amazon was building its own smartphone. Last November, Citigroup analyst Kevin Chang said that his supply chain research indicated that a “Kindle Phone” was in the works.

As unconventional as this may all sound, don’t underestimate Jeff Bezos’ bunch. Of all of the tech companies not making smartphones (and even some that are), perhaps no one is better equipped to do so than Amazon. Its ecosystem — which consists of e-books, an app store, media content, and now maps — is as well-rounded as Apple’s, and it has already managed to launch a successful tablet.

That’s not to say that the road is going to be easy for Amazon. If it wants to make any kind of sizable dent in the smartphone market, it’s going to have to come up with something more compelling than the Kindle Fire. But not only does it have the components and bank roll to do it, it’s had the last 5 years to see what works and what doesn’t.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on an Amazon-branded smartphone. Good idea/bad idea?