Amazon's 'Something Secret'

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Amazon ( AMZN) has increasingly been getting into the hardware business, with its Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets. The company's latest hire suggests the online retailer could be expanding its hardware presence.

The Seattle-based Amazon recently hired former Microsoft ( MSFT) Windows Phone general manager Charlie Kindel to work on "something secret." According to Kindel's LinkedIn page, he is the director of something secret. He lists the job description as him "building a new team going after a totally new area for Amazon. I'm hiring cloud and mobile developers and testers, program managers, and product managers."

In an interview with GeekWire, Kindel (kinda funny his last name is spelled almost exactly like Amazon's e-reader and tablets) said Amazon provided him with an extraordinary opportunity to venture into something new.

"Amazon presented an opportunity to build something new that has ginormous potential," Kindel said during the interview. "I simply couldn't pass the opportunity up. As a double bonus, the idea that I can work in such a principled and customer focused company is really exciting to me."

Amazon has been reportedly working on a smartphone for some time, though the company has yet to announce anything definite. Recent reports suggest the phone is delayed due to issues related to its mobile platform. It reportedly will run off Google's ( GOOG) Android operating system, much like the Kindle Fire does.

In recent days, Amazon has been positioning its Kindle Fire HD as a low-cost alternative to Apple's ( AAPL) iPad via commercials. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos even mentioned that Amazon wanted to make the best tablet at any price when announcing the Kindle Fire HD in September 2012, a clear shot at Apple and the iPad, the leader in the tablet market with 51% of the market as of 2012, according to IDC.

Amazon seems hell-bent on providing more platforms for its customers to purchase goods and services from the company. Bezos has said previously Amazon wants to make money when its users use the products, not when they purchase them. He later revealed that Amazon sells its tablets at cost, so it would not be much of a stretch to suggest that an Amazon-branded smartphone would be sold at cost as well.

Shares of Amazon were higher in pre-market trading, up 0.68% to $263.40.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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