Amazon developing smartphone with 3D display: WSJ

Amazon developing smartphone with 3D display: WSJ

Summary: Rumors that the retail giant is building a smartphone first surfaced more than a year ago. A new report suggests a smartphone with a 3D screen may be on deck.

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Amazon made its name with retail and tablets. Reports suggest a smaller smartphone could be arriving in a matter of months. (Image: CNET)

Amazon is building a smartphone with a 3D display, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Today's report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, say the Seattle, Wash.-based firm is working on building technology that displays three-dimensional images without needing to wear glasses. 

Along with the news of a smartphone with a 3D display, Amazon is also set to expand its range of gadgetry — an audio streaming device, and not one but two smartphones. One will feature the 3D technology while the other will be a low-end budget device, ideal for emerging markets and new smartphone users. 

The 3D display smartphone will, according to the Journal's sources, will feature eye-tracking technology similar to that of Samsung's Galaxy S4, displaying imagery that will "float" above the screen like a hologram. Users will be able to navigate through the phone with their eyes.

But the streaming set-top box is less known about. Previous reports pegged the device as being an Apple TV competitor, by allowing users to stream video and movies from Amazon's own online retail range — perhaps others, such as Netflix — with the device.

The devices are part of a wider push into developing Amazon's own hardware strategy. Known as the "Alphabet Projects" — with each device known by its Project A, B, C, D and so on codenames — the elusive devices could be announced or launched in the coming months. 

Or, if the devices struggle due to performance, financial or other concerns, some or all of the devices may be scrapped entirely.

Reports that Amazon is building a smartphone are not new. The retail giant has reportedly been working on a device for months, if not around about the year mark. The move away from its Kindle range of tablets to smartphones would be a logical progression. 

In early 2012, rumors began to leak out of Amazon's headquarters that a phone was on deck. The company was testing the device as early as July last year, just a day before the news broke that a former Windows Phone executive joined the company, spurring on further rumors that Amazon was in fact building a smaller shiny rectangle of its own.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment to the Journal.

Topics: Amazon, Mobility, Smartphones

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4 comments
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  • No Surprise

    Amazon will definitely bring its own smart phone to the market and its a matter of time. But it will be just another phone in the 'android crowd'. Gimmicks like 3D and eye-tracking are pretty much useless. Who wants to read their email in 3D?
    OwlllllNet
    • But if it was windows phone 3D you'd be hailing the innovation.

      There were a couple 3D phones already that failed to ignite interest. I really doubt this rumor.
      I tried the nintendo 3ds and its sort of cool for a few minutes but you can't really use it for long. You have to keep your head aligned with the screen at just the right position. You start to feel woozy very quickly.
      drwong
    • @ OwlllllNet

      I think you are missing the point here, OwlNet.

      Amazon bringing an Amazon Android phone to market will bring a new OS platform to the market that comes with its own appstore, apps and services (media, commerce and books). This should be enough to start a counter-trend against the Google approach of bundling Google apps and services with Android.

      Right now, Android except in China has become a vehicle for attaching Google's services from which Google later derives advertising monetization. The key to stop this is not about Android itself. It is about stopping the bundling of Android with Google services.

      Amazon Android does not come with Google services. And that is a great thing for the market and of course for players like Microsoft and Oracle. This will diminish Google's influence even more.

      I am rooting for Amazon. I hope Microsoft realizes their strategy is not to enter the PC space like what Google wants to do. Amazon just wants to preserve their garden of commerce and if necessary they will make it walled like Apple did it.

      Microsoft can actually start to bundle Bing services with Amazon Android. That should be a great combination FYI.
      calahan
  • 3D seems to be something most people I know don't want

    I haven't heard lately, but the last time I checked, 3d TV sales were not doing well and personally, I don't like 3 D movies. This seems to be a technology being pushed on people. I don't want 3D! Just give me a great TV, Tablet, Phone with a great screen and i will be happy. I have a hunch this will fall flat on its face.
    larsonjs