Amazon's big engineering task: Get its smartphone software right out of the gate

Summary:Amazon will reportedly woo smartphone buyers with 3D effects and navigation with gestures and tilting. The company will have to have flawless software right away to overcome a learning curve.

Amazon's big splash in the smartphone market reportedly includes 3D effects, new gestures and ways to interact and activate applications. The engineering risk for Amazon is that it has to get these features right the first time out or be viewed as gimmicky.

According to BGR, Amazon's smartphone launches in the Spring, has 3D effects and gesture controls courtesy of a bevy of tracking cameras and sensors. If you tilt the handset, Amazon's smartphone will display data without touching the screen. Menus can be revealed by tilting the phone to the left or right. Amazon's superphone can also read images of signs and convert them to text notes.

CNET: Amazon phone: Forget the 3D gimmicks. It's all about the price

BGR is apparently saving its scoop on how Amazon's smartphone cures cancer for another day. Seriously though, Amazon's phone and the reaction to it will be binary: Either the device is a hit or it's going to be a punch line. Given the 3D effects---and lack of appeal on all screens that aren't in a cinema---and learning curve required with these new features Amazon needs to nail the software the first time out. 

In some ways, Amazon almost appears to be Samsung-ish by throwing a bunch of features out there to see what ultimately sticks. 

Engineers at Amazon have to be sweating. One hand operation of a smartphone is a worthy goal, but it's unclear how intuitive Amazon can be the first time around. Based on its Kindle history the first rev of hardware is usually improved greatly on the next version. 

So why would you run out and buy an Amazon phone? Price will be a big factor. Perhaps some kind of perk for Prime subscribers. In the end, Amazon will have to make these features bug free and easy enough for your mom to use. Then Amazon will have to market 3D effects to us in a way that numerous television manufacturers couldn't.

It's a tall order.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Smartphones

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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