For the past several years there have been numerous reports suggesting that Amazon is working on building its own smartphone. Similar to the case of Amazon’s tablets, suggestions were that the retailer’s first handset would focus very much on the multimedia experience and the Amazon store. There have also been rumors that the device would be offered free, and that the retailer would make a profit from selling digital content. But these rumors (at least some of them) have been shot down quickly, as Amazon has announced that if a smartphone is released eventually, it will definitely not be free.
In any case, the big story today is that the Amazon phone is back in the headlines. This time around, we’re dealing with what seems to be the first concrete evidence of the smartphone’s existence, as BGR has obtained several of photos of said device. More so, certain specifications and features have also been detailed or reconfirmed, so let’s take a look at what the latest leaks and rumors suggest in regards to Amazon’s first smartphone.
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Amazon has been working on the smartphone for a few years, and it appears that the company is finally getting to the finish line. Still, some of you might wonder why it took such a long time for the company to produce this device in the first place, and the answer to that is quite simple. Amazon’s intentions were (and still are) to create a unique smartphone that focuses mainly on a custom, unique 3D experience, and on Amazon services and products.
The handset in question is now reportedly only a few months away from its official debut, and as mentioned above, BGR has acquired a couple of images. Or, to be more precise, these pictures actually showcase a prototype of the device, wrapped up in a protective plastic shell intended to hide the smartphone’s overall design language.
However, while the smartphone’s final design can’t be determined, the photos have been accompanied by numerous details about the handset’s features, so there’s plenty to talk about.
To begin with, the previous rumors suggesting that the first Amazon smartphone will offer a 3D-like display boasting a 3D interface have been “confirmed.” Apparently the Amazon phone does indeed feature six cameras in total, four of which play a big role in the whole 3D paradigm. There’s one main camera used for pictures and videos – rumored to boast a resolution of 13 MP – and a secondary front-facing sensor is also on-board, used for video chats, and of course, Amazon Mayday.
The other four sensors are all fitted on the front panel, each one of them in a different corner of the device. Reportedly, these units are actually low-power infrared cameras, and are used to determine the position of the user’s eyes and face in correlation with the smartphone’s display. The software’s 3D elements take care of the rest, rendering images in such a way that they create a 3D effect without the need of 3D glasses or a parallax barrier, such as the one employed by HTC for the Evo 3D, or by Nintendo for the 3DS portable console.
Evidently, this unique 3D effect will be one of the phone’s main selling points, and Amazon has focused on implementing as many 3D interface elements as possible. Reportedly, the technology is showcased starting with the phone’s lock screen and there are also various wallpapers that can deliver the same 3D effect by shifting perspective when the user tilts the device in any direction.
Moreover, the source suggests that Amazon is also planning on applying this 3D effect to icons and other UI elements. More importantly, the retailer has worked on implementing the 3D technology in a handful of applications, such as map apps, where the perspective of different objects can be shifted according to how the user tilts the smartphone.
Perhaps a more practical use of the technology can be found in Amazon’s stores, where the 3D software / 4-camera combo can be used to view three-dimensional representations of various products. Shifting the phone’s position will allow the user to change the perspective of various store items and it will offer prospective buyers a more in-depth look at the products they’re about to buy, from angles that cannot be covered by conventional 2D photos.
Last but not least, Amazon is also reportedly in negotiations with various third-party app developers, in a quest to create and offer a broad array of 3D-enabled applications at launch. Amazon will supposedly make the necessary APIs available to developers, and the retailer will also assist in the development of these applications, should the need arise.
Amazon Phone – Hardware Specifications, Release Date and Other Details
According to these latest leaks and rumors, Amazon’s first smartphone will conceal an unspecified Qualcomm Snapdragon processor under the hood, and 2 GB of RAM. The gadget will supposedly make use of a 4.7 inch display with a resolution of 720p. This may sound a bit underwhelming given the specifications of the most recently released flagship devices (such as the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8), but on the other hand, the iPhone 6 is also rumored to pack a 4.7 inch panel with a resolution lower than 1080p.
In any case, the Amazon smartphone will run on Android OS, but the user interface will be heavily modified to make sense from a 3D point of view. Not only that, but Amazon is well known for delivering heavily modified proprietary UIs on its tablets, so the first smartphone should not be an exception either.
In a different train of thought, you might’ve noticed that we’ve used the term “Amazon’s first smartphone” on several occasions. This is because, reportedly, the retailer is working on not one, but two handsets. The first one (which is the smartphone we’ve talked about so far) will supposedly be unveiled in June and released sometime by the end of the third quarter. After that, Amazon is expected to release a second device which will be designed to fit in the low-range market segment.
Last but not least, BGR’s sources claim that the first Amazon phone will initially be released exclusively in the US. Prices are also unknown, but we’re guessing that the gadget will be accompanied by a friendly price tag and that Amazon will continue to focus on making a profit from online purchases and services, rather than the hardware itself.
This concludes our leaks and rumors roundup, so let’s take it to the comment section and discuss the various aspects of the fabled Amazon phone. What’s your take on the entire 3D concept? Do you consider it to offer real practical uses? Or are you fearful that it may fall on the “gimmicky” side of things? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts below.