Amazon’s third generation tablets will start to hit the streets later this month, but the company could also be working on a line of smartphones which could launch later this year or in 2014. There’ve been rumors suggesting that Amazon smartphones were under development for months, but now we have a few more details about what to expect… maybe.
An anonymous post on Hacker News suggests that there are two Amazon smartphones on the way, and TechCrunch says it’s been able to confirm some of the details with its sources. Take that with a grain of salt though, since the unnamed sources could be wrong. It’s also possible that Amazon is testing devices which will never actually see the light of day, so even if all the rumors are correct, it doesn’t mean we’ll see two Amazon phones in the next year.
OK, now that the disclaimer’s out of the way, here’s the latest rumor.
There’ll be a cheap model that runs pretty much the same software that’s available on the Kindle Fire tablets. It’ll serve a similar niche to those tablets, providing an inexpensive device which customers can use on a daily basis to access apps, music, movies, and other content from Amazon. Presumably it’ll also make phone calls, and hopefully have a better email app than the Kindle Fire tablets.
The second model is said to be much more unusual. It will have a 3D user interface, but not an actual 3D display. Instead there are 4 front-facing cameras which track a user’s movement and adjust the display to give it a 3D look and feel. There’s software that should help differentiate your head from others around you if you’re using the phone in a crowd.
I have no idea why you’d want that kind of 3D UI on a phone, but I suppose it would make the device stand out. The 4 camera array might also be useful for other applications.
Amazon is also reportedly working on an app that would let you take pictures of real-world objects to search for the same or similar products in Amazon’s retail store. This would be more powerful tan a simple barcode scanner, letting you snap a photo of actual objects and use image recognition to figure out what it is and how much it sells for.