Is Amazon developing a phone with 3D display technology?

May 9, 2013
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Hopetts/Flickr Amazon will launch a smartphone September 6, sources say.

If recent rumors are to be believed, Amazon is developing a smartphone. With 3D capabilities. This 3D technology wouldn’t require users to wear any special glasses, and images would appear to float above the screen as well as add depth to images. The device is also rumored to use retina-tracking technology, much like The Galaxy S4, to allow users to scroll through content.

This falls into a larger hardware push by Amazon, who is also reportedly working on a set-top box for streaming content. We’ve also heard of a smartphone that had no 3D capability, so we could see multiple offerings on top of their Kindle line of tablets. Both the set-top box and phone are good ideas, and fall into their strategy for media consumption.

Amazon was at the forefront of the “race to the bottom”, which saw very good devices sold at rock-bottom prices. That business model is designed to get users to shop exclusively at the online marketplace, which is how companies like Amazon intend to profit from the tablet or phone. Others, like Google, quickly followed suit.

While a 3D phone seems interesting, it also sells to a niche market that doesn’t exist. The display technology is probably expensive and sensitive, driving cost up. A 3D screen would be a first, which is as detrimental as it is special. With such radical hardware, special apps would need to be developed to take advantage. That’s a lot of extra work for developers, with little to no return in sight.

The source responsible for the information straddled the fence tightly when prompted for release dates. According to that person(s), Amazon has designs on releasing hardware in the next few months, but could also shelve some products. A set-top Amazon streaming box seems appropriate, but a 3D phone? We’ll not expect a 3D 4G LTE device from Amazon anytime soon.

 

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