Dating back as far as 2012, there have been rumors claiming that Amazon is preparing to launch a smartphone. Most of these rumors have been all talk and no real substance, but things have certainly started to heat up recently.
Early last month the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was actually getting closer to finally releasing this near-phantom of a device. In the report, WSJ claimed that the handset would in fact feature no-glasses 3D technology — something that had been rumored since spring of 2013.
While the WSJ report only opened up old rumors, over the last few weeks BGR has been turning up new evidence that seems to back up the idea that a Kindle phone might not be so far off after all. Not only has BGR added a few new details about what we might expect from an Amazon-branded smartphone, they’ve also given us the first photographic evidence of such a device.
First, there was an alleged picture of the device in the wild (seen below), albeit wearing a special case meant to shield the phone’s design from prying eyes. And now we have a look at what is reportedly a render for internal use, giving us an even more detailed look at what Amazon’s first handset will offer.
Providing these images are real and Amazon really is preparing to launch their first phone, what can we expect from the device?
A look at the phone’s hardware and 3D capabilities
Reportedly this is but one of two (or more) handsets that Amazon has in the works. While one of Amazon’s phones will be a low-cost entry model, they will first launch a higher-end device that utilizes top-shelf components and will offer a unique glasses-free 3D technology.
The real magic of the phone, outside of Amazon services integration, will be its 3D functionality
We don’t have fully detailed spec information just yet, but the handset is said to offer a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB RAM, and a 4.7-inch 720p display. You can also expect Fire OS to run the device, though it will add a host of new features tailored towards providing a solid smartphone experience.
The real magic of the phone, outside of Amazon services integration, will be its 3D functionality. The phone will offer six cameras, including a main rear camera with a 13MP resolution and a front-facing camera for taking selfies and for video chatting. The other four front-facing cameras will be used with other sensors to track the position of the user’s face and eyes, allowing it to provide unique 3D capabilities.
The 3D experience is about more than just enhancing videos and games, Amazon will also bake these features into the UI. This includes several special wallpapers, 3D effect for application icons and more.
Amazon Prime Data
In addition to creating new hardware, Amazon will also reportedly offer a new Amazon Prime Data service. While not a lot of details are known about it, rumors claim that Prime Data may be a special service included with your Amazon Prime subscription that allows you to consume a certain amount of Amazon services (videos, etc) on your Amazon phone without using any of your plan’s allotted data.
In order to provide this service, Amazon would have to have a partnership in place with select carriers and would likely have to foot the bill for this extra data usage. With that in mind, it is speculated that Amazon might be partnering with AT&T to bring this feature.
So when will we see this first smartphone effort?
After at least two years of rumors it seems we are finally close to the big unveil. Previous reports indicate that Amazon will unveil the phone this June, and has plans to ship it to consumers sometime in the fall. There’s still several unknowns about the device, but with the increased intensity of these reports, it’s seeming more and more likely that Amazon’s smartphone is more than just a rumor.
What do you think, based on what we know? Will consumers get behind the idea of a Fire OS-powered (forked Android) smartphone that doesn’t run Google Play and other popular Google services? Let us know what you think in the comments.