Amazon working on two smartphone models, a 3D flagship and a budget handset

October 3, 2013
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    Back in May, we reported that Amazon was supposedly working on a 3D phone with retina tracking capabilities. In September, we heard a very different rumor, with a claim that Amazon would offer up a budget handset for as little as free (with no contract). 

    Fast-forwarding to today, the latest word is that Amazon is actually developing both devices – at least according to both Hacker News and sources reporting to TechCrunch.

    First let’s focus on ‘Smith’, Amazon’s higher-end smartphone project. The idea behind this model is that the screen will provide a 3D-like effect using four cameras at each corner of the handset. Using the cameras, Amazon could track eye and head motions, allowing it to move the interface around to give you a 3D-like experience.

    For those looking for an e-reader with some extra apps and features, a locked down Android fork (Fire OS) is perfectly acceptable. It’s less clear if consumers would feel the same way when it comes to a smartphone.

    Smith’s software would also be able to recognize a user’s face, which would allow it to ignore other faces around you, as to ensure the 3D perspective isn’t messed up by those walking by. Beyond the 3D-like feature, Smith may also be capable of taking shots of real-world objects and then match them to an Amazon product.

    Let’s be honest here, how important is a faux 3D experience going to be to users?

    Yah it’s a cool gimmick, but adding four cameras to pull it off means extra expenses with little practical benefit. Unless Amazon has much cooler, unnamed reasons behind the cameras and new 3D-esque feature – we can’t see consumers going wild over ‘Smith’.

    If (like us) you really can’t see yourself getting behind a high-cost Amazon handset, maybe the unnamed “budget” model will be more up to your speed. Previously Amazon flat out denied the idea of a free smartphone, but TechCrunch sources claim that such a low-cost phone does exist, even if the ‘free’ part wasn’t correct.

    Not much is known or said about the low-cost phone, other than it won’t have the fancy cameras or 3D effects, and will likely have more modest hardware all around.

    Does the world want or need a Fire phones?

    The Kindle Fire line has without a doubt been a large success, but the tablet market game is a very different place from the mobile phone sector. For those looking for an e-reader with some extra apps and features, a locked down Android fork (Fire OS) is perfectly acceptable. It’s less clear if consumers would feel the same way when it comes to a smartphone.

    Still, if Amazon can keep pricing low while offering decent hardware, they could find favor among first-time smartphone buyers. Locked to Amazon’s services or not, a Fire phone would still be a major step up from a regular old feature phone.

    Regardless of what happens, don’t expect either of these phones (if they are real) to show up anytime soon. They are both very much in the project stages, and won’t surface until next year at earliest.

    So how about it, would you be interested in a Kindle Fire phone if the price was right? Or perhaps a 3D phone sounds right up your alley?

    Comments

    • Luka Mlinar

      We had a wallpaper that did that. Sort off. No one is using it anymore, also it killed most of the battery anyway.

    • rgsoo1

      Amzn creating a mid-level affordable phone goes with their DNA. A crazy 4 camera 3D phone – absolutely NOT.

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