Enid Burns for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Amazon.com is reportedly working on two smartphones. Details of the phones were leaked to TechCrunch, citing information from unnamed sources.
The high-end model Amazon is working on is on its third codename. The handset was being developed under “Project B” until details were first leaked to the Wall Street Journal in May. After the project was leaked, Amazon reportedly changed the codename to “Duke” and then “Smith.”
TechCrunch uncovered the details on ycombinator’s Hacker News. Six details were uncovered. The hacker divulged that there are two versions of handsets: “a cheap one that’s being released by the end of the year with a basic software similar to the Kindle Fire software. The other version will be more expensive and feature a 3D UI but won’t be released until at least next year.”
The screen on the 3D version will have four cameras, one placed at each corner of the display. The purpose of the multiple cameras will be to track eye and head movement, which allows the UI to give the impression of 3D. This will not require glasses, in a manner similar to that of the Nintendo 3DS handheld game system, which also doesn’t require 3D glasses. The iOS 7 is able to achieve some 3D-like graphics by using the phone’s accelerometer. “The advantage being that it’s not based on how the phone moves, but how the head moves,” the post read.
It is possible that Amazon has had difficulties in development of the software and hardware, which has delayed launch. Amazon has also reportedly lost a handful of key players on the Smith project, and have had to pull engineers and executives from other areas of the company to work on the phone team. This may leave other Amazon products understaffed at the moment.
Amazon has done testing on the software to ensure that the phone’s cameras are tracking the user’s face, but not surrounding faces that the camera picks up. “This is to prevent the illusion from breaking if there are many people looking at the phone,” the post said.
The rumor also includes information that image recognition may be built into the phone. This will allow users to take a picture of an object and have it automatically search the Amazon.com database for similar products. “This is not a barcode scan that’s available already, but actual object recognition. This might allow them to sell the phone for cheaper since they’d make money off extra sales,” the hacker post added.
Amazon’s Kindle line of tablets runs on the FireOS, which has Amazon.com programs baked in. It is likely that the two handsets will run on the same OS, with various apps and features geared toward Amazon platforms included in the software of the handset.
CNET grabbed a photo of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos standing on a stage in front of a screen with the graphic “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.” Of course, if Amazon makes a device, it can stack the deck so that handset owners continue to transact using its phones and tablets.