The long whispered-about Amazon smartphone has been as elusive as the giant squid. We know it’s out there, but no one has ever seen one in the wild. UNTIL NOW. Sort of.
Pictures have emerged of one of TWO smartphones that Amazon is reportedly gearing up to release this summer, and it has at least six cameras. Why would a smartphone need six cameras? How the hell else are you going to get a 3D picture on your phone?
That’s right: the high-end Amazon smartphone will have 3D head-tracking capabilities. The picture obtained by BGR shows a pretty basic 4.7-inch phone, with the notable exception of five front-facing cameras. Presumably, there is at least one in the back.
The phone will reportedly be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and will come with 2GB of RAM. Like the Kindle Fire family, the smartphone will run on a forked Android system. Interestingly, even with all the 3D effects, the phone will come with relatively low pixel density—just 720p HD resolution, compared to the 1080p resolution found on other smartphones.
Several reports have it that Amazon is actually gearing up to debut two smartphones, with only the higher-end phone coming with 3D capability. The lower-end phone, which will reportedly ship later than the higher-end version, will not have 3D effects.
The five front-facing cameras will track the user’s head position in relation to the display, allowing the software to modify the visuals for a 3D effect sans glasses. Interestingly, this will reportedly apply to apps as well. For example, when using the phone’s maps app, tilting the phone will alter the visuals of the map and give the user different perspectives.
AND it will apparently apply to mobile shopping on Amazon.com. By tilting the phone, users will supposedly be able to see 3D images of the items they’re viewing.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Amazon would be debuting its smartphone in June and shipping it in September. The smartphone has reportedly been in the works for several years now.
Rumors began bubbling in 2012 of an Amazon smartphone, with analyst Mark Mahaney guestimating that the phone would cost somewhere between $150 and $170 to build, and that Amazon would sell it for around that price point. “For a normal brand like HTC, they need to price the product at US$243 to make 30% gross margin. If Amazon is actually willing to lose some money on the device, the price gap could be even bigger,” Mahaney wrote in a research note at the time.
Studies have shown that Amazon is the one brand that could legitimately give Apple a run for its money in the device market. That said, the Kindle Fire hasn’t fared too well in the tablet market. A January report from IDC pegged the Kindle Fire’s Q4 2013 market share at just 7.6%, down from 9.9% in Q4 2012.