The Wall Street Journal is the latest to add to the Amazon smartphone drama, reporting that the company is working on multiple smartphones as well as an "audio-only streaming device." One of these phones is reportedly a high-end device featuring a screen that supports hologram-like imagery without the need for glasses.
According to unnamed sources, the glasses-free 3D smartphone will feature retina-tracking software that will make images seem to float above the smartphone screen like a three-dimensional hologram, complete at every viewing angle. Users will reportedly be able to navigate through content by merely using their eyes – so the sources claim.
The company is reportedly trying to push beyond the limits of its Kindle Fire line of tablets to better compete with Google and Apple. The two smartphones and the audio device are just three components in a wider spread of hardware, including the set-top box revealed last week. All hardware is being developed inside Amazon's Lab126 facility in Cupertino, Calif., sources claim, known as Project A, B, C and D, and collectively as the Alphabet Projects.
Sources claim that Amazon wants to stand out in a crowded smartphone market with its own 3D offering. Qualcomm is reportedly providing the SoCs, and both phones will reportedly support 4G LTE connectivity. Like Google, the company will likely sell both smartphones directly to customers on Amazon.
As for the audio-only device, sources told The Wall Street Journal that the device will likely launch a music streaming service similar to Pandora or Spotify. The specifics are unknown, but the company already has a stockpile of audio files that could be used as the foundation. It will also likely compliment the rumored set-top box that will stream Amazon Instant Video Prime to HDTVs in the living room. In fact, the audio device may be a cheaper, scaled down version.
If anything, the number of rumors surrounding smartphones and other non-tablet devices point to a big year for Amazon this fall. These gadgets will likely make a debut alongside the next wave of Kindle Fire tablets. As for the 3D phone, it's not exactly far-fetched: HP is reportedly developing glasses-free technology that fits the description.
According to HP researchers, the technology takes a "mul-tiview" approach by using various geometric optical tricks to create the 3D images. There are also tiny circular grooves etched into the surface of the screen that pop out different colors and views. The result is a wide viewing angle that presents a 3D image even if the device owner is moving and tilting the screen.
This is a far different approach than what Nintendo uses in the glasses-free 3DS handheld console. To take advantage of the 3D effect, gamers must look directly at the screen without moving the unit (there are actually nine angles that work). HP's 3D technology reportedly allows users to look at images from all angles up to 45 degrees away from the center of the screen.