Unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is gearing up to launch a smartphone in the second half of the year. Like the set-top-box Fire TV, the move is part of Amazon's broad push into selling branded hardware, pitting it against Apple, Google and Microsoft.
According to the sources, the retailers have passed around several prototypes to developers in San Francisco and in Seattle in recent weeks. Amazon is shooting to reveal the phone by the end of June and begin shipping the device in September. This phone will supposedly have a display that renders 3D images without the need for special glasses.
Unnamed sources told the paper that the phone will employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras/sensors so that the images look 3D on the screen. We've heard all of this before, and questioned the type of battery Amazon would need to power four cameras and a smartphone screen. Unfortunately, this new rumor doesn't provide any additional details.
Rumors of an Amazon smartphone have been floating around for years. There's speculation that the phone will run Amazon's latest Android spinoff operating system, Fire OS 3.1 "Mojito," which is used in the latest Kindle Fire tablets, and the Fire TV set-top-box. Amazon is undoubtedly shooting to have all hardware offer the same platform and the same shopping experience.
In addition to the four cameras embedded at each corner of the 4.7-inch screen, the phone will also sport a 13MP camera on the back, a 12MP camera on the front, and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. That's a whole lot of hardware, but Amazon isn't out to make money from hardware sales; the company will make its money from customers buying services.
Sources told The Wall Street Journal that the design and pricing of the smartphone is unclear, and that there's a good chance Amazon may alter its launch plans due to performance or "other concerns." Honestly, we've heard for a long time now that the phone is getting ready to make its debut, so take this 2H 2014 with a grain of salt until Amazon actually reveals the device.