Amazon 3D Smartphone Details Begin to Surface

Boy Genius Report is running with an exclusive that reveals more details on the upcoming Amazon 3D smartphone that we reported on a few days ago. The report includes pictures of a prototype of the new device in an enclosure, and also reveals some potentially interesting details about the device. Keep in mind that these kind of pictures and spec reports don’t always prove to be what users might see in an eventual release.

The photos show what appears to be four cameras or sensors in each of the four corners of the display. That tracks with what has been reported previously about multiple cameras that would use eye or face tracking technology to follow a user and to supposedly allow the display to zoom in or out and pan based on what a user brings into focus. Earlier reports had mentioned four cameras, but it looks like there will be a total of six on the device, including a 13 megapixel rear shooter and an additional front facing camera for video calling chores as well as seeking help through Amazon’s Mayday service.

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According to the BGR report, details from multiple sources include that the smartphone will include a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and it will also include 2GB of RAM. As expected it will run a customized version of Google’s Android operating system. That follows the same path Amazon has done with its Kindle Fire Tablets.

The unnamed smartphone’s display will measure 4.7 inches diagonally. Resolution is expected to be 720P HD compared to the 1080P we are seeing on most devices these days.

Until Amazon releases more specifics the fascination with this possible new smartphone is all about the 3D capability for what appears to be just another smartphone without it. The idea is to create an experience that doesn’t require the use of glasses to view content in three dimensions. As mentioned the four cameras would track the user and then cause corresponding movements on the display. There’s no word on whether or not the rear facing camera would have 3D photo capability which most likely means we’re looking at tricking up existing photo, video, or games to accomplish the effect.

That said, the BGR report says that possible uses for the 3D optical function would include the ability to view 3D wallpapers and possibly to be able to view 3D images of content in some of Amazon’s various stores. There is also talk in the area of mapping that would change views as a user shifted his or her head.

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Note though that Amazon has created its own game development studio, Amazon Game Studios, which would obviously be developing content for the device. It would seem logical that gaming would be the arena for content developers to play in. Whether or not Amazon could attract developers for a 3D gaming platform on a smartphone will be a question going forward. And it is also difficult to imagine that video content owners(movies and TV) would ship special versions for what would be a single phone with 3D capabilities.

Earlier reports from the Wall St. Journal mentioned that Amazon had been secretly showing developers versions of the phone in San Francisco and Seattle to attract interest. This 3D phone is said to be in development along with a second Amazon smartphone that would appear later in the year. Word on the 3D variant is that there may be an announcement this summer for a September release.

It’s all fascinating at this point, but the bottom line question remains. Can Amazon create a 3D viewing experience on a smartphone that is unique and workable enough to get past the “cool new gimmick” phase that a release would engender. 3D technology in other mediums (film, TV) has enjoyed several rises and falls in consumer interest.

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