The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is working on “a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for 3-D images without glasses.” This rumor comes to us courtesy of “people familiar with the company’s plans,” according to the Journal.
Whether true or not, it shouldn’t come as an earth shattering surprise that Amazon might be working on some sort of smartphone — the company has found success in hardware devices such as its Kindle e-book readers and Kindle Fire tablets. Oh, and speculation about an Amazon smartphone has been going on since what seems like the day after the first Kindle Fire tablet was introduced (see here, here and here, for starters).
However, to tout glasses-free 3D in 2013 as a major feature of a smartphone seems downright insane. We saw a handful of glasses-free 3D smartphones trickle out a few years ago, consumers yawned, and now — surprise, surprise – we don’t hear much about glasses-free 3D smartphones.
The Journal‘s description of this miraculous glasses-free 3D technology certainly sounds impressive — especially the bit about being able to navigate stuff with your eyeballs:
One of the devices is a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for 3-D images without glasses, these people said. Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, they said. Users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, two of the people said.
But a somewhat less enthusiastic gadget user *might* read into that as a gimmick paired with a second gimmick. If the phone itself is cool and the gimmick-plus-gimmick 3D thing turns out to be a nonessential added feature, so be it. Actually, what the hell: make it the main feature and promote it heavily. I want to see what happens.
The Journal also reports that Amazon is working on a second smartphone, along with “an audio-only streaming device.” The audio device would make sense given Amazon’s ownership of Audible.com; another smartphone without the 3D stuff would make sense just in case — just in case — nobody buys the rumored 3D version with the fancy eyeball control features.
The Journal adds, “Though Amazon has goals of releasing some of these devices in coming months, these people cautioned that some or all of the devices could be shelved because of performance, financial or other concerns.” Translation: it’s quite possible that I just wrote all this for nothing and you read all this for nothing. At least we have each other.