According to a report in the Wall Street Journal today, Amazon is preparing to announce the company’s first smartphone before the end of June and potentially eyeing September as a release window. Similar to the online retailer’s push to take on competitors like Roku and Apple in the streaming set-top box space with the Fire TV, the new smartphone would be pitted against popular iOS and Android smartphones on the market. It’s also likely that Amazon will use the same custom variant of Android that’s being used to power the Kindle Fire line of tablets.
Detailed by the Journal, Amazon representatives have been demonstrating early hardware to developers in both Seattle and San Francisco over the last several weeks. In order to differentiate the Amazon smartphone from competitors, the retailer is testing a feature that attempts to display images in a three-dimensional view by using four front-facing cameras to track the user’s eyes. Using the tracking data, the image on the screen would be continuously altered to appear as if it was a hologram.
Of course, this feature could be simply be in the testing stage and may not make it into the retail version of the smartphone. If it does make it into the final model, developers could apply the tracking data to applications like games, perhaps giving Amazon an edge when it comes to mobile gaming. Another advantage to rolling out a smartphone is that Amazon has a application marketplace ready to go with more than 200,000 applications from first and third party developers. These applications could be easily adapted to the smartphone, basically just a quick conversion process from the tablet version.
Regarding the report, Amazon representatives declined to comment on the existence of the company’s first smartphone. If the phone is released in the September time frame, it’s possible that Amazon will be going head-to-head with the release of the new iPhone models from Apple.