For nearly two years Amazon has reportedly been working on a smartphone and now, the company is holding a launch event June 18 widely seen as for the device. All signs point to the existence of an Amazon smartphone, and the company has even released a video hinting at the phone's coming release.
Sources close to the retailing giant have reached out to more than one publication confirming the company's plan to announce a smartphone. Leaks from earlier this year revealed that the Amazon handset may include six cameras, four of which will track a user's head movement to create a 3D-like interface.
A mysterious teaser video was posted by Amazon on Wednesday that showed people reacting to a device that was off-screen. Those in the video had reactions such as, "It's very real-life and incomparable to anything I've ever seen," yet we do not know for sure what they were looking at. What is interesting about the people in the video is that most of them consistently moved their heads around as though they were interacting with a 3D-like parallax display.
Reports stretching back to May 2013 have repeatedly backed up the idea that Amazon will include a 3D glasses-free display on its smartphone. According to more recent reports, the phone will not technically have a 3D display but rather an intense parallax effect that allows images on the screen to move with a user's head.
The four cameras pictured in photos originally leaked by the BGR Web site will reportedly be used to track a person's head, allowing the phone to respond accordingly. When those images were released, it was widely reported that Amazon would use the 3D effect to provide additional angles of products in the Amazon store. Amazon's sign-up page for the June 18 event asks developers to explain how they have used gyroscopes and accelerators in the past, so it is likely those sensors will be used in conjunction with the cameras.
The main attraction to Amazon's phone will be its 3D-like interface but it is possible that the phone will also be released at a relatively low price, much like Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets. Amazon is known for its low margins which has allowed it to include high-end specs in products while still keeping the end cost down. If the same low-margin approach is taken with the smartphone, the handset may be relatively inexpensive.
Analysts have noted that Amazon has a history of intentionally losing money on device unit sales. Unlike other companies that would be crippled by constant losses, Amazon's plan has always been to re-coup money from sales of content consumed on those devices. There is no reason to believe that the company's smartphone will be treated differently, which is a good thing for consumers.