E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly set to release its own smartphone after years of development. Pictures of the phone, which may feature a unique 3D interface, were leaked on Tuesday by technology publication BGR. The photos, along with other reports and leaks, suggest that the phone could roll out as early as this summer.
Depending on which publication you believe -- Amazon has yet to provide any official information -- the 3D interface will either be a major or a minor part of the handset. One sector of the consumer electronics industry indicates that the smartphone will utilize four infrared cameras to provide a responsive 3D display, while others claim that the technology is still very limited in its functionality.
Simulated, Not Real
No matter which source you rely on for information, all of them agree that there will be some interesting features included in Amazon’s smartphone. The leaked photos also back this up as they show five cameras on the front of the handset, four of which are expected to track either head or eye movement.
Though it is widely reported that the tracking capability will be used to provide a 3D interface, it is important to differentiate between real and simulated 3D. It appears the display itself won't project an image so that it is actually 3D. Rather, the feature has more in common with the parallax functionality in Apple's iOS 7 than a 3D TV, according to sources who have spoken to TechCrunch.
One of the main issues that Amazon will have to consider -- if it is indeed working on the 3D interface -- is whether or not users will like it. People criticized the parallax feature introduced by Apple with iOS 7 because it made some users nauseous. Amazon’s smartphone could cause the same thing to happen.
Room For Another
As we have seen with the Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon likes to cut costs wherever possible while barely making any profit on each sale. This business strategy has worked well for devices like the Fire HDX, which is still regarded as one of the best 7-inch tablets, especially considering its $199.00 price tag.
The first smartphone that Amazon comes out with later this year will be considered high-end, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone will be expensive. By selling the device through its own online marketplace and making it available at price that is just slightly higher than break-even, Amazon could do well in the market.
Earlier today IHS Technology said that it cost $256 just to build the yet-to-be-released Samsung 32GB Galaxy S5, yet the phone will be sold for well over $600. If Amazon were to have a similar bill of materials but sold the device for $400, it could become popular for the same reason that Google’s $350 Nexus 5 has been a hit -- its price.