AT&T Reported to Be Amazon 3D Smartphone's Exclusive Carrier

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-06-17 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amazon smartphone

Amazon is expected to introduce a smartphone June 18 that will reportedly be supported by AT&T and feature a touchless, 3D display.

AT&T will be the exclusive wireless carrier of the smartphone Amazon is expected to introduce June 18.

The Wall Street Journal, which reported the news June 17, cited people familiar with Amazon's plans.

Amazon teased the event June 6 in a video showing a number of 30-something-year-olds grinning and wowing and looking down at something in their hands, which were just outside the camera's frame.

"It moved with me," enthused one woman in the video.

It's widely expected that Amazon will take on Samsung and Apple with an industry first: a smartphone with a 3D display, capable of offering holographic-like images.

A number of media sources have reported that the phone will perform its magic with the use of four to eight cameras that behave as sensors and are positioned at the top corners of the phone. The display is rumored to be 4.7-inches on the diagonal.

Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry told investors in a June 17 research note that the Amazon phone would likely also feature touchless gestures and be based on a forked version of Android called FireOS.

The phone "was likely developed at Amazon.com's Lab136, and Jon Rubinstein, the father of Apple's iPod and now a board member or Amazon.com, played an instrumental role in creating this new device," Chowdhry continued.

Developers are excited about the touchless gesture interface, he added, and think the Amazon smartphone "may be superior to Apple's iPhones … [and] that Amazon.com could do a better job in bringing its Cloud Services … to its smartphone."  

Amazon Well-Positioned for a Smartphone

With its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon has proven it can disrupt an industry—when it introduced the Kindle Fire in November 2011, the device instantly jumped to the number-two market-share position behind Apple, outselling rival devices from Hewlett-Packard, BlackBerry, Motorola and Samsung. Amazon has also set up itself well for a smartphone.

It now has a rather sizable app store, and it's easy to imagine it transitioning over Kindle Fire features like the Mayday button, e-reader capabilities, its trove of video offerings and games, the speech-recognition capabilities it showed off with Fire TV, plus FreeTime Unlimited, and all of Amazon's kid-centric content that goes with it.

Plus, there's the Prime Music service it debuted June 12—the same day Samsung introduce Milk Music, its own streaming music service meant to compete with Pandora, Spotify, I Heart Radio, and whatever huge improvements Apple has planned for iTunes since its purchase of Beats Music and the expertise of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.  

Free to Amazon Prime subscribers, Prime Music offers ad-free access to more than 1 million songs. Tens of thousands of albums are stored in the cloud and accessible on Kindle Fire, iOS and Android devices, plus basically anything with a Web browser. You can be the DJ, or Amazon Prime is happy to personalize song selection for you. Playlists can be listened to on and offline.

Further, as eWEEK has reported before, the phone would give Amazon yet another touch point to users—another way to offer them quick access to purchases and services, but also information like search queries and usage information, plus location information that could be tied to the Amazon Local service.

"Amazon cares about phones only as a means to a digital relationship end," James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst of Forrester, said in a June 16 research note, "a way to make sure customers think of Amazon not just a few times a month, or even a few times a week, but dozens of times a day, creating the opportunity for Amazon to convert as many of those interactions into purchases as possible."


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