Amazon Teases June 18 Launch of Expected Hologram Smartphone

NEWS ANALYSIS: Amazon is offering invitations to a June 18 event at which it will introduce something some people say they've never seen before.

Amazon June 18 event

Amazon has released a teaser video for a device that CEO Jeff Bezos will introduce at a Seattle event June 18.

In the video, we see the reactions and expressions of a series of people who are looking down, using the device, though it and their hands are just outside the frame.

They bob their necks and move their heads around, smiling. "It moved with me," says one woman. There's lots of "Whoa!" and "Wow!" Several people announce, "I've never seen anything like this."

There have been numerous reports that Amazon is preparing a smartphone with a 3D, or holographic, display.

BGR has posted photos of what it says is the Amazon phone; the device has a 4.7-inch display and cameras in each of its top corners.

A smartphone would give the company yet another piece of hardware via which it could encourage not only purchases of apps and games, but everything in Amazon's warehouses. It would also give the company another touch point into users' lives—a way to understand what they do, where they go, what they search for, and how and when they use their devices.

Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Marketing Group, a company that helps smaller businesses offer Amazon-like services, has told eWEEK that the data a phone could offer would present a tremendous opportunity for Amazon. It could also, he said, tap into GPS capabilities to promote its Amazon Local features.

Data on the keystroke level is of tremendous interest to companies as embedded in consumers' lives as Amazon. For instance, Google's Shopping Express service—which delivers items to users' doors from a host of local stores, from Whole Foods to Target and Toys R Us—isn't about sales revenue, sources have told eWEEK, but the collection of information such as the terms users enter when they're searching for an item, and when and how often they shop.

It's easy to imagine that with its Dash product—a wand of sorts into which users can speak items they want to add to an Amazon grocery list (it also has a built-in scanner)—Amazon is enjoying increased sales but also valuable real-time information about users' needs in real time.

An Amazon smartphone with a 3D display could also lend itself to gaming, and enable Amazon to offer streaming gaming—putting it in a position to compete with gaming consoles like Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox.

Can Amazon break into a market dominated by Samsung and Apple? With its Kindle products, it's shown itself capable of inserting itself in a market. Plus, a not-yet-seen feature like a hologram display could turn some heads.

"It's very real life, and incomparable to anything I've seen," says one woman in the teaser. A guy at the end asks, "Do I have to give this back?"

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