Amazon released a teasing video along with the announcement that it will be releasing a new product, most likely its long-rumoured 3-D smartphone, on June 18th.
Here’s what we know about the phone based on various reports.
It will be able to track your movement.
This is one of the major things that Amazon teased in its new video, with users exclaiming things like “It moved with me!” while tilting their heads’ from side-to-side.
Amazon’s new phone will have several front facing cameras (the picture leaked to BGR below shows five), which will be able to track your movements. It seem like Amazon plans to use a unique combination of cameras, sensors and software to essentially redefine the smartphone experience. Zach Epstein at BGR reported that if you tilt the phone in different directions while using it, the interface will display additional info without you ever having to touch the screen.
You can see the front-facing cameras in this leak, obtained by Epstein:
It will also be able to display images that look 3-D.
This also goes along with the whole multiple front-facing cameras thing. This 3-D perspective will be incorporated into wallpapers and apps, which will be able to shift their perspective when you move your head.
In general, the software will allow for a slew of new use cases.
In one of its many reports on the new Amazon phone, BGR reported that you’ll be able to use many of the phone’s functions without ever touching the screen, because of its motion tracking capabilities.
BGR’s sources also said that if you take pictures of printed text, the phone will be able to recognise it and convert it into a note using something called optical character recognition technology. This could be great if you wanted to save business card info or translate foreign text into English.
Amazon will offer some form of data plan.
This could be the secret sauce of Amazon’s new smartphone.
BGR reported in April that the company is planning to offer a unique wireless data plan, called Prime Data. Although BGR’s sources couldn’t confirm exact details, it’s speculated that Prime Data could take advantage of AT&T’s “sponsored data plan” to let phone owners use various Prime-branded services — like TV and movies from Prime Instant Video and music from its soon-to-be-released streaming service — without using up any of their data. For example, listening to music from Amazon’s Prime streaming service wouldn’t count towards the user’s monthly data cap.
Because data plans are still pretty expensive, Amazon would be giving potential users a huge incentive if it could make them cheaper.
The phone will run a heavily-modified version of Android.
Just like Amazon’s line of Kindle Fire tablets, the new phone will likely run a forked version of Android. That means that you’ll have to download all the apps and services that you want from Amazon’s own app store.
It will look something like this:
BGR obtained that rendering and also reported that the phone will have a 4.7-inch display (slightly smaller than the new Samsung S5) with 720p HD resolution (that’s compared to 1080p HD resolution on other flagship phones). One of the benefits of the smartphone’s motion-sensing technology could be that it would be easy for people to use it with only one hand, because they wouldn’t have to be touching the screen as frequently.
It will have its headphone jack on the top.
This might not seem like the most major spoiler, but it was revealed in Amazon’s teaser video (maybe on accident?):
Why would Amazon want to release a smartphone?
We haven’t heard anything concrete, but would speculate that Amazon’s long-term goal with the new hardware will be to help drive its content sales as well as Amazon Prime membership. Because Amazon’s smartphone users will have to purchase apps and content through Amazon’s own app store, the company could increase its revenue stream on digital. Plus, if the phone comes with a data plan that lets users access Prime streaming content without wasting their data, it’s another incentive to actually sign up for Prime. Amazon recently raised the cost of Prime membership to $US99 a year, up from $US79.
Amazon wants to convince as many people as possible to fork over that $US99 not only for the up-front fee, but because people with Prime spend almost double the amount on Amazon as non-members.
The Information even reported that Amazon might give the smartphone to Prime members for free. Only $US99 a year for free two-day shipping, lots of streaming movies, shows, and music, and a phone? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.