Thursday, June 5, 2014

Amazon (Kindle?) 3D Smartphone launch June 18? Preview and early reports indicate it is.

The image is from BGR, from an article published in May, and being cited by other tech sites such as Geekwire reporting yesterday on Amazon's new TV and Web ad announcing the launch of something on June 18th in Seattle and inviting customers, developers and journalists to request invites to the event.

  Here's the video ad (plus reminder to subscribers to the Kindle-Edition of this blog that e-Ink devices don't do video) -- it's viewable at Youtube and is mainly a tease as it doesn't show the device but it does show the users' head movements, which match what is described by BGR in May in connection with a rumored 3D phone that doesn't require eyeglasses.  It's said to use 6 cameras, four of them low-power infrared sensors to track head movements to produce viewing of 3D-like images.  Add that -- in addition to the unique features involved -- pricing is expected to be attractive and likely to "turn heads" in several ways.

  Geekwire references an April 11, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal (not visible to non-subscribers, but Marketwatch carries a scaled-down version.  The WSJ article includes the following:
' The retailer has been demonstrating versions of the handset to developers in San Francisco and its hometown Seattle in recent weeks, these people said.  People briefed on the company’s plans have been told that Amazon aims to announce the phone by the end of June and begin shipping phones by the end of September, ahead of the holiday shopping season...They said the phone would employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, to make some images appear to be 3-D, similar to a hologram, the people said. '

Patents filings from 2008 and 2010 - what they show
Geekwire had another article yesterday on patents filed by Amazon (one for an invention by Jeff Bezos)
' What the patent filings show — at a high level — is a phone capable of detecting hand gestures, similar to the Xbox Kinect, along with the ability to track eye movement.  By tracking a user’s eye movement, the interface is able to shift, so the user can view it easily from any angle, which may also make typing on a touchscreen more accurate.
  . . .
Other features of the phone that have been reported include a 4.7-inch display, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, and a potential plan to offset costs, called Prime Data, which would give users free access to content from certain websites and services, similar to AT&T’s “Sponsored Data” initiatives. '

  In an earlier BGR article, they reference KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has the best reputation for accuracy with Apple products and was definitely far and away the most accurate for Amazon's Yr 2012 line.
' In terms of specs, Kuo says the Amazon phone will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, a 4.7-inch display with a pixel density of between 300 and 320 ppi, a plastic housing, a 13-megapixel main camera supplied by Sony, secondary cameras supplied by Primax, and a battery sized between 2,000 and 2,400 mAh.
  BGR has independently confirmed some but not all of those specs. '

Prime Data Plan?
  BGR adds (back in April) that Amazon's "secret weapon" would likely be a Prime Data plan.
' BGR has learned from multiple trusted sources that Amazon is planning to offer a unique wireless data plan alongside its first smartphone, which is set to launch in the coming months.

  The plan is tentatively named "Prime Data," and it will be positioned as one of several key selling points for the phone. '

 "More than one trusted source" mentioned the possibility of something with AT&T similar to or based on its "Sponsored Data" product, which "allows companies to foot the bill for data traffic used by specific apps and services on customers’ devices.  Any cellular data consumed while using apps covered by the program does not apply toward a subscriber’s monthly data cap.

  "With that in mind, sources who spoke with BGR believe Amazon may be planning to offer smartphone buyers free access to its various Prime-branded digital services."

 "Recent reports suggest the company will soon push further into the streaming music market with a new product that competes with the likes of Spotify and iTunes Radio.

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