Amazon reportedly has two phones in the works, one with a 3D user interface
We've been tracking rumors that Amazon has been working on a phone for some time now, but in the past few months they have been heating up a bit. Today, after an anonymous posting on Hacker News, TechCrunch says it has sources which corroborate a few surprising details on what's inside Amazon's Lab126 studios. Reportedly, the company is actually working on not just one, but two different phones. The first, currently code-named "Smith," apparently still involves 3D in some way, which the Wall Street Journal reported on last May. However, instead of a proper 3D screen, the Smith reportedly has four front-facing cameras that can track a user's head and then use it to position 3D effects within the interface. Apparently, the phone would be able to identify you so that only you would see the 3D perspectives, not others looking on.
If the software ships with software that matches up to current rumors, users would be able to "peek" around interface elements and even see things beyond the edge of the screen. The phone also reportedly will be able to identify real world objects and match them to products in Amazon's store so you can purchase them. It all sounds like a wild (and not immediately useful) set of features, wild enough that it could be more of an in-house lab project than a product destined for actual sales. Either way, rumors suggest that it's not planned for release this year.
The second phone presumably lines up with a more recent rumor — that Amazon would be offering it for free. It reportedly lacks all of the 3D features of the Smith and it also isn't likely to launch this year. The Hacker News posting includes unverified claims that Amazon has been struggling with staffing issues, but TechCrunch says that the company has been shifting engineers around to keep the projects moving forward.
Whether either phone turns into a real product remains to be seen, but Amazon still has those new Kindle Fire tablets to sell and reportedly has a set-top box somewhere in the depths of Lab126 as well. Whatever happens, the company isn't giving up on the consumer electronics space anytime soon.