Amazon “3D smartphone” leak confirms our suspicions about how it works

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Amazon recently announced its latest batch of Kindle Fire tablets, and while it had a nice assortment of new models to show off, tablets were the only thing on the agenda; what about those long-standing rumors of an Amazon smartphone? This past spring, those rumors latched-on to the idea that this Amazon phone could bring back the 3D display, briefly coming in to our lives with models like the HTC Evo 3D before we all lost interest. However, talk about “retina tracking” had us wondering if this wasn’t actually real 3D at all, and just an elaborate software trick to create the illusion of depth based on parallax and head motion. Sure enough, it looks like our hunch was right on the money, with a new leak (itself backed up by additional sources) describing just what Amazon’s been up to.

That spring rumor mentioned one “3D” phone and one lower-end option. This leak claims that the regular Amazon smartphone should launch sometime this year, but that the 3D model won’t get here until 2014. It’s supposed to have a camera embedded in each of the phone’s four corners, used exactly for that kind of elaborate head tracking we mentioned. While comparisons are being made to iOS 7’s wallpaper effect, this would be much more pronounced, and honestly sounds capable of creating a surprisingly decent pseudo-3D illusion.

A number of Amazon patents have since been uncovered, also seeming to confirm work on a four-camera-based system just like this. Those actually imply that not all four are necessary just for this 3D system, and may instead be called upon for in-air gesture tracking.

Supposedly, Amazon’s been having a ton of problems developing this model, affecting software, hardware, and staffing, contributing to delays. The 3D phone is apparently under development as codename Smith, and may feature the ability to recognize products from images taken of the items themselves – not just barcode scans – and help you find them for sale on Amazon.

If you’re still not quite following what we’re talking about for this pseudo-3D effect, check out this clip from a Nintendo game:

Source: TechCrunch, Hacker News
Via: Unwired View

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bitsRead more about Stephen Schenck!