Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen
Amazon.com Inc. is expanding beyond its range of Kindle devices as it aims to compete more directly with Google Inc. and Apple Inc.
The Seattle e-commerce giant has recently been developing a wide-ranging lineup of gadgets – including two smartphones and an audio-only streaming device – to expand its reach beyond its Kindle Fire line of tablet computers, said people familiar with the company's plans.
One of the devices is a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for three-dimensional images without glasses, these people said. Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, they said. Users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, two of the people said.
Some elements of Amazon's hardware push have previously become public. Last year, news surfaced about Amazon developing one smartphone. And last month, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets reported that Amazon also was developing a set-top box for streaming movies and TV shows.
But the people familiar with the plans said the smartphone and set-top box are just two elements of a broader foray into hardware that also includes the audiostreaming device and the high-end smartphone with the 3-D screen. Inside Amazon's Lab126 facility in Cupertino, Calif., where each of the devices have been under development, the efforts are known as Project A, B, C and D, or collectively the Alphabet Projects, said the people familiar with the plans.
Though Amazon has goals of releasing some of these devices in the coming months, these people cautioned that some or all of the devices could be shelved because of performance, financial or other concerns. An Amazon spokesman declined to comment.
Amazon hopes to stand out from the crowd with the 3-D screen, the people familiar with the company's plans said. Qualcomm Inc. would provide chips for the 4G LTE-enabled phones. With smartphones, Amazon could collect new data on its users through maps, phone calls and app downloads, and offer them shopping recommendations. There is also the potential for new services like mobile payments.