Chatter about an Amazon smartphone is nothing new.
The first rumblings that the online retailer was working on a handset first appeared in 2012, with a string of further rumours emerging last summer.
They focused on the device’s 3D smarts, and while the phone never appeared as scheduled, Amazon has quietly built itself into a position to challenge in the smartphone space.
Its budget Kindle Fire slates are already a mainstay in the tablet market, while its new Fire TV is aiming to take on Apple in the living room.
But a smartphone would really put it right in amongst Google, Apple and Samsung in a space which has become increasingly saturated and homogenised.
While its moderate specs (4.7–inch screen, 720p HD, forked Android) hardly excite, its 3D plans are intriguing.
A new leak suggests four infrared cameras will track users’ eye movements, delivering everything from 3D wallpapers to the chance to look at products in three dimensions when buying them from Amazon’s online emporium.
Of course, there’d also be the chance for developers to add 3D skills to games, making Amazon’s handset a lot more enticing in the process.
Mapping is another area which could potentially benefit from the inclusion of 3D, making it easier to see destinations in more life–like fashion.
But realistically, is there demand for a 3D phone? LG tried it with its Optimus 3D in 2011, with mixed results.
Will maps really be improved when features such as Google Street View and Nokia LiveSight already make it much easier to visualise areas behind simply looking at standard 2D maps?
And when it comes to gaming, do users really want 3D? Nintendo’s 3DS has hardly been a huge success, its glasses free three dimensional tech causing nausea among young users and failing to capture the imagination.
You get the feeling that Amazon is simply doing this in order to differentiate itself from the competition.
That’s to be lauded, but at a time when consumers have clearly shown they have little appetite for 3D.
Is it just chasing a gimmick when it could focus on creating its own operating system, or bringing something with better real world use, like a truly great camera?
Amazon will apparently launch its phone in the next few months.
Surely we’ll learn more before then, but it seems unlikely millions will plump for a 3D phone when the new iPhone and a slew of Samsung updates are just around the corner.