It's been rumored ever since the 2012 release of the Kindle Fire, and now Amazon's first smartphone is set to debut a little later this year.
A few weeks ago, BGR got an exclusive look at a prototype device assumed to be Amazon's first flagship smartphone, albeit in a clunky, hardware protecting shell.
The final render obtained by BGR certainly looks more polished, but we can't confirm the aesthetics until we get a hands-on with the device.
The device will run a heavily skinned version of Android—much like the Kindle Fire and Fire TV—on a 4.7 inch 720p display, with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 2 GB of RAM. While these are a mix of flagship and mid-level specs, the showstopper features have to do with the device's cameras.
Six, yes six, individual camera modules are built in to the device. While that may seem like overkill, four of those modules will be utilized not for pictures, but for 3D gestures and navigation. Combining the low-power IR cameras with sensors and custom software, the device will be able to track your head's position as you look at the display to offer 3D effects. This concept is a first for smartphones, and its implementation will likely make-or-break the device.
Additionally, the technology will usher in a new way to interact with certain apps. As BGR reports, "tilting the handset in different directions while the device is in use, Amazon's interface will display additional information on the screen without the user having to touch or tap anything."
Want to see some context behind that notification? Try actually looking behind it. Or how about looking up a restaurant on a map and seeing its Yelp rating floating above the pin? Instead of hitting a menu button to access an app's settings, just tilt the device to either side to see "new panels slide in over the current screen".
Again, until we actually see the device demoed, there's no way to know how this technology will work. Samsung introduced many hover and gesture-based actions on their flagship Galaxy S4, most which sit dormant and unused by owners of the device. But innovation stems from trial-and-error, and it seems Amazon is up for the challenge.
Although details are sparse, Prime Data may be a big motivator for consumers to purchase Amazon's smartphone. Being compared to AT&T's Sponsored Data program, where certain companies foot the bill for data used to run their specific apps, Prime Data may be Amazon's ace in the hole for getting consumer investment in their device.
Imagine using the Amazon Prime Video app to stream movies, only instead of using the data that you're paying a monthly fee for, Amazon picks up the bill for any data used to run their app. As video streaming services become the biggest data hogs for most mobile users, having those gigabytes not count against your monthly data allotment can be a big draw.
In any regard, Amazon is geared to become a bigger player in the smart device and content marketplace. They may be entering some crowded waters, but innovation, along with money and reputation, may be all they need to swim with the giants.