While Samsung and Apple are busy dabbling with gesture control and fingerprint scanners, Amazon could be developing 3D technology for its alleged smartphone. A new report suggests that the online retail giant has two smartphones in the works-- one with 3D eye detection and another less expensive non-3D device.
The more expensive model, codenamed Smith, will reportedly use four separate cameras to pinpoint eye movement, according to TechCrunch. These cameras will be situated at the corners of the device to create the illusion that the user interface is depicted three-dimensional images. Rather than using internal sensors like Apple does to create its parallax effect in iOS 7, the Amazon phone’s UI would change depending on the user’s perspective.
Other rumored features that Amazon has reportedly tested include a type of facial recognition that’s specific to the user. This means that the Amazon phone would block out the faces of other people close to the phone to project 3D images that make sense for the single viewer.
A rumored image recognition system would also allow phone owners to snap pictures of real world objects and automatically match them to Amazon products for purchase. The report describes an eye-tracking technology that sounds more advanced than the Galaxy S4's eye detection, which just lets you scroll by nodding your head or tilting the phone.
Amazon is reportedly experimenting with software design that would take advantage of the cameras’ 3D capabilities as well. For instance, media buttons could peek out from the edges of the screen as the user moves his or her head. The idea is that the user would be able to spot parts of the UI that wouldn’t be visible when viewing the phone straight on.
The budget phone will reportedly come with basic software similar to the FireOS found on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. The company plans to launch this inexpensive model this year according to a post on Hacker News, despite Amazon denying such claims in the past.
Since both phones are reportedly in development and haven’t been confirmed by Amazon, it’s difficult to determine how valid these details are. While the phone in question may never actually make it to market, these persistent rumors provide some perspective on emerging mobile technologies we may see in the future. Samsung and Motorola have emphasized gesture, eye-scrolling and touchless controls in their most recent flagships, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see these technologies become more complex down the road.