Amazon Preparing Broad Hardware Push Including 3D Smartphones

Following rumors that Amazon is preparing a Kindle branded TV set-top box, the company may also be on the verge of announcing its first line of smartphones, according to sources speaking with The Wall Street Journal. Two smartphones, including a high-end model with a 3D screen and an “audio-only streaming device” are said to be in the works.

Rumors of Amazon’s interest in smartphones first began in mid–2012. The company reportedly hoped to use the product to secure a slice of the low end smartphone market before Apple, then-rumored to have a low cost iPhone in development, could. While the low end may still be a target, sources familiar with Amazon’s plans now report that the company is preparing a broad push to multiple price points and devices.

A high end Amazon smartphone reportedly uses retina-tracking technology to generate a “glasses-free” 3D image, resulting in a mix between the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D screen and the Samsung Galaxy S4’s eye tracking features. This high end smartphone, another lower-end model, a nebulous “audio-only” device, and the purported TV set-top box would all join Amazon’s already established Kindle Fire tablet line and offer customers the functionality of an Android-based device alongside direct integration of Amazon’s increasingly large digital content library, which includes eBooks, music, television shows, and movies.

The four products in development are each codenamed “Project A”, “B,” “C,” and “D” and are collectively known internally as the “Alphabet Projects.” Amazon declined to comment on the report but sources say that company aims to launch at least some of the devices in the coming months.

Amazon, which began service in 1995 as a pioneer in the online sale and distribution of books, launched its first hardware product, the E Ink-based Kindle, in 2007. It expanded the Kindle brand by introducing the Android-based 7-inch Kindle Fire in 2011, and a 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD in late 2012. The company views itself as a service provider of digital information and entertainment and positions its Kindle products as the best way to access those services.

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