Amazon Dabbles in 3D Smartphones

by Matt Klassen on May 13, 2013

Amazon has long been known for its disruptive capabilities, having already turned the publishing industry and ecommerce markets on their heads. Now, if rumours prove true, Amazon has the mobile sector in its sights, as the latest market speculation has Amazon developing two high-end smartphones as well as an audio-streaming device, expanding its range of Amazon branded hardware beyond the company’s current Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire offerings.

But what is most intriguing about these rumours is the sort of smartphones Amazon is rumoured to be creating, as The Wall Street Journal has reported that at least one of the handsets might support 3D video display, using advanced retina tracking technology to display a 3D image much like a futuristic hologram, offering a three dimensional picture from nearly every angle.

It’s the sort of rumour that many would hope would apply to Apple, but these days the tech market isn’t expecting much from the Cupertino giant. That said, it’ll be interesting to see if these rumours prove true or turn out to simply be more ‘vapourware’ in a increasingly stagnant mobile market.

If these rumours prove true it’ll certainly be interesting to see what effect it has on the innovation-starved mobile market as a whole, as Amazon has never been one to shy away from such risky advancements or one to avoid potential market upheaval. But despite the fact that Amazon has shown a great ability to create its own markets and then dominate them, can Amazon find success in the smartphone market with a 3D handset?

To wit, about the only thing out of place among these emerging smartphone rumours is what Amazon would really gain out of the endeavour, with many wondering how the ecommerce giant would utilize the mobile medium to do what all Amazon branded do…sell its products.

Simply put, while there’s no question behind the logic of the Kindle Fire, the company’s popular Kindle eReader offerings, or even the rumoured soon to come TV set-top box–as all offer great platforms for ecommerce–a smartphone needs to be more versatile, and if Amazon can’t offer the same mobile experience with its desired deep integration with ecommerce, no one will care if the phone offers 3D technology, it won’t sell.

Further, one has to ask if the market is ready for 3D mobile display, as consumers have been woefully slow in adopting 3D TV technology, meaning there may not even be a market for 3D smartphones.

That said, this is clearly a way for Amazon to differentiate itself from the mobile pack. As Josh Crandall, principal analyst at NetPop Research, explains, “All of the leaders are looking for the next miracle technology…Apple has its watch, Google has its Glass, and now Amazon has its 3D phone. Amazon is no longer a bookstore, it’s a major player in cloud computing and hardware. The media and gadget fans have a lot to look forward to.”

In the end, it’s really hard to say how the impending arrival of 3D mobile technology will be received, given that there simply is no precedent to draw on. Amazon would be creating an entirely new mobile genre with its 3D smartphone, and it’ll be interesting to see if the company will strike a cord with consumers, and how the phone itself will contribute to Amazon’s overall ecommerce push.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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