The countdown to Amazon‘s big event in Seattle is on, and all signs are pointing to a new smartphone to join the Kindle Fire HDX tablets and Kindle Fire TV set-top box. Judging by the rumor mill, it’s shaping up to be an intriguing device, too, with Amazon opting not to take the easy route and instead going for an eye-tracking 3D system.
The handiwork of Amazon’s Lab126 team, the face sensing system supposedly uses a four-camera array on the front of the handset. By locking onto the user’s gaze, the smartphone can adjust the on-screen graphics so that they give the impression of being three-dimensional.
If it works, it could well be the first time that 3D actually succeeds on a phone, though we’ll have to wait until we get the device in front of our own eyes to know for sure.
Meanwhile, Amazon has been paving the way for the new handset with apps and services. Prime, its subscription-based shipping and media service, spawned Amazon Prime Music last week, likely to be a key feature of the smartphone, while the retailer also announced the latest growth figures for its Appstore.
Amazon may be late to the game with a phone, but by getting the Appstore out early it’s given developers plenty of time to stock it up with titles: more than 240,000 of them, in fact.
As for when the new device may launch, that’s tipped to be later in the year – timed for the holiday season – as an AT&T exclusive. The carrier already provides the connectivity for Amazon’s Kindle range.
We’re at Amazon’s event this morning, and will be bringing back all the news as it happens. Let us know if you’re excited about the possibility of a “Fire Phone” in the comments!