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The last we’d heard about Amazon’s rumored smartphone, it was said to sport six front-facing cameras, all there to allow users to interact with the device via gestures rather than just touch. Over the weekend, a report in the Wall Street Journal added fuel to the rumor fire, claiming that Amazon would be releasing its smartphone later this year, with a June announcement and a ship date by late September. But the report also claims that the device will offer four front-facing cameras, and will provide glasses-free 3D visuals.

The last big 3D product to hit the market was Nintendo's 3DS...
The last big 3D product to hit the market was Nintendo’s 3DS…

The report sketches something resembling an explanation of how the multi-camera interface will provide users with three-dimensional visuals, though whether or not this explanation holds water is a little tough to say. According to the article, the cameras will track users’ eye position and movement to determine “whether the screen is moving closer to a user’s face.” And then, “in response, the phone will be able to automatically zoom into images as it moves closer to a user’s face and could manipulate text and images as a person moves the phone.” The article cites “people familiar with the matter” as the sources of this information.

How any of that translates into “3D visuals” isn’t entirely clear—at least not to me. That said, glasses-free 3D isn’t as tough to create as it used to be, as Nintendo’s 3DS handheld game console has proven with two different models. It’s possible that Amazon has found a way to take Nintendo’s method of glasses-free 3D and pack it into a functional smartphone. Or perhaps the company’s engineers have worked out a way to provide those kinds of visuals utilizing multiple front-facing cameras. Until Amazon actually lifts the veil on this, it’s kind of hard to say.

...and even they seem to have given up on the 3D fad, releasing the 2DS last year.
…and even they seem to have given up on the 3D fad, releasing the 2DS last year.

However, I have to admit: I’m pretty skeptical about the idea of 3D visuals being a selling point for any device these days. The 3D fad has long gone out of style, proven by the fact that Nintendo’s last big handheld release was, in fact, the 2DS, which is a 3DS system without the 3D. Smartphone makers flirted with 3D visuals a few years ago, but the utter lack of more 3D-capable phones today should say something about where desire for that technology has gone.

Amazon seems to know what users want, and a 3D-capable smartphone likely isn’t it. For now, it seems pretty plausible that the device will have more than one front-facing camera for some reason, be it gesture-controls or simply more interactive displays. But 3D? I doubt it.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]


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