Amazon Making Smartphone With 3D Screen, Dedicated Audio Streaming Device, WSJ Reports

Amazon offers a range of hardware, including its Kindle e-readers and tablets, but now it’s looking to expand the line with two new smartphones and an audio-only device that streams music, according to the Wall Street Journal. The phones include a high-end one with a glasses-free 3D screen, as well as another about which details were not included in the report, which presumably would be a more traditional design.

Amazon has been rumored to have been working on a phone for a while now, and the recent hiring of top Windows Phone evangelist Charlie Kindel also raised alarms that Amazon might be in the smartphone business soon. Natasha wrote about how Kindel had previously discussed Android’s fragmentation problem, and how it provided opportunity for other players to step up and innovate. This could be what he’s attempting at Amazon, and these devices might be part of that project, although nothing about its plans have been officially revealed as of yet.

The rumored 3D device is said to use some kind of retina-tracking technology to present a holographic image that’s viewable without glasses, and that hovers above the screen. It sounds a little like a gimmick to be honest, especially considering how CE devices with 3D have fared so far, like the 3DS, which recently has downplayed its 3D capabilities in recent marketing. Other phone makers, including HTC and Sony, have also dabbled with 3D displays on phones, all of which have essentially failed to make an impact.

Lately, however, a lot of companies have been creating hardware which doesn’t necessarily have an immediately apparent niche. There’s the Chromebook Pixel, for instance, as well as Google Glass and rumors of the Apple smart watch. There’s the Acer Aspire R7 more recently, too, all of which essentially point to a need to have a big, splashy marquee product that isn’t necessarily the hottest consumer device.

Amazon’s other phone could be the more mass-market play, and the dedicated audio player sounds like it might want to become the iPhone of the streaming music generation. WSJ says that some of these devices might launch as soon as in the next few months, though there’s no guarantee that they won’t be shelved, so 3D screens could also just be something Amazon is testing internally.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and have yet to hear back, but will update this post if they provide any official comment.