Amazon Rumored to Unveil 3D Smartphone This Month

amazon device
Amazon's mysterious device will be unveiled at an event June 18 in Seattle. (Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon is releasing a new product later this month, and rumors are circulating that the new device is a smartphone with a 3D display.

A YouTube video released by the online retail giant shows people ooh-ing and ah-ing over a device out of view, making impressed remarks such as "That is awesome," "It moved with me" and "I've never seen anything like this."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plans to unveil the new device on June 18 at an event in Seattle, and anyone can request an invite, the company tweeted Wednesday (June 4). The tweet included an image of a thick, black device with "Amazon" emblazoned in silver lettering. [11 Odd and Intriguing Smart Home Technologies ]

The new phone is rumored to have eye-tracking technology and four cameras that could produce glasses-free 3D images, the The Wall Street Journal reported. In the YouTube video, some people can be seen swaying from side to side, perhaps experimenting with the 3D view.

Uses for the 3D technology could include displaying maps or viewing home-screen images in 3D. Each phone app might change based on the viewer's perspective, and the device may also enable users to operate the phone or navigate apps by tilting the phone, according to The Verge.

If the rumors are true, the device will be the first smartphone with a 3D display. It's also Amazon's first foray into the smartphone world, following on the recent success of its line of "Kindle Fire" tablets and e-readers.

Some smartphones already include 3D cameras, but they're for taking video, rather than displaying the actual screen in 3D.

3D displays have been around for some time on other devices. For example, 3D TVs exist— some require special glasses and some don't. Researchers are also developing inventive 3D displays on fog, and others are adapting them for hospital operating rooms.

Amazon has built up a lot of hype about the mystery device, but whether it will live up to that hype in every dimension remains to be seen.

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Tanya Lewis
Staff Writer
Tanya was a staff writer for Live Science from 2013 to 2015, covering a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.