By Rory Carroll in Los Angeles
Amazon is reportedly preparing to release a smartphone with 3D-type imagery which will compete against devices produced by Apple and Samsung.
The online retail giant has showcased the hardware to developers in Seattle and San Francisco in recent weeks in advance of a rollout later this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Citing people briefed on the company’s plans, the paper said Amazon planned to announce its foray into hardware in June and to start shipping phones in September, ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Amazon made no immediate response to the report.
The phone will apparently employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, to make some images appear to be 3-D, similar to a hologram, without the need to wear special glasses.
The Seattle-based company hopes the feature will enable the product to stand out in a crowded and competitive field that is dominated by Apple and Samsung.
On Twitter a technology analyst, Kurt Marko, said: “So the ecosystem battlelines have been set [with] Amazon to enter the phone market. Which walled garden will flourish: Amazon, Apple or Google?”
Amazon has long been rumoured to be working on a smartphone to pair with its Kindle Fire range of Android tablets and compete with offerings from Google and Apple.
Last year, the Financial Times reported that Amazon was working with HTC to produce a range of Android-powered smartphones – a collaboration which if confirmed could see HTC expelled from the the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), a consortium of mobile phone makers.
The Wall Street Journal report made no mention of HTC, nor design or pricing.
Amazon has made strides in designing and making hardware, including a wand which people can use to scan product barcodes at home, enabling them to re-order merchandise without logging on to computers.