Would anyone buy a 3D Amazon Phone?

Chris Gayomali
The Week
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: The next Steve Jobs?

No glasses required

Kindle Phones are coming. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is developing a range of gadgets to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the smartphone arena. Its rumored lineup of devices includes two new phones and an "audio-only streaming device," according to people familiar with the company's plans.

But that's not all. One of the devices is said to be a high-end phone "featuring a screen that allows for three-dimensional images without glasses," says The Journal

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That's right: Amazon is reportedly building a 3D smartphone.

Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, they said. Users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, two of the people said. [The Wall Street Journal]

Not much else is known beyond that, and Amazon declined to comment on the story. We can reasonably assume that the phones would run forked versions of Android like the Kindle Fire. And music, movies, and the like would be purchased through Amazon's Appstore.

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Just like the 3D TV, phones with three-dimensional screens never really caught on with American consumers. LG, HTC, Samsung, and even Motorola have been making Androids with glasses-free 3D screens — which use a parallax barrier to give the illusion of depth — since at least 2010.

Engadget's review of the LG Optimus 3D (2011), for example, said the 3D viewing experience was "definitely cool" in a "let me whip out my phone at a bar and make conversation" kind of way. However, Engadget said the display eventually made your eyes feel like they were just "juggled through a meat grinder."

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In Japan it's been a different story. Sharp has been producing 3D phones for our ultra-hip friends overseas since all the way back in 2002. The phones have been such a consistent hit that even Disney Japan made one in 2011. (It looks pretty fun, too.)

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As for what Amazon's planning — who knows? Maybe the Kindle Fire Phone 3D (not its real name) will be great for getting your Michael Bay fix on the go. Or maybe you'll be able to snag one on-contract for Amazon's favorite hardware price point: $0.

What about you? Would you use a 3D Amazon phone?

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