Amazon developing smartphones with five cameras and FireOS

Credit: Raymond Wong/DVICE

Rumors have swirled around a possible smartphone from Amazon since late 2011. Now, a few more rumors have been added to the mix, starting with detailed specs for a purported 3D flagship model and a lower-cost option. The super-secret plan was previously referred to only as "Project B" in the past for both models. The more expensive 3D model was referred to as "Project Duke" and is now called "Project Smith."

According to a posting on Hacker News that surfaced yesterday, the new 3D phone will reportedly have four cameras in each corner on the front of the phone in addition to a rear camera, for a grand total of five cameras. The extra cameras will supposedly track the user's eye and head movements to move the UI, giving the impression of 3D, though the screen is not 3D. The desired effect may use the user's face and point of view to generate a 3D image, ignoring other people around you.

Being that the phone is released by a primarily retail-based business, one purported key feature may be an image recognition ability that matches a photo you take to a product listing on Amazon. With the added five cameras, the "Project Smith" 3D device already sounds super-pricey, but the cameras would come in handy for capturing objects to purchase and it will be a unique feature exclusive to an Amazon device, should it be successfully released. Since the 3D feature would need a beefed up OS, it might run on a modified version of Android, though nothing is confirmed yet.

The cheaper model under "Project B," may feature software similar to the Kindle Fire's "FireOS." According to rumors, Amazon had wanted the lower-cost option to be released already, but issues with staffing, development and retention delayed the launch. Currently, the devices are still in development in Amazon's Cupertino Lab126 facility and the efforts are known as Project A, B, C, and D (collectively as the Alphabet Projects) according to the WSJ. The devices are shuttled around fully locked inside a metal case with only the screen visible, and are not allowed to leave the premises.

As with any rumor, the specs and other details may change at any time, especially since the devices are still in development, and are not expected to be released anytime this year.

Hacker News, via TechCrunch