Amazon will announce its own smartphone by June, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The device is expected to begin shipping a few months later in September. Amazon has reportedly been showcasing early prototypes to developers in San Francisco and Seattle in recent weeks. The Journal also corroborates previous reports that the upcoming phone will be capable of displaying 3D content without requiring users to wear special glasses. Rather than follow the approach Nintendo took with the 3DS, Amazon's device is said to incorporate retina-tracking technology "embedded in four front-facing cameras" to achieve a 3D, hologram-like effect. Patents outlining such a system were uncovered last year.
The online retailer has been rumored to be developing its own mobile device for years, but the product now appears to be nearly ready for launch. If that's the case, Amazon has been busy of late. It just entered the set-top box market, taking on established leaders like Roku and Apple TV. Now the company is apparently preparing to challenge smartphone giants Apple and Samsung head on. Amazon launched its own app store in 2011 — separate from the Google Play store that ships on most Android hardware — and this is presumably where consumers will obtain software for the upcoming phone. Amazon's store features 200,000 apps, the company recently announced.
Amazon's phone will immediately face stiff competition from Samsung, which launched its new flagship Galaxy S5 today, and Apple. The Cupertino company will unveil a new iPhone in the coming months, though Amazon may be positioning itself to strike first if it can hit the September shipping timeframe. But there are major questions around how Amazon plans to market and sell the device — and how much it will cost. In September, the company outright denied that it had any plans to launch a free smartphone, disputing a report from The Information.