Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) has all but confirmed that it is preparing to enter the smartphone market with what investors are now referring to as the "Kindle Phone." Such a device is an inevitable progression to leverage the e-tailer's tablet successes. There have been reports that Amazon could hop on the phablet trend with a 4.7-inch display. Amazon has also hired a handful of smartphone execs.
All the while, the biggest strategic concern that Jeff Bezos has about entering the cutthroat smartphone market is how to avoid being just another "me, too" device. I didn't think there was any way that Amazon could avoid such a fate, since everything's basically been done at this point and the market has clearly voted in favor of the current Apple and Google duopoly.
Well, Amazon may have something up its sleeve after all.
Must see 3-D
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is developing a high-end smartphone that features a 3-D display. It would be viewable without specialized glasses and use eye-tracking technology to make images float like 3-D holograms from almost any viewing angle.
If an eye-tracking smartphone sounds familiar, it's because Samsung's new Galaxy S4 does exactly that. The GS4 offers Smart Scroll that detects eye movements to scroll pages, while Smart Pause will pause that video you're watching so you can drunkenly ogle at that sexy gardener. Some of those features have been derided as gimmicky, but the GS4 has no 3-D capabilities.
More importantly, didn't Amazon learn anything about the spectacular failure of 3-D to take off in TVs? 3-D was the buzz of the entire TV industry as it looked for new ways to shorten upgrade cycles and boost sales, but 3-D TVs are now effectively dead; they were noticeably absent at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (maybe 4K will do the trick).
The 3-D hype has subsided in that market, yet Amazon now wants to try 3-D in smartphones? The idea of a 3-D smartphone, be it made by Amazon or Apple or anyone else, seems even more pointless than in TVs. Sorry, Amazon, but the 3-D boat has already sailed. Didn't you get the memo?
Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.