Amazon’s Alphabet Projects, including 3D smartphone screen, could be sign of major hardware push


Sources in a WSJ article indicate Amazon has several hardware projects in the works that are collectively referred to as the Alphabet Projects. Perhaps most intriguing among them is a smartphone that reportedly will have a screen that can produce 3D images without the use of special glasses. Combined with complex eye-tracking software, the phone’s screen will produce the 3D images at almost any angle, producing a holographic image effect with items seeming to float above the screen. Another benefit of the technology will be the ability for users to navigate content on their phone using just their eyes. The high-end phone is just one of several devices that may signal a new strategy for Amazon in getting content into the hands of consumers.

Joining the high end phone is another smartphone device that is a step or more down from being a top-tier phone, a set-top box for streaming content, and an audio-only device. The set-top box would be similar to units from Roku or even the Xbox 360, both of which enable users to stream content from Amazon’s library. If Amazon can expand its footprint in the living room with a device that heavily favors its own content, it would help the company compete with Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming video services.

Meanwhile, the audio-only device would provide another entry point for people to access the content in Amazon’s music library. This could open the door to Amazon competing with subscription services like Pandora or Spotify, but with a device users could hook into their home audio systems instead of tying up their smartphone for that purpose.

Although the mobile device landscape is largely dominated by Apple and Google, Amazon continues to hang in as a solid performer. To succeed in improving its position relative to top performers, Amazon will have to battle with incumbents on several different fronts. Still, Amazon has built up a considerable portfolio of digital content from books to music to movies and television. Much like Google sees hardware running its Android operation system as a means to an end, the end being more people accessing their services, Amazon may be poised to do the same thing. This would be consistent to some extent with the model Amazon already uses for its Kindle devices, where the hardware is sold at cost and Amazon makes its money on the content sales.

source: WSJ

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a chief financial officer and licensed CPA in Durham, North Carolina. Jeff has owned an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, and an LG G3 along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition and a Nexus 7 (2013). Recently Jeff added Google Glass to his stable of tech gadgets. Unfortunately, his wife and kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active in his church, a local MINI Cooper car club, and his daughter's soccer club. Jeff is married, has three kids, and a golden retriever.