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Amazon Rumor Roundup: 3-D Smartphone With Gesture Controls?

Amazon is already everywhere from your mailroom to your TV, and now it wants to be in your pocket.
Image: Amazon
The Amazon logo displayed at a press conference in New York.EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP - Getty Images file

Amazon is already everywhere from your mailroom to your TV, and now it wants to be in your pocket.

The company is holding a splashy press event on Wednesday in Seattle, and the rumors are so loud that it's all but confirmed Amazon is finally announcing its own smartphone.

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Reports had suggested for years that Amazon might be working on a phone -- one of the final frontiers for the company after launching its Fire TV and tablets -- and rumors about what features such a device could include began swirling even more when Amazon announced the June 18 event.

Here's what reputable sources say the Amazon phone could include:

3-D holograms: The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the Amazon phone would feature 3-D images -- with no glasses required. According to the Journal's unnamed sources, the phone will pull off that feat by using eye-tracking technology in four front-facing cameras.

The 3-D rumor appeared to be borne out by a preview video Amazon itself released earlier this month, showing customers trying out the mystery gadget. "It moved with me!" one woman says in the promotional video. Others move their heads around as they look at the gadget, saying, "Whoa!"

Gesture controls, like tilt-to-click: Those suspected front-facing cameras might not be only for eye-tracking.

They could also track hand gestures that can be used to control the phone, according to an April 22 report from the tech blog BGR (which has a strong track record on leaked Amazon news and published photos of the purported new phone last month).

BGR's anonymous sources said tilting the phone will let users access menus and other features in apps without a single touch. For example, tilting in the messaging app will pull up an option to attach photos, they said.

Snap a photo of words, convert it to text: The other feature mentioned in BGR's April 22 article is "optical character recognition" -- that is, users can snap a photo of a sign or a business card, and the phone will automatically convert the words in the image into text.

The tech blog BGR published photos that purportedly show the rumored Amazon smartphone, encased in a protective shell.BGR (used with permission) / BGR (used with permission)

Prime Data: Amazon may not be content with merely launching a phone; the company may also wade into providing phone service itself.

A separate April report from BGR claims Amazon will also unveil a wireless data plan called "Prime Data." BGR's sources couldn't suss out details on the service, as Amazon is keeping the program hush-hush. But they speculated Amazon may offer its smartphone customers free access to its Prime-branded digital services like Instant Video.

Exclusive to AT&T: Sorry, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile customers: AT&T will be the exclusive wireless carrier for the Amazon smartphone, the Journal reported Tuesday. As the newspaper noted, AT&T already provides service to Amazon's Kindle tablets and e-readers.

Cheaper version: We don't yet know what Amazon's phone will really turn out to be, or how much it will cost. But if you're already looking for a different version of the yet-to-be-unveiled device, fear not: Rumors say a cheaper version of the phone is in the works.