Will Amazon's New Smartphone Feature 'Point & Shop?'

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Jim Probasco, Benzinga Staff Writer

There are already indications that e-commerce giant, Amazon (AMZN)’s entry into the smartphone market could be disruptive. Just how disruptive is not known but based on some speculation, the answer might be “very.”

For starters, according to BGR, the phone, which has been years in development, was said to feature a custom 3D interface unlike anything currently on the market.

Although at first glance the device was said to look like most other smartphones, the glasses-free 3D capability, created by using an array of four front-facing cameras, provides a gateway to a whole host of new features.

Sources told BGR that there would be a main rear camera featuring 13-megapixel resolution, a standard front-facing camera for video chats, and four additional front-facing low-power infrared cameras designed to track the position of the user’s face and eyes.

However, Tech Crunch reported Tuesday that its sources said eye tracking was not part of the picture, creating some confusion regarding reported features in the new device.

The front-facing cameras would allow Amazon’s software to constantly adjust the position of on-screen elements and provide a 3D experience without the need for glasses.

Some, but not all, on-screen images would feature the 3D effect. Potentially this could include products in Amazon’s various stores.

Which leads to speculation about what might be the most groundbreaking feature of all, according to EE Times. That would be the potential ability of Amazon’s smartphone to track objects on the screen based on the user’s gaze.

Effectively, such a feature could allow software to zoom in on an object of interest, a box of cereal in a store for example.

The sensors in the front-facing cameras would capture the object (box of cereal), Amazon’s software would take over, search for the item, and offer competing prices locally, including Amazon’s price if the item happened to be in Amazon’s inventory.

This “Point & Shop” feature would not only help Amazon gain sales, but more importantly, it would gather information about the types of “things” in which Amazon smartphone owners were most interested.

People who spent a lot of time looking at cereal would suddenly see more breakfast food ads on their smartphones. Those whose “through the camera lens” gaze gravitated toward dog food might see more Puppy Chow ads.

Amazon wouldn’t need to make huge profits from the sale of its smartphones. The main goal, after all, would be to drive online sales and targeted advertising.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: News Headlines , Technology , Business , Travel and Lifestyle

Referenced Stocks: AMZN

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