Everything (we think) we know about Amazon’s mysterious eye-tracking smartphone

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Amazon has already brought the fight to other tech giants with its Fire HDX tablets and Fire TV media streamer/Android console, but it’s not planning on stopping there.

Whispers of an Amazon Kindle phone have floated around for quite some time now, and we could see it arrive later on this year, ready to take on the likes of the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 HTC One M8, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2.

Here’s everything we think we know about the Amazon Kindle phone so far:

It’ll track your eyes

The most tantalising rumour surrounding the Amazon Kindle phone is that it will arrive with eye-tracking powers.

According to BGR’s sources, the Kindle phone will four front-facing cameras (one in each corner) to track your eyes, in addition to a fifth camera for standard selfies.

While the full benefits of smartphone eye-tracking technology remain to be seen, the four cameras (coupled with additional sensors) could provide a new way to interact with the device, using 3D menus. The video above demonstrates what visual effects are possible with tracked 3D interfaces, though we’ll have to wait and see if the Kindle phone can use the technology for more than just a visual gimmick.

A design melting pot

BGR’s renders of the Kindle phone have reportedly been confirmed by various sources, which have verified its authenticity. The renders were created for internal use by Amazon’s design team, although we could very well see some major changes between now and the final release date.

The renders themselves show off a phone that appears to borrow design elements from both the Apple and Android gene pools. Its centralised microUSB port is flanked by micro-drilled speaker holes, which puts us in mind of the iPhone 5s.

Its black front also reminds us of Apple’s flagship, although its elongated home button would feel more at home on a Samsung Galaxy S5.

Even its chamfered bezel reminds us of the original HTC One, and although its materials have yet to be confirmed. The Kindle phone looks set to land with a solid, if not mind-blowing design. Assuming that it doesn’t stray far from these leaked renders that is.

Spec-tacular

Specs for the Kindle phone have yet to be confirmed, but rumours point to a very powerful set of innards, with the yet-to-be-released Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor taking centre stage, alongside 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, and a rear camera with an unspecified sensor.

We’ve yet to see a superphone land with Qualcomm’s most powerful processor to date, and given the Kindle phone’s rumoured 4.7in 720p screen, we’re a little sceptical. After all, if LG felt happy with packing the 2K G3 with the Snapdragon 801, why would Amazon overkill the power department for a device with a 720p screen? Perhaps all that fancy eye-tracking guzzles up a fair share of processing power? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Android tweaks

The Kindle phone, like its Fire HDX table brothers, will land with Amazon’s heavily modified version of Android. That means users will have to make do with Amazon’s alternative App Store which, although well stocked, won’t carry as many apps as Google’s official Play Store.

The Kindle phone is also expected to have Amazon’s Mayday troubleshooting feature built into it, letting Amazon reps help customers out with problems in real time.

Hardcore Android fans will therefore be deterred by Amazon’s walled garden approach, but this might make the Kindle phone appeal more to the masses, as its interface will be designed with simplification in mind.

Tech Radar‘s concept render above might not matched the leaked design, but is still gives us a decent idea of what to expect from the tweaked Android UI.

Price and release date

There’s no set price or release date for the Kindle phone at the time of writing – hardly a surprise given the fact that Amazon has yet to even acknowledge its existence. BGR has reported that we could see the Kindle phone hit shelves by the end of September, so we expect more info to trickle out over the coming months.

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