One of the devices is a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for 3-D images without glasses, these people said. Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, they said. Users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, two of the people said.
But the people familiar with Amazon's plans said the smartphone and set-top box are just two elements of a broader foray into hardware that also includes the audio-streaming device and the high-end smartphone with the 3-D screen. Inside Amazon's Lab126 facility in Cupertino, Calif., where each of the devices have been under development, the efforts are known as Project A, B, C and D, or collectively as the Alphabet Projects, the people said.
It's an intriguing rumor, and I'm inclined to believe that it is at least half true. But I am still not convinced that this is anything more than an experimental prototype in a lab.
Amazon has long been rumored to be working on all sorts of prototypes. In 2011 they reportedly had a dual-screen ereader in the works. In 2012, it was a smartphone. And just last month Amazon was working on a set top box which would stream video content.
That is a diverse set of gadgetry, and in fact the one thing that those devices have in common is that none have been released. Aside from the dual screen ereader (which showed up in a patent application), they're all just rumors.
I'm not inclined to get excited over rumors when I have no way to judge the possibility that they'll come true, and that goes double in this case. For all we know these are just lab prototypes that are being toyed with. We have no info to suggest that they will ever actually hit the market.