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TechCrunch Says Amazon’s 3D Smartphone Is Powered by Omron’s Face-Sensing Tech, I Disagree

okao-amazon1[1]The expected launch date for Amazon’s smartphone is still two weeks away, and today we may have learned more about one of the companies involved in making the phone’s highly anticipated 3d features.

TechCrunch is reporting that they have identified a Japanese firm as having developed the tech which Amazon licensed to use in its smartphone:

The device will be unique in the marketplace thanks to its ability to deliver 3D effects courtesy of four front-mounted IR cameras. What wasn’t known is how Amazon planned to scan our faces to handle the UI elements. TechCrunch has learned that Amazon is using Omron’s Okao Vision face sensing technology to track the user’s head. The Japanese firm’s technology was modified by an internal team at Amazon to allow its upcoming phone to deliver unique stereoscopic effects from a standard LCD screen.

The result is a 3D effect currently unique in the marketplace. 3D glasses are not needed and there aren’t limiting 3D factors like on the Nintendo 3DS.

According to Omron, the Okao software pack can also recognize faces and facial attributes to estimate a person’s gender, age and ethnicity. It doesn’t sound like Amazon has currently employed any of these additional features at this time. Currently Amazon is focused on head-tracking.

While this sounds plausible, and Omron’s tech does fit closely with rumored features of the Amazon smartphone, I’m not so sure how much weight we should give this TechCrunch rumor.

TechCrunch has a bad record on hardware rumors, most recently with the supposed Fire TV dongle that turned out to be a set top box. Before that, TechCrunch said the next Kindle was going to have a 300DPI screen when it launched this quarter. And those are just a couple hardware stories TechCrunch got wrong:

I could be wrong here, but at this point it is safer to assume that TechCrunch was fed another bogus leak by some prankster.

We’ll just have to wait and see. Fortunately, we will only have to wait a couple weeks.


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