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Is This Amazon's First Smartphone?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Amazon's  (AMZN - Get Report) much-rumored upcoming smartphone will be, by many accounts, a logical progression from its very successful Kindle line of tablets and book readers. And if the latest reports are correct, an Amazon phone will operate very differently from every other phone device.

Amazon was able to elbow its way into a burgeoning Android tablet market by offering well-designed features and very competitive prices. The smartphone business is a very different animal. Just ask Palm/ Hewlett Packard (HPQ), Blackberry (BBRY), HTC, Microsoft (MSFT)/ Nokia (NOK) and Sony (SNE). Being "different" won't be enough to overcome the Apple  (AAPL - Get Report) - Samsung - Google (GOOG) axis.

If BGR's exclusive report is correct, then different is exactly what Amazon is aiming for. It might be just the ones to make it work.

Amazon stock was gaining more than 1% to $333 in premarket trading in New York.

Amazon's as-yet-unnamed Android phone is said to be special in many ways for both its hardware and software features.

The new phone is said to have 3D display capabilities and you won't need to wear special glasses to see the effect. Amazon's phone will reportedly have some sort of Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 13 megapixel camera on the back, a video chat camera up front and will run on a heavily modified version of the Android operating system - just like Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets.

But it's the screen which will be the big deal -- actually the screen and the hardware/software to control it. The display itself reportedly will measure 4.7-inches (same size as the one which is said to be coming on the iPhone 6). The screen will use an additional four front-facing infrared cameras as well as more sensors to help create a 3D visual effect.

The extra cameras and the special software to control them are said to be able to track a user's facial expressions and eye movements and provide a constantly-changing 3D screen view. The effect is thought to be better quality than what has been available on past gaming units and cell phones. Amazon is said to be working on a number of items to take advantage of the 3D effect including screen savers and games.

Those new cameras and sensors might also allow you to control the new phone without pressing any real or on-screen buttons. BGR reported Amazon's phone will be able to display addition information such as an icon's title below the picture or tilting the device to see restaurant rating on a map or IMDb movies ratings in Amazon's online video store. The system should also be able to turn the pages of a book you're reading when using the Kindle app.

Because all of these new features could change the way a user interacts with the device (think in terms of one hand to control everything), Amazon's upcoming smartphone may also come with an unwanted burden -- a very large learning curve. We will know more when Amazon makes everything official.

A price for the new device has yet to be discussed. An Amazon announcement is thought to be coming in June and the device could begin shipping in September, meaning it will have to compete against the iPhone 6 and a rumored premium version of the Samsung Galaxy S5.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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