Amazon’s smartphone said to feature unique, tilt-based gesture interface

amazon phone

According to a bevy of recent reports, Amazon is preparing to launch a smartphone. It’s a tough market to try to bust into this late in the game—with Apple and Samsung taking home a large share of the profits already—but from what we’ve heard, the e-commerce giant is going to try to differentiate itself with unique features.

Today, following up its report from last week on a purported prototype of the Amazon phone, BGR has offered up some new details. Apparently, in addition to glasses-free 3D and head-tracking tech, the handset will also feature a number of motion-based gestures that can be activated by tilting the device in various directions…

Here’s more from BGR’s Zach Epstein:

With its first handset, Amazon will introduce a variety of unique gesture controls.

By tilting the handset in different directions while the device is in use, Amazon’s interface will display additional information on the screen without the user having to touch or tap anything. This will not only be a point of differentiation for the company’s phone lineup, but also a way for larger devices such as Amazon’s upcoming 4.7-inch flagship phone to be operated more comfortably with one hand.

And here’s how the gestures will work:

In the phone’s email and calendar apps where small icons are displayed with no labels, a slight tilt will reveal labels beneath each icon, informing the user of its function. If the user performs a tilt gesture after searching for a restaurant in the maps app, Yelp ratings will appear on top of the various results plotted on the map.

In Amazon’s video store, a tilt gesture displays IMDb ratings on top of movie thumbnails. And when viewing products on, gestures might cycle through images to reveal different product views.

So what all of this—head-tracking, motion-sensing, etc.—is going to do is change the way users access menus and features within apps on Amazon’s phone. BGR says that most apps won’t even have traditional menu buttons, but instead have a hidden buttons and functions that can be revealed by tilting the device either to the right or left.

Amazon smartphone prototype (BGR 001)Purported prototype of Amazon’s phone 

Additionally, Epstein says that the phone will contain advanced optical character recognition (OCR) tech, so that when users take a photo of a sign or a label, the device’s software will be able to automatically recognize the text and convert it into a note. We’ve already seen a preview of this tech in Amazon’s mobile app for the iPhone.

To be honest, this all sounds extremely ambitious, and it’ll be a tough feat trying to convince the masses that the Amazon phone and its ‘unique features’ can offer a better experience than the current crop of smartphones. But I’m still anxious to see it in action. The device is expected to launch sometime within the next 3-6 months or so.