Rumored Amazon phone may use "tilt" to stand out

Book readers
Credit: Jblyberg

The idea is to offer an easy way to control the phone with just one hand.

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets do some things well but they don't really stand out from the crowd. If rumors about a forthcoming Amazon mobile phone are true, the company is taking a totally different route.

BGR, which has been leaking a steady stream of rumors and photos about the phone, this morning reported that the rumored Amazon phone will let people use gestures rather than tapping the screen. A tilt to one direction while viewing a product on Amazon will advance a new photo of the product, BGR reports. In certain apps like email and calendar, a similar tilt will display labels underneath icons for different functions. A gesture while viewing videos will pop up an IMBD rating.

The idea is to offer an easy way to control the phone with just one hand.

The story cites unnamed sources, and so far Amazon has not acknowledged that it's working on a phone. Rumors of an Amazon phone have popped up regularly for years.

If the gesture concept is true, props to Amazon for trying something totally new. What we most definitely don't need is another me-too phone.

The tilt concept has the potential to allow for a lot of accidental tilting, which could get really annoying. But if it's executed well, it could offer a helpful way to use the phone while on the go.

Beyond the gestures, an Amazon phone faces the same challenges as the Amazon tablets: Attracting apps. Even though Amazon uses Android on the Kindle Fire, it opts not to include Google services and so it can't include the Android Play app store. That means the Kindle Fire app selection is pretty slim. The same will go for the Amazon phone, assuming that Amazon will again opt out of the Google services.

Because of that, Amazon might have a tougher time selling a phone than its tablets. At least the tablet doubles as an excellent book reader, giving buyers a reason to buy it. People may read a book on their phone in a pinch, but most aren't likely to buy an Amazon phone primarily as a book reader.

That means Amazon has to find some reason to entice people to buy a phone that's inferior in the apps department to the market leaders. It may be hoping that the unique tilt feature, plus earlier rumors of displaying 3D content, will be that reason.

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