AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) will be the exclusive carrier of Amazon.com Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AMZN) new smartphone, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The smartphone is expected to be unveiled Wednesday in Seattle, where Amazon is based, and it could start shipping by the end of September. The e-commerce company is entering an already crowded smartphone market, which has been dominated by Apple Inc.'s iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electonics Co.'s (KRX:005930) popular Galaxy line.
The move is seen as an attempt by Amazon to expand its gadget lineup beyond its Kindle tablet and Fire TV set-top video streaming device. AT&T, which will continue providing wireless service to Kindle and other e-readers, could benefit from the arrangement by attracting new subscribers amid intense wireless competition against rivals such as Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless provider in the U.S.
The phone would feature a screen capable of showing seemingly 3D images without special glasses -- which Amazon is hoping will help it stand out in the crowded field -- as well as retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, that make some images appear to be 3D, like holograms, sources told WSJ in April.
Amazon tipped its hand earlier this month after a company YouTube video hinted that its CEO, Jeff Bezos, may make a big announcement Wednesday about the phone during a “launch event” in Seattle.
Reports have also indicated that in addition to 3D holographic features, the Amazon smartphone will include a 13-megapixel main camera and a front-facing camera -- like standard smartphones -- and run FireOS -- Amazon’s modified version of the Android operating system.