Amazon’s next launch event: June 18 (you can request an invite)

Amazon’s next launch event: June 18 (you can request an invite)

“What the what?” (as Liz Lemon might say).

Amazon has just announced (on its homepage) their “…next device unveiling.”

They’ve even done a teaser video, which you can see here: (at AmazonSmile)

What is it?

Well, it doesn’t look like a phone…or a reading device.

Clearly, based on the video, it is watching people and translating what they are doing into…something.

It appears to be about the size of a tablet, but that’s a bit hard to tell.

Could it be a tablet?

Maybe…one with some weird gestural tracking thing.

My intuition watching the video is that it is doing some kind of avatar or augmented reality featuring you. It’s (and this is pure speculation) representing the user on the screen.

It could even be doing it in glasses-free 3D.

The way people are interacting with it in the video (which could just be a very small part of its capabilities) is like…if you went to a science museum, and they had something that showed you a heat map of your body (I’ve done exactly that). People slowly move body parts around, to see how it looks on the screen…it looks like that. 🙂

You can request an invitation (you won’t necessarily get one) at the above link.

I can’t go (it’s in Seattle, by the way)…I have a somewhat open-ended commitment going on right now, that could go that long.

Could they introduce more than just this gizmo?

It’s possible…even though they only say “device” (singular) unveiling.

There are three basic possibilities at these Amazon events:

  • They introduce new hardware (that’s clearly happening)…either a completely new line (this could be a gaming device, for example…although the Fire TV does that, too) or updates to an existing line
  • They reconfigure the existing line-up…discontinuing and lowering prices. If this impacts the Kindle non-Fire line, I could see the Mindle going away, for example
  • They introduce new services: that could happen here, including introducing a Prime music streaming service, or a subser (subscription service) for books

Again, purely intuition at this point, but I suspect they are just introducing one thing…and that it is a new direction.

They could also do this big event, and do something separate (even a press release) to announce other changes.

Update: I’ve watched the video a few times, and put it on full screen and frozen it. It certainly seems to me that they are looking at something with apparent depth…a 3-D image. People seem to be trying to look under it, but needing to be at perhaps a certain (fairly broad) angle for it to work.

The most interesting one to me is at about 14 seconds, where you can see the participant in the red plaid shirt for the first time. What makes it different? You see the tester’s right hand, with a finger (the “pinky”, I’d say) crooked. I had originally thought it was too big to be a phone, but this does appear to me that the person is holding in the left hand, and “touching” something with the right. The way it is done, I wouldn’t describe it as typing. If there is a 3D image, it might be “touching” it.

I’m now leaning towards this being Amazon’s rumored phone with 3D imaging.

That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get other announcements along with that, of course. For example, they could talk about its mirroring capability with the Fire TV (if it has that…which I would guess it would).

Update: this photo reportedly pauses part of the video, and reveals something that has the right form factor to be a phone:


However, I just ran the video several times looking carefully, and could not see that frame. It could just be too fast for me…or it’s possible the photo has been altered.

Two of my readers, jjhitt and Mich Napier (thanks, readers!), commented on a reflection of the device in one tester’s glasses at about 41 seconds. That one I can see…I don’t know that I would have the right to show you a screengrab of that, but you can see it yourself. Outside of it looking like a light-colored rectangle, I can’t tell much from that.

Well, what do you think? What is that thing? What does it do? If you do get an invitation, let me know…maybe we can work out some sort of field reporting from you to my readers.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Harold Delk for giving me a heads-up comment on this.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

14 Responses to “Amazon’s next launch event: June 18 (you can request an invite)”

  1. Glenn Starrett Says:

    I’m placing my bet on their 3D smartphone!

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Just based on the odd (for Amazon in the last couple of years) timing, I wonder if this could have something to do with back to school. We’ve also just had major announcements from Microsoft (Surface Pro 3), and Apple (going on as we speak all this week at the Moscone center) with a bunch of new software announcements. Also Computex is going on this week in Taiwan where all kinds of new chips, tablets, phones, and laptops were announced

    So on June 18 Amazon will have the advantage (?) of going last (FWIW). I really hope it’s something from way out in left field (:grin)

  3. Zebras Says:

    I got the sense that they were holding something, and looking down at it, and when they were swaying back and forth whatever they were holding was swaying, too, but still can’t fathom what it could be!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      What I would say is rather than the image swaying, they may be able to look “behind” it. I think what may be surprising them is that moving their heads doesn’t make the image simply disappear.

  4. jjhitt Says:

    I’m guessing a tablet with an eye motion user interface. The woman at 41 seconds is wearing glasses and you get a reflected glimpse of a lit rectangular screen.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      Eye motion is possible…I’ve suggested that in the past. My intuition isn’t that they aren’t particularly controlling the device with their eyes, but viewing an image. We are all just guessing, though. 🙂

  5. Mich Napier Says:

    Judging on the reflection off the woman’s glasses at 0.41 seconds. My guess would be an e-reader, that they are bring back the Kindle Keyboard with a paperwhite screen.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mich!

      By that you mean a frontlit device with a physical keyboard? That doesn’t feel that likely to me, but we’ll see. I’m curious as to what makes you think EBR (E-Book Reader) based on the reflection: does it look that wide to you? I couldn’t really tell.

  6. Edward Boyhan Says:

    A commenter on engadget looked at the image at 0.41 seconds and concluded it was a phone. Other articles have pointed out that that video was made with professional actors and that the “thing” at 0.41 is likely nothing more than a prop signifying nothing — patience! June 18th isn’t that far away :grin.

    It’s hard for me to imagine this event coming up with anything earth shattering — Many are hypothesizing a smartphone — nothing could be more dreary and ho-hum to me — Nevertheless I earnestly look forward to being proven wrong 😀

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      What’s the evidence that the video was made with actors (presumably delivering lines which were written for them)? I’ve seen a couple of places say it, but it’s not clear to me that is the case. If that is the case, I’d like to have a word (or perhaps, a “non-word” is more appropriate) with the copywriter who wrote “uncomparable”.;)

      I don’t find SmartPhones at all dreary, but there you go. 🙂 You know, a SmartPhone that could project the words I was reading (with an opaque background) might get me to read “on” my phone…something I’ve never done much.

  7. Bruce Kessel Says:

    Well from all rumors we have heard I think anything but a “smart phone” would be a shock. Last fall I would have jumped on it, but after using an Android device and my HDX, I”m pretty sure I’ll be returning to an iPhone on the next model.

    I can reach all the media I want, whether Amazon, Apple or Ultraviolet – for movies, music and books. After using a Samsung for a year and not being able to play an Amazon movie I own… its kind of ridiculous.

    Bottom line is that Amazon excels with devices that focus on their product base. The Kindle Fire HDX does that.

    But Apps on the Kindle (and Android) are not as polished and well written.

    Its a shame, but its a huge task building a developer base and Amazon hasn’t done it.

    If they came out with a dual tech screen approach like the Yotaphone( They could have really captured something.

    Amazon’s strength has always been leveraging their infrastructure.
    So we’ll just have to see how things go…

  8. KDD: SF&F series starters for $1.99 each | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Last day to ask for an invitation to Amazon’s product unveiling next week (Amazon’s next launch event: June 18 (you can request an invite)) […]

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