Amazon again rumored to be upping their competition with Apple, this time with phones and a TV box

Ever since Amazon launched the Kindle Fire line of tablets, rumors of swirled about them making Kindle phones using the same embedded Android base and store-front centric interface. Now those rumors are back, and they've brought with them new rumors of an Apple TV (or ChromeCast)-style TV dongle to help get stuff off the Kindle platform and onto big screen TVs. Hacker News:

There are 2 versions, a cheap one that's being released by the end of the year with a basic software similar to the Kindle Fire software. The other version will be more expensive and feature a 3D UI but won't be released until at least next year. The screen itself is not 3D, but the front of the phone has 4 cameras placed on each corner of the phone, this is to track the user's eyes/head and move the UI to give the impression of 3D. Similar to what iOS 7 is achieving simply by using the phone's accelerometer. The advantage being that it's not based on how the phone moves, but how the head moves.

According to the post, retention of employees, claimed to be the lowest in the industry, has kept the hardware and software plans from being realized faster. Apparently the code-name is "Smith". No idea if that's for agent, Mr., or the profession.

Separately, information has surfaced about a possible FireTube dongle for getting all that stuff onto the TV. Seth Weintraub for 9to5Google:

It makes a lot of sense. Amazon has all of this content on the Fire and no way to put it on a TV yet. They have to release some type of Chromecast competitor and quick. There are, of course, rumors of an Amazon TV.

It does make a lot of sense. Amazon has had some success - though they haven't revealed hard numbers like Apple does, I'm assuming they've had some success - with the Kindle tablets. Given their strategy of only deploying where they have digital storefronts to subsidize the costs, they're face incredible limitations in how much they can do with any one device. Many devices gets around that problem. Amazon just wants you to buy stuff as easily as possible in the places they sell it. More portals to their store are, hence, better.

It's nothing I find even remotely competitive with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple, but I can see people in the countries they're available, who are all in on Amazon, finding them appealing.

Anyone here interested in a KindlePhone or FireTube?

Source: via TechCrunch, 9to5Google