Amazon’s Gesture-Controlled iPhone Killer Sounds Kind Of Stupid

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Last month, we reported that always reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was predicting that when Amazon finally gets into the smartphone business, it challenge the iPhone with a smartphone with as many as six different cameras. Kuo predicted that at least four of these cameras would be used for gesture control, allowing users to operate the smartphone without touching the touch panel.

We had a hard time wrapping our heads around it at the time, but now more data has come to light about how the system will work. And it sounds kind of dumb.

According to Boy Genius Report, Amazon’s new Kindle phone will offer glasses-free 3D and head-tracking tech, as well as a library of unique gesture controls that will help Amazon set its handset apart from the competition.

These gesture controls will be accessed by tilting the handset in different directions while in use. By doing so, Amazon’s smartphone will show information on the screen without the user having to touch or tap anything.

Here’s an example of how this would 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 Amazon.com, gestures might cycle through images to reveal different product views.

In short, it’s basically a fancy way to allow users to access menus. And BGR goes as far as to say that most apps won’t even have menus, but hidden options that can only be accessed by tilting the device.

Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else think this sounds kind of, well, stupid? Hidden menus that you can only access by flicking your device? And why do this at all with cameras, when an accelerometer would suffice? There must be more to this than we’re hearing.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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