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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 4, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Amazon’s Bezos launching next gadget in Seattle, a phone? Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is launching the company’s next gadget in Seattle and inviting customers to attend.


The company’s not yet saying what will be revealed at the June 18 event, but it offered a glimpse on a website where people can request an invitation to the event. It’s also teasing the device with a YouTube video (below) in which people praise the device they’re holding just off camera.

Perhaps Bezos will unveil the Kindle-branded smartphone that the company has been working on, according to a series of leaks and images that have surfaced in recent months. In April posted images of what it said was a Kindle phone with 3-D effects and motion sensors similar to the Kinect system on Microsoft’s Xbox.

A Financial Times report last October said Amazon was working with phone manufacturer HTC – which has its U.S. headquarters and software lab in the Seattle area – to develop a device that could go on sale in 2014.

Bloomberg reported in 2012 that Amazon was working with another Taiwanese phone maker, Foxconn, then followed up today with an anonymous source confirming that the device coming June 18 is a phone.

Amazon could also announce new Kindle tablets, though the company just updated the line last October.

There are strong hints on Amazon’s invitation page that it’s launching a mobile, phone-like device with new sensors. Developers requesting an invitation are asked what sort of apps they’ve developed and whether they are “interested in developing apps utilizing a new type of sensor.”

The questionnaire also asks developers to “describe an innovative way in which you have used gyroscopes, accelerometers or other device sensors in your app development.” Lastly, it asks if they have “machine learning experience.”

Perhaps Amazon’s hoping to do a little recruiting along with its product launch and customer-appreciation event.

Customers seeking an invitation are asked why they’re interested. Amazon then suggests they may want to submit a video, up to 30 seconds long, further explaining why they’re interested in attending.

Most of Amazon’s hardware product launches have been in New York – including the April launch of its Fire TV device – but the weather’s pretty nice in Seattle in June, so perhaps Bezos doesn’t want to stray too far from his home on Lake Washington.

Amazon spokeswoman Michelle Taylerson declined to say where the event will be held in Seattle, what is being launched or how many people will be able to attend.

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Comments | Topics:, Billionaire techies, Jeff Bezos


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