By Jared Newman
April 22, 2014

One thing that’s never been clear about Amazon’s rumored 3D head-tracking smartphone is how it would rise above cheap gimmickry and actually prove useful.

Now, Boy Genius Report has a possible explanation:

BGR’s “trusted sources” provide some examples of how the Amazon phone could work: You might be able to tilt the phone in the Kindle app to bring up Amazon’s X-Ray feature, which provides supplemental information about what you’re reading. You could potentially tilt in the messaging app to bring up a panel of camera options, or tilt in the maps app to see Yelp ratings atop your search results. Even the phone’s menu system could be tilt-based, letting users slide a panel of options onto the screen by twisting the phone.

The immediate concern here is that all the tilt detection would become an aggravation. You wouldn’t want a bunch of menus to pop out of nowhere just because you shifted your weight.

But I very much like the idea of tilting a big phone to bring far-flung elements within reach. Larger smartphone screens are wonderful for many reasons, but do require some contortion of the hands and thumbs for one-handed use. Being able to tilt a distant button into thumb range could be just the solution that no one’s thought of yet–as long as it actually works.

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