Companies including Samsung have been promoting the practice of sharing content by bumping two devices together — transmitting photos, videos and other files from phone to phone using Near Field Communications.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has a different plan. Let’s call it the Bezos Beep.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiling the new Kindles last fall.

A newly published patent application, listing the Amazon CEO as sole inventor, describes a process of using audio signals to share content and communicate between devices.

For example, if the user of an e-reader or smartphone wants to share a book or picture with someone else, that person’s phone will transmit an audible signal that can be received and decoded by other devices within earshot. The decoded signal contains information (such as a URL) allowing the receiving device to download the shared content from a remote server.

One benefit would be the ability to use existing devices that don’t have NFC chips — which include the iPhone, as it happens. The patent application explains that an audio signal “may be preferred in some situations as many devices already have at least one speaker and a microphone, or can be so modified at relatively little expense.”

Other benefits: The ability to share content simultaneously with multiple people, thanks to the use of a remote server. Sharing could also take place remotely: The application cites the example of a teleconference where an audible signal could be received by another device over the phone line, via speakerphone.

It’s not clear if Amazon plans to bring the feature to market. At the very least, this does provide a sense for the types of things that the Amazon CEO is thinking about these days. It’s notable that Bezos is the only inventor listed on the patent application.

Amazon applied for the patent in September, and the application was made public March 7.


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  • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

    Um, Bezos invented the acoustic modem?

    And would it be a problem if other nearby people could intercept the private information I’m trying to share?

  • tridus

    This is a modem sending a URL.

    What a bloody joke.

  • anonon does this already

  • tk

    how does the Close Encounters theme tune go again? couldn’t use this idea in a library.

    • David Kinghorn

      Could use a frequency above or below human hearing…

  • obi.kenobe

    Anyone see it coming? “Beep” or “push” a URL to a moble device via tones… Jeff wants to push advertisements to any phone within range. it’s a pop-up ad delivery system. Stores could use this to bring in nearby foot traffic through there doors. “beep beep beep” in the mall.

  • anon

    This sounds like BASICODE but on a phone instead of radio

  • Guest

    Anyone here old enough to remember the poker scene in Silent Running?

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