Today is a big day for Amazon. The company over the years has increased its stake in the hardware game first with its Kindle eReaders, and then later with Kindle Fire tablets and Fire TV streaming device. Now Amazon is entering the cutthroat smartphone market with the
The specs for Amazon’s new smartphone are as follows:
Other features include a rubber frame around the phone, Gorilla Glass 3, stereo speakers, and earbuds with flat cables (to avoid the tangled mess that you get with competitors’ earbuds).
However, the most talked about feature of the Fire phone has to be the four infrared cameras on the front of the device provides a 3D interface that Amazon calls “Dynamic Perspective.” The 3D effect is used to make some pretty swanky lock screen wallpaper that seem to pop out at you, but it can also be useful in, for example, mapping applications (as was shown in the demo) where you can see building pop out of your screen and pivot your head to look “around” them or tilt the phone to see objects that would normally be hidden by the top bezel of the display screen.
You can also use the position of your head along with tilting the phone to scroll through items while shopping on Amazon’s site, and tilt the phone back and forth to scroll through the internet browser (or eBooks).
Overall, it seems like a nifty feature, but nothing that’s really game changing.
Amazon is providing free unlimited photo storage via Amazon Cloud Drive. The Fire phone also obviously includes access to all of Amazon’s other services like Prime movies and TV shows along with the recently announced Prime Music. The Fire phone even supports Amazon’s Mayday video chat/help system that was introduced with the Kindle Fire HDX.
Amazon Firefly service utilizes the Fire phone’s rear camera to recognize different products (books, household objects, DVDs, etc.) so that you can find them for purchase on Amazon.com (hey, Amazon isn’t happy if it isn’t selling you stuff). Of course, the camera can also recognize URLs, and phone numbers. Firefly can even listen and identify music, TV shows, and movies. Firefly can be accessed with a dedicated hardware button.
The Fire phone will be available exclusively on AT&T’s network for $199 (32GB) or $299 (64GB model) with a two-year contract. Each phone will come with a free one-year subscription to Amazon Prime, and Amazon’s pre-order page says that the phone will ship by July 25. However, we doubt that John Legere will be lining up to purchase one.
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