Amazon unveils Fire Phone
Online retailer targets mobile shoppers with ecosystem-integrated smartphone
Amazon unveiled Fire Phone yesterday, the first smartphone designed by the online retail giant, in a bid to tap into the mobile shopping market.
Amazon is placing the Fire in the premium category. It uses Gorilla Glass 3 for the rear and front, aluminium buttons, stainless steel details and a rubberized polyurethane grip area. It is powered by a Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2 GHz processor and carries 2GB of RAM.
The 4.7-inch HD display with an ambient light sensor and Dynamic Image Contrast is geared towards enhanced viewing in bright natural light. The handset also has dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus for a "virtual surround sound experience".
Connectivity covers nine bands of LTE, four bands of GSM, five bands of UMTS, 802.11ac support, Wi-Fi channel bonding, NFC, and Bluetooth.
The main, rear-facing camera is 13MP and carries backside illumination, LED flash, a 5-element f/2.0 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS), and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities. Selfies are also covered by way of a 2.1MP front-facing camera. Both front and rear-facing cameras record video in 1080p Full HD.
Fire comes with two proprietary technologies - Dynamic Perspective and Firefly - that Amazon hopes will integrate the device more robustly with the real world than rival handsets.
Dynamic Perspective uses a specialised sensor system to respond to the way users hold, view, and move the handset and Firefly is designed to let users point the phone's camera at a product or pick up a music track using the microphone; if Firefly can identify the item as sold on Amazon, the user can instantly buy it.
Continues on next page>>
"Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand - instant access to Amazon's vast content ecosystem and exclusive features like the Mayday button, ASAP, Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage, and more," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.
"The Firefly button lets you identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, artwork, and over 100 million items, including songs, movies, TV shows, and products-and take action in seconds. We invented a new sensor system called Dynamic Perspective that recognizes where a user's head is relative to the device-we use it to offer customers a more immersive experience, one-handed navigation, and gestures that actually work. And this is only the beginning-the most powerful inventions are the ones that empower others to unleash their creativity-that's why today we are launching the Dynamic Perspective SDK and the Firefly SDK-we can't wait to see how developers surprise us."
Dynamic Perspective uses four low-power cameras and four infrared LEDs built into the front face of the handset; a dedicated custom processor; real-time computer-vision algorithms, and a proprietary graphics-rendering engine. The system allows one-handed gestures to deliver auto-scroll, tilt, swivel and peek. With auto-scroll, users can read a long webpage or a book without touching the screen. The tilt gesture in Amazon Music shows song lyrics; swivel instantly reveals quick actions; and peek in Maps shows layered information like Yelp ratings and reviews.
Fire integrates Amazon's ecosystem for "instant access to over 33 million songs, apps, games, movies, TV shows, books, audiobooks, and magazines, including thousands of exclusives", the online retailer said in a statement.
Fire ships on July 25, but is a US AT&T exclusive. It is not known if the phone will make it to Gulf shores.