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Amazon's first smartphone, the Fire Phone, is here and it's truly innovative

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 19 Jun 2014 0:23 User comments (15)

Amazon's first smartphone, the Fire Phone, is here and it's truly innovative Earlier today, Amazon unveiled its first smartphone, the Fire Phone.
The company has long been rumored to be building their first device, dubbed the "3D phone" and they did not disappoint today, showing off a phone with mid-range specs but a plethora of intriguing software and hardware features.

Unfortunately and stupidly, the company decided to stick all of its eggs in one basket, making the device an AT&T exclusive and locking out 180 million Americans.

Hardware



On the hardware side, the Fire Phone features a 4.7" HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi, and under the hood is a 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. At 5.6 ounces, the device is relatively heavy, and the design is plain but features both metal and rubber.

The smartphone has a 2.1MP front camera, a 13 MP rear-facing camera with multi-frame HDR, auto focus, optical image stabilization, f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens, LED flash and four other cameras on the front for 3D. The base model has 32GB internal storage, the phone runs on Amazon's own FireOS 3.5 and offers unlimited free Amazon cloud storage for extended storage.

Among more standard features are 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 (why is there no 4?) and is NFC enabled. The phone has dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio processing.

Dynamic Perspective




The Fire Phone does support 3D as expected. Dubbed "Dynamic Perspective," the 3D allows you to view images from different perspectives and angles depending on how you tilt the phone. CEO Jeff Bezos showed off shopping for dresses, tilting the phone to see the dress from different angles.

For gaming, the dynamic perspective could be the next step, as moving the phone allows you to see different areas of a game's environment. Amazon also showed off its own Fire Maps app, a navigation app that will display all buildings in 3D angles. If it works, the depth should be pretty great but also not too useful in real-world situations.

The cameras/sensors on the front track your head movements and have infrared lights for low-light conditions, as well.

You can also use the dynamic perspective to navigate with one-handed shortcuts. For example, if you tilt quickly to the left, you can bring up system menus and notifications.





Firefly




Another completely new feature is 'Firefly,' which has its own hardware button. The technology can automatically recognize over 100 million items and URLs, right through the camera. For example, holding the camera up to a book and pressing the button will quickly bring up the information of the book and add the information to Firefly's history. You can also add quickly buy it through Amazon with one-click and send ebook to the Kindle.

Those impulse buys you've been trying to stay away from will now be almost impossible to resist. Scary.

Firefly can also function as OCR for business cards and numbers on flyers, and could be a future killer app once developers start working for it. One example cited was that apps like MyFitnessPal could offer full nutritional info for food and drinks just by pointing at the item.

Everything Else



Amazon didn't stop there. The interface of Fire OS has been rehauled for version 3.5, allowing for easier performance of tasks like viewing your recent photos without having to head to the gallery app.

The phone has all the popular Kindle tablet features, as well, including X-Ray, ASAP and Whispersync. X-Ray allows you to bring up full info about what you are watching just by pointing at the actor, show, or scene. ASAP predicts what video content you are going to watch and loads it in the background to avoid any kind of lag or buffering. Whispersync allows you to read, watch or stream something on your phone and have it continue right where you left off on another Kindle device or a Fire TV set-top.

"MayDay," Amazon's 24/7 support, is also included, with Bezos saying will get you connected with a rep, via audio or video, in under 15 seconds.

How much? Any goodies?



Amazon has also thrown in some goodies with the bundle, including premium magnetic headphones that do not tangle and a free year of Amazon Prime, which now costs $99 per year and gives access to free two-day shipping on millions of items, free streaming music and free movie and TV streaming.




The device costs $650 without contract, or $200 on-contract with AT&T, but it is an exclusive so Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile users are out of luck until someone unlocks the device. The phone goes on sale on July 25th. Get it here: Amazon Fire Phone

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15 user comments

119.6.2014 1:55

What's Firefox going to call their phones with their OS?


Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

219.6.2014 8:43

Originally posted by Jemborg:
What's Firefox going to call their phones with their OS?

Dunno... Fonefox? :D

"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

319.6.2014 10:29

Originally posted by dali:
Originally posted by Jemborg:
What's Firefox going to call their phones with their OS?

Dunno... Fonefox? :D
Doh!

Bet you're right. :)

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

419.6.2014 10:49

Originally posted by Jemborg:
What's Firefox going to call their phones with their OS?
Bloatfone?

519.6.2014 16:46

No Thx. I pass.


Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

619.6.2014 19:29

For a midrange-spec phone and an unproven (albeit promising) OS,$650..?! And tied to AT&T, yet.

Freaking boneheads! Exclusive deals are pretty much what's killing HTC at this very moment, FFS. And that price is simply far too much to easily compete with the higher-end Android devices; those specs barely outdo the Galaxy S3.

719.6.2014 20:28

Originally posted by Bozobub:
For a midrange-spec phone and an unproven (albeit promising) OS,$650..?! And tied to AT&T, yet.

Freaking boneheads! Exclusive deals are pretty much what's killing HTC at this very moment, FFS. And that price is simply far too much to easily compete with the higher-end Android devices; those specs barely outdo the Galaxy S3.
It seems like the mentality for new comers and late bloomers in today's cellphone game is "If Apple can do it, why can't we?"

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820.6.2014 0:11

Originally posted by bhetrick:
Originally posted by Jemborg:
What's Firefox going to call their phones with their OS?
Bloatfone?
I got the opposite impression.

Also it's reported to be a very inexpensive phone, around $25.

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

920.6.2014 1:22

Quote:
The Fire comes powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU. Not the latest breed, but good enough at that price. The processor clocks at 2.2GHz and also supports an Adreno 330 GPU. It includes 2GB of RAM...
http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis...tag-226081.html

It seems to be performing its fancy functions all right. (I suppose the 720p res is not too taxing.) Is the fuss about it being 'only mid-powered' actually a reference to it not having 8 cores? Seriously, I'm given to understand those extra cores go to waste.



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This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jun 2014 @ 1:31

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

1020.6.2014 11:03

THis phone looks like it's eye candy and has a boatload of features that will be sincerely neglected and not cared about in a matter of 6 months.

Needs more power and I agree with all others..........exclusivity is what kills these phone makers over time.

1120.6.2014 18:09

Originally posted by Jemborg:
Quote:
The Fire comes powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU. Not the latest breed, but good enough at that price. The processor clocks at 2.2GHz and also supports an Adreno 330 GPU. It includes 2GB of RAM...
http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis...tag-226081.html

It seems to be performing its fancy functions all right. (I suppose the 720p res is not too taxing.) Is the fuss about it being 'only mid-powered' actually a reference to it not having 8 cores? Seriously, I'm given to understand those extra cores go to waste.



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Mid-range because the Snapdragon 800 was a high-end processor...9 months ago. 720p display is also now seen on $100 Android devices.

1220.6.2014 19:54

This Phone could be the biggest thing on privacy invasion ever:
http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/19/amazo...o-ones-noticed/

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jun 2014 @ 19:55

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

1321.6.2014 20:27

But does it catch on fire. a fire phone should be blazing hot, don't you think?


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1422.6.2014 18:38

Originally posted by hearme0:
THis phone looks like it's eye candy and has a boatload of features that will be sincerely neglected and not cared about in a matter of 6 months.

Needs more power and I agree with all others..........exclusivity is what kills these phone makers over time.

Exactly like my much-loved old Evo 3D;I got it for the dual core CPU (as an upgrade from the original Evo), not the Instant Headache Mode(tm) 3D nonsense.

Just as DVDBack23 says, this is a low-to-mid-spec phone with some nifty apps, nothing more. I don't see a single thing that justifies the $650 unsubsidized price.

1523.6.2014 1:17

Head tracking will become standard at some point anyway.




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This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Jun 2014 @ 1:18

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

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