Amazon unveils Amazon Fire smartphone
After much speculation, Amazon’s smartphone has finally been revealed. The Amazon Fire is available for pre-order from the online merchant, and comes in two options: a 32GB or 64GB model, both available on AT&T.
The Amazon Fire features a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, combined with 2GB of ram. It offers a 4.7 inch HD display, a 13MP rear-facing camera and a 2.1 MP front-facing camera. The device’s battery supports up to 285 hours of standby time, up to 22 hours of talk time, and up to 65 hours of audio playback (up to 11 hours for video).
The phone’s focus is on one-handed navigation, and offers a variety of tilt controls within menus and apps. This “dynamic perspective” sees the phone responding in different ways, depending on its orientation in the user’s hand or in the world. For instance, users can view maps from different directions by titling their device to see the map respond in real time. While in maps, users can tilt their device to take a “peek” view at Yelp ratings of nearby businesses.
In other apps, like games, the experience is said to become more immersive and realistic, as players can tilt their device to look around corners or obstacles in the world. While reading, a slight tilt away from the user will see the device auto-scroll to the next portion of text, whether on a web page or in a book. In this way, users could read an entire book without ever touching the screen.
These “one-handed short cuts” also apply to other device features, like accessing the settings menu, flashlight, notifications and more.
Another major selling feature is the phone’s Firefly technology, accessible with a press of the camera button on the device’s side. With a press of the button, users activate the camera for scanning books, magazines and other real-world material. This brings up product details for the item, including the ability to add the product to a user’s Amazon Wish List.
Firefly uses X-Ray, powered by IMDb, to recognize 240,000 movies and television episodes, and provides information on related actors, plot details and more. These shows can be added to a user’s Watchlist for later viewing. Similarly, Firefly recognizes songs in the environment, giving users artist information, the ability to download albums directly to their phone and more.
Apps like iHeartRadio and StubHub (as examples) will be able to utilize Firefly technology to create a more personalized experience for users. For instance, when a user hears a song from a new artist they’re interested in, iHeartRadio could create a radio station based on that individual artist.
Releasing on July 25 2014, the 32GB Amazon Fire Phone is available for $199 with a two year contract, or $649 outright. The 64GB model is available for $299 / $749. As part of this introductory period, both existing Amazon Prime and new Amazon Prime users will receive a free year of the service.
Amazon Fire will also include access to the company’s Mayday Button technology for real-time tech support.
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