Amazon's Innovative Fire Smartphone With Dynamic Perspective and Mayday Could Disrupt The Market

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 18 2014 3:59 PM

Amazon's long-awaited smartphone is finally here, and sticking to tradition, the company's named it "Fire". Many of the rumors surrounding the device over the past month have proven true, such as the four cameras at the front, and its AT&T exclusivity.

Admittedly, the hardware strikes me as the least-interesting part of Fire, so let's tackle that first. Under the phone's 4.7-inch display (1280x720) is a 2.2GHz Snapdragon quad-core SoC and 2GB of RAM, plus support for LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth. It includes a 2400mAh battery, a 13 megapixel camera at the rear, and a 2.1 megapixel camera at the front.

For the Fire, it's the software that will help it stand out of the crowd. For starters, the four "low-powered" front cameras help power "Dynamic Perspective", a feature that will allow your head movements to control on-screen content. This could be used in apps to access certain areas quicker, or in games. Assuring that this is a feature developers will take advantage of, an SDK for the feature is being released today.

Also unique here is the dedicated "Firefly" button, one that will help you take information from the real-world and do something with it on your phone. For example, an email address on a poster could be scanned and interpreted by the phone so that you could send an email, and you can probably guess to its uses involving music, movies, TV shows, and other static information like QR codes, website URLs, and bar codes. Like Dynamic Perspective, Amazon is today releasing an SDK for Firefly.

Amazon's bundling other interesting services or features on the Fire as well. Mayday, for example, is an on-demand help service, quickly connecting you to a live Amazon employee who will help you solve any problem on the device. Amazon claims its response time averages at 15 seconds, which is undoubtedly impressive. More impressive though might be the fact that the service is available 24/7/365, and is free.

ASAP is another unique feature, and it stands for "Advanced Streaming and Prediction". As it sounds, the service will predict what you're going to watch next, and will pre-load them so that you don't have to wait. I can see it now: It's going to queue up Groundhog Day immediately after I watch Groundhog Day, I can feel it.

Other features include X-Ray, which adds a number of capabilities to books, music, and video. While watching a TV show, for example, using X-Ray could reveal information on IMDB, like trivia and other bits of useful information. Own a Fire TV? You'll no doubt like the Second Screen option, which allows you to "fling" content off of the Fire and onto the Fire TV.

Cloud storage is huge, so it's no surprise that Amazon has bundled in a related feature somehow. Here, the company is allowing people to store an unlimited number of photos taken with the device on its servers. This will be especially useful to those who end up losing their device, or simply didn't keep backups. It's important to note that this service is for photos only, and not video.

If you like what Fire offers, it can be yours starting on July 25. Exclusive to AT&T, it's being priced at $199 for a 32GB model under a 2-year contract (a great price given 16GB is the norm at the price-range), while a 64GB model will be available for $299. Those not interested in shelling out that much cash at once will have the option to go with a payment plan: $27.09/mo for 24 months for the 32GB model, or $31.25/mo for the 64GB. Either of these plans would allow you to upgrade to a new smartphone after 18 months. Spending five bucks more on either of these payment plans will reduce the total number of months to 20, and allow you to upgrade after only 12 months.

Given all that the Fire offers, I can honestly say that Amazon could be hitting the ball out of the park here. Some might hate the lack of a 1080p screen, but it's a relatively small hit given all of the features the device ships with. If this launch model takes-off, there's little doubt that other variants will come in time.

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sevags replied on Wed, Jun 18 2014 5:42 PM

Finally an interesting phone!!!!

I will start with the hardware too; MEH. Last years cpu/gpu, it might have been top end last summer and still good enough for today but not at this price honestly. Many will complain about the screen resolution but honestly it is more than enough I can't tell the difference between 720p to 4k on screen this small and I have 20/20 vision, I care more about accurate color reproduction (I HATE the blue tint of AMOLED screens) and high enough PPI that I don't see the pixels. The 2gb of ram is nice but I am assuming the extra 1gb will mainly be used by the 3D OS? Battery is a complaint for me I think it should be at least 2800mah for a device this size especially if they expect me to shop on it all day and stream prime instant video. I am really glad they included .ac wifi. I have my doubts that the camera performs better than the competition but only a review will reveal the truth.

The software looks awesome and the 3d interface looks really cool rather than gimmicky. I really like the way you can screen through pages and open menus with only slight tilts rather than using fingers or 2 hands.

HH doesn't mention the fact that for a limited time if you purchase the Fire phone you get 1 year Prime membership for free!!! And if you have prime you get an extra 1 year extension for free! That in itself is a $100 value and absolutely a great deal!!!

What I am not understanding is that you can't pay for the phone on a payment plan if you are subsidizing the phone? You can only do a payment plan if you pay full price for the phone?

I am really interested in the phone and it is the first device I have seen that makes me want to leave my iPhone, not so much for the hardware and definitely not for android, but because it is practically not android, stands out among the rest, and I think it could be a very useful device compared to most! It also helps that I am already invested in Amazon. With a release date 5 weeks away from now I might as well wait and see what the ip6 is like in august or wait for the real S5 to hit the US...

I am sure Fire Phone 2 will be amazingggggg

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I love Amazon, but the phone is far from innovative.

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I was enjoying the article until it got to the AT&T part.

 SPAM-posters beware! ®

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RJohnson replied on Thu, Jun 19 2014 7:07 AM

Poor resolution will make this phone a loser in the market

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jun 19 2014 9:11 AM

Seems to be following the Kindle product model really (IE: a bit less in hardware but with great included options for nothing) and for a decent price. I don't know though really if it would be an item I would want. The 3D feature is really cool though I saw that in live video last night and it is interesting. The thing is though that the 3D TV and Monitor thing did not really do much as a product type so I do not know if this will at least now.

I think the novelty will sell more of them than anything. The interconnected stuff though is a good thing and the 3D /gimmick part may get it a foothold then it gains more and more becoming a more normal thing then developers use it and it grows more. Amazon is generally really smart about these things so if it gains a foothold and more people start to use it then it has it's own market space etc. As far as the AT&T thing goes, it is to be expected with them or Verizon, and I already have AT&T because I was an employee there ( not to mention they supposedly still have the widest amount of brand loyalty in the specific area's they serve of any brand in that service spectrum) and still get a discount.

Either way and specifically for the shopping part of this 3D although not yet realized by the general public can be a big helper in it especially with specific modeling (such as you take a picture of you in 3D and they make an application that models clothing to a specific image in 3D) and people can virtually try on clothes or look at jewelry shoes etc on a virtual me.

That would enhance the buy reaction whether it is real in the end (after the user received the product) or not because it programs an image into your head, such as when you look at your companion you still see them as you did when you first met. So you would see the virtual and your mind would assume even if it is not true because you cannot really look dynamically at yourself that it looked somewhat like it did that first time to you that it was the projected image or visual interpretation to others as well.

The live 3D and other applications of it in other spaces is the part that interests me really. The Lowes virtual showrooms etc. in the consumer and corporate space is going to grow fast I think and this is just another leg to the real VR tree in a mobile form. At the rate technology becomes available now and finds acceptance then becomes a norm and is developed further out currently would tend to look good for this type of thing. Remember smart phones are young but the worlds population and the real time equip numbers in that market are astounding for the devices age. Not to mention the rate of development for a device type in real time. SO if something like this gets any hold the feature may very well become normal then it would become a feature on most or at least many other brands handsets.

This is not to mention it has a marketing and market giant at it's back as well!

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