Fire is Amazon’s first ever smartphone – it has a 4.7″ HD display, runs on a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32/64GB memory, has dual stereo speakers, and Dolby Digital audio.
The forked Android mobile also boasts some other decent specs – a 13MP camera with optical image stabilization that plays 1080p HD video, 2.1MP out front and built with Gorilla Glass 3. Fire also has free cloud storage for all Amazon content – another carrot offered by the e-comm king to mobile customers.
This mobile is an online shoppers dream – it has technology that lets you scan stuff – anything from a printed website, product, and QR code to find it on your mobile and add it to a digital shopping list.
It has WiFi 802.11ac, NFC, Bluetooth and a scanner to shop ’til you drop, and a 3D head tracker called Dynamic Perspective which definitely wooed the crowd at Seattle, where it was unveiled on Wednesday.
Fire, which is selling for US$199 outright (AT&T only) was unveiled overnight.
It’s being touted in the US press as “no Samsung Galaxy S5 killer”, flagged as “the ultimate buying machine” and its circa 2002 interface has also been subject to a hammering.
But the e-commerce giant is looking to sweetening the deal – flogging its new mobile with free Prime membership (usually costs $99) which means unlimited music, TV and movies and eBooks for a year.
Fire has two main innovations – ‘Dynamic Perspective’, which lets users controls the phone by motion gestures and the ‘Firefly’ scan button.
Amazon says Fire’s 3D Dynamic Perspective allows a more “immersive” experience with one-handed control and gestures including tilt, swivel and peek.
Fire’s ‘auto-scroll’ let you read a long web page or eBook without touching the screen or ‘peek’ in Maps shows layered info like Yelp ratings and reviews, making it handy for gaming also.
Fire’s ‘Dynamic Perspective’ uses four ultra-low power specialized cameras and four infrared LEDs, a dedicated custom processor and real-time computer vision algorithms, to understand where a user’s head and eyes are positioned in relation to the screen.
Firefly button scans printed web and email addresses, phone numbers – and in a nod to Amazon’s e-commerce core – QR and barcodes, “millions of products”, movies, music – to make it easier to mobile shop and find stuff on Amazon’s site.
“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, Amazon CEO.
Here are some other extras on Fire:
ASAP predicts which movies and TV episodes you want to watch and prepares them for instant playback before you hit play. X-Ray lets you explore a book, including characters, ideas and background with a tap on the screen.
It also has a ‘MayDay’ button, which when pressed an Amazon expert will appear via live video to co-pilot you through any feature on Fire.
“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,” said Amazon’s boss.
Fire also has Amazon apps on tap – 33 million songs, apps, games, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, magazines, and books as well as free use of all the content on Prime for 12 months, and free two-day shipping on millions of items.
Fire is available exclusively on AT&T in the US for $199 with 32GB on a two-year contract or 64GB for $299. It costs $649 without a plan via the Amazon store.
But this is all for US customers only, folks – no word on Fire coming down under.