As expected, Amazon today unveiled its first smartphone ever. Company CEO Jeff Bezos first talked quickly about Amazon’s Prime subscription service and how it now has “tens of millions” of customers. He also touched upon the fact that Amazon has now been in the hardware business for 10 years with the first Kindle e-reader taking 3 years to develop. It now has an extensive media ecosystem and a smartphone was the logical next step. With that out of the way, Bezos unveiled the Fire Phone.
Amazon Fire Phone specifications:
- Processor: 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 with Adreno 330 GPU
- Operating system: Amazon Fire OS 3.5
- Cellular connectivity: 9-band LTE/5-band UMTS/4-band GSM
- Other connectivity: GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC
- Display: 4.7-inch HD (720×1280) IPS with Gorilla Glass 3
- RAM: 2GB
- Internal storage: 32GB/64GB
- External storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with Fire phone
- Rear-facing camera: 13MP with OIS and f/2.0 aperture
- Front-facing camera: 2.1MP
- Sensors: Dynamic Perspective sensor system with invisible infrared illumination, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
- Battery: 2,400mAh
- Dimensions: 139.2 × 66.5 × 8.9 millimeters
- Weight: 160 grams
- Colours: Black
- Other: Rubber frame, circular polarizer to improve outdoor visibility, dedicated camera shutter button
Other features to come with the Fire Phone are tangle-free headphones with flat cables and magnetic earbuds and free unlimited photo storage through its own Amazon Cloud Drive service. It also supports Amazon’s MayDay support service both over Wi-Fi and 3G/4G.
The Amazon Fire Phone also comes with a new service called Firefly. The camera can be used to identify over 100 million products from music and TV shows (like Shazam) to books and jars of Nutella. Once a product is identified, Firefly makes it easy to buy it through the Amazon store (naturally). Other objects that can be recognized include art work for which Firefly will provide links back to Wikipedia. Firefly also comes with a dedicated button to make it that much easier to identify (and buy) things.
As widely expected, the Fire Phone offers a 3D user interface. Amazon has incorporated the feature into everything from the lockscreens to the Maps app (allowing you to see famous buildings such as the Empire State Building as 3D renders). The effect, called Dynamic Perspective, is accomplished thanks to four front-facing cameras that track the user’s head and position various elements appropriately to achieve the 3D look. Each camera even comes with an infrared light so that it can function in low light or even dark conditions.
Tilting the smartphone can also allow you to bring up menus, flick through galleries of images or scroll through articles or a book (saving you from having to turn pages).
Amazon is making available SDKs for both Firefly and Dynamic Perspective to allow developers to leverage both features in their own apps.
As reported yesterday, AT&T will be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Amazon Fire smartphone. It already lists the Amazon Fire on its website in both 32GB and 64GB configurations. Both pop up on a search result page but product pages are not yet up. The former starts at US$199.99 and the latter at US$299.99 with a two-year contract. It will sell for US$649.99 and US$749.99 respectively contract-free.
AT&T will begin taking pre-orders for the Amazon Fire smartphone today. It will begin shipping on July 25. For a limited time, it will come with a free 12 month Amazon Prime subscription (including existing Prime customers).