Amazon has entered the smartphone race, with the Amazon Fire Phone officially unveiled with a premium array of specs and a 3D party piece.
Feature four front-facing camera, the Amazon Fire Phone is capable of tracking user’s facial movements, with a ‘dynamic perspective’ UI offering a 3D effect to on-screen content.
Making the announcement, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos teased the long rumoured phone’s arrival to the very last, posing the question “Is Amazon going to build a phone?” before finally outing its latest hardware offering.
Suggesting that Amazon has “world-class hardware expertise” and “hundreds of millions of engaged customers,” – a combination ideal for entering the smartphone market –
Looking to move the market on, the Amazon CEO added that the company had repeatedly posed itself the question “how would it be different?” during the development process.
Amazon Fire Phone Features
Answering that question, Amazon has packed the Amazon Fire Phone with an array of high-end specs and a couple of unique features which should see the handset stand out against its more established rivals.
Pairing a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, with 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 graphics, the Amazon Fire Phone looks set to give the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 a run for their collective monies.
Unpurturbed by the current trend for 5-inch handsets, Amazon has bestowed the Fire Phone with a 4.7-inch IPS LCD HD display, a form factor that the online retail giant claims is “the perfect size for one-handed use.”
Further enhancing the phone’s specs sheet, a 13-megapixel rear-mounted camera is bolstered by a five-element, f/2.0 lens and the now customary optical-image-stabilisation features.
Having taken some undoubted design pointers from Apple’s market-dominant iPhone, the Amazon Fire Phone has been crafted with a glass back and a rubberised frame interspersed with aluminium physical buttons.The screen feature a Gorilla Glass 3 protective coating.
Bringing ‘dynamic perspective’ to content, the Fire Phone’s 3D display is a more refined and subtle offering that the content-popping screen found on the likes of the Nintendo 3DS.
Enhancing content rather than making it explode out of the screen, the Fire Phone’s screen can be used to add depth to maps, perspective to images and shape to items on some retail outlets.
This ‘dynamic perspective’ is extended to the phone’s Kindle Fire-esque interface too. Combined with the handset’s four 120-degree field of view forward-facing cameras, the phone can track user’s head movements, moving content with the user to add further depth.
These ‘Dynamic Perspective’ features will soon be available through additional apps, as Amazon has confirmed an SDK will be made available to developers.
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Amazon wouldn’t enter the smartphone market if it didn’t have extended earning potential in mind and that box is firmly ticked by the phone’s new ‘Firefly’ features.
Utilising the Fire Phone’s 13-megapixel camera, Firefly lets users scan whatever item they wish – books, games, CDs, household items, barcodes URLS or QR codes – with scanned items recognised and pulled into a custom user list.
This list can – of course – then be used to purchase the desired items direct from Amazon’s online store at your convenience.
During the Fire Phone’s unveiling, Bezos showed Firefly used to scan and purchase everything from a book to a jar of Nutella. The company has suggested that Firefly “recognises 100 million different items” and can even tell you what episode of a show you’re watching on TV and send you to the Amazon Prime store to download a series.
Making the Fire Phone’s Firefly features as easy and convenient to use as possible, the handset plays host to a dedicated Firefly button beneath its physical volume controls on the phone’s left edge.
Not one to be greedy, Amazon has confirmed that it will allow third-party apps to build in these features using the Firefly SDK.
Amazon Fire Phone Release Date and Price
As expected, the Amazon Fire Phone will be a US exclusive at launch.
Setting our wannabe stateside cousins back $199 on a two-year contract the Amazon Fire Phone will be locked to the AT&T network when released on July 25. Pre-orders start today, June 18.
There is currently no word on plans for a UK Amazon Fire Phone release date.