Amazon Fires Up Another Device

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — June 18, 2014

Did you hear the one about the new phone from Amazon? It’s clear; this from the rumor mill at the beginning of last year. Actually, Amazon unveiled its first smartphone today—Fire—with the first Dynamic Perspective and Firefly technologies.
 
Amazon calls these “breakthrough technologies that allow you to see and interact with the world through a whole new lens.” Dynamic Perspective settles the other rumor about a 3-D phone, and Firefly may just become a verb, as provides information about nearly anything the user is near or doing, with the touch of a button.
 
The latest gadget means business when it comes to the Amazon ecosystem—from content to cloud—but claims no enterprise features.
 
“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.com Founder and CEO in a release.
 
Dynamic Perspective
Dynamic Perspective technology includes one-handed gestures (Auto-scroll, tilt, swivel and peek for quicker, easier navigation and a better media and entertainment experience.) For example, with auto-scroll, users can read a long web page or a book without ever having to touch the screen; tilt in Amazon Music shows song lyrics; swivel instantly reveals quick actions; peek in Maps shows layered information like Yelp ratings and reviews. Dynamic Perspective also enables developers to create a new class of apps and games that are more immersive.
 
The enhanced carousel feature supports productivity with real-time updates and action can be taken right from the home screen—triage email, find recent photos, access most visited websites, return missed calls, view appointments, and more. Developers can customize the contents of their dynamic app and how it responds to user actions.
 
For example, Zillow’s app in the carousel shows property information based on the location, so users can access search results on nearby homes from the carousel without having to launch the Zillow app. USA TODAY shows headlines most relevant to customer’s interest—someone who frequents football in the Sports section will see those related headlines appear in the carousel.
 
Firefly
Firefly combines Amazon’s catalog of content with multiple image, text and audio recognition technologies to quickly identify web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products. Simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover helpful information and take action in seconds.
 
Firefly identifies printed text on signs, posters, magazines and business cards—make a call, send an email, save as a contact, or go to the website without typing out long URLs or email addresses. It recognizes movies and TV episodes, and uses IMDb for X-Ray to show actors, plot synopses, and related content—add titles to Watch List or download and start watching immediately.
 
Similarly it recognizes music and uses Amazon Music’s catalog to show information about the artist—play more songs, add them to your Wish List, or download instantly to your Fire. Developers, such as iHeartRadio and StubHub, used the SDK to build Firefly-enabled apps, so customers can create a new radio station based on the song or find concert tickets for the artist. It also covers the 70 million products and allows ordering from Amazon.com.
 
Amazon’s digital ecosystem is integrated with Fire as are services including: Mayday, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen and the Cloud. Prime members get extra benefits.
 
The Specs
Built using premium materials, including Gorilla Glass 3 for the rear and front, aluminum buttons, stainless steel details and a rubberized polyurethane grip area, Fire is optimized for beauty, hand comfort and powerful performance:

  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2 GHz processor and 2GB RAM for excellent fluidity and image rendering.

  • 4.7-inch HD display with an ambient light sensor and Dynamic Image Contrast that delivers better outdoor viewing.

  • Global LTE and connectivity with nine bands of LTE, four bands of GSM, five bands of UMTS for better voice coverage and faster data speeds, 802.11ac support, Wi-Fi channel bonding, NFC, and Bluetooth.

  • Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus for a virtual surround sound experience.

  • Advanced imaging system with custom-tuned 13MP rear-facing camera with backside illumination, LED flash, 5-element f/2.0 lens, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities for beautiful, crisp photos, even in low-light conditions. Fire also includes a 2.1MP front-facing camera. Both front and rear-facing cameras record smooth 1080p HD videos.

  • Reliable backup and restore leverages Amazon Web Services and its cloud technology. Users can automatically back up device settings, notes, bookmarks, messages, and installed applications—no need to manually configure or connect to a computer.

Availability
Fire ships on July 25 and is available exclusively on AT&T. Pre-orders start today. Fire with 32GB is available for $199 with a two-year contract—that’s an extra 16GB of memory for the same price as many other premium smartphones—or zero money down for as little as $27.09 a month from AT&T on Next 18. Fire is also available with 64GB for $299 with a two-year contract or starting at $31.25/month from AT&T on Next 18.

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