Amazon Introduces Fire Phone
Amazon hopes to start a fire in the smartphone market
Amazon became the latest entrant into the crowded smartphone market today with the introduction of the much-anticipated Fire Phone.
With a 4.7 inch display and a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, the Fire Phone comes standard with 32GB of memory. It has a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera, both of which support 1080p HD video recording. The operating system is based on a heavily modified version of Android.
What makes the Amazon Fire Phone unique is that it also includes four ultra-low-power cameras to track the position of the user’s face. The facial tracking also works in the dark, infrared LEDs connected to each camera.
By tracking the position of the user’s face, the Fire Phone is able to offer a host of “dynamic perspective” features including the ability to view images and maps from various angles – similar to a 3D effect.
It also allows a range of features by tilting the Amazon Fire Phone in various directions. For example, a user can scroll a web page or flip the page of a book by tilting the phone up-and-down or side-to-side. It also provides an enhanced gaming experience, allowing a user to peek around a corner or twist and turn a snowboard.
Another interesting feature is Firefly, a special app that recognises images, text and barcodes. Activated by a button on the side of the phone, simply point your phone at an object and the phone will automatically identify it and display product details or allow you to order it directly from Amazon.
Firefly also allows users to dial a phone number from a business card or pull up a website by pointing the camera at a poster or magazine advertisement. It even can recognise 240,000 TV shows and movies and display information on actors, episodes and plot content.
It can also identify a song – which you can easily add to a playlist or purchase online.
Customers who require support using their phone can push a “mayday” button that connects a user to an Amazon representative via video chat within 15 seconds. The representative can interact directly with the user’s phone by drawing on the screen or taking control to demonstrate a feature.
Initially, the new Amazon smartphone will only be available to AT&T customers in the United States. Whether Amazon will seek to reach agreements with carriers outside of the U.S. is yet to be determined. It clearly offers some innovative features, which are likely to be copied in some form by other smartphone manufacturers.