Amazon announces Fire Phone with 4.7" 3D head tracking display & Firefly smart scanner, exclusive to

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2014
Amazon announced its long awaited entrance into the smartphone market on Wednesday in unveiling the new Fire Phone, a device the retailer plans to pit against Apple's iPhone by integrating advanced head tracking technology for dynamic 3D content viewing, as well as new scanning functions that intelligently interpret data from the physical world.




The 4G LTE Amazon Fire Phone launches exclusively on U.S. carrier AT&T July 25 and starts at $649 contract-free with a 32-gigabyte capacity, or $199 with a two-year service contract. A 64-gigabyte model will also be available for $749 off-contract, or $299 with, and preorders are available now. The handset also comes with a full year of Amazon Prime for free, for both new and existing Prime subscribers.

The Fire Phone features Gorilla Glass on the front and back panels, surrounded by a rubberized frame that is said to be durable. Aluminum buttons and chamfered edges are also found on the exterior, while inside it's powered by a 2.2-gigahertz processor, Qualcomm Adreno 330 graphics processor, and 2 gigabytes of RAM. It runs a new, phone-optimized version of Amazon's Android-based mobile platform, dubbed Fire OS 3.5.

Cameras are a centerpiece of the device, featuring a 13-megapixel rear facing shooter with f/2.0 lens and optical image stabilization, along with a dedicated camera button that allows photos to be snapped instantly when pressed, regardless of whether or not the screen is on. Amazon is also including free, unlimited photo storage with the Fire Phone.




Making extensive use of the camera is Amazon's new Firefly feature, which can recognize physical media including books, movies, CDs and even pieces of art. It will also scan barcodes and QR codes, and also interpret things such as phone numbers and URLs. Firefly also listens, and can recognize music and TV shows, allowing quick access to buy content.

In one example, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos showed off how the Fire Phone would intelligently interpret a phone number even though part of the number was obscured with glare. The system used context to know that 703 is not a valid exchange for the area code 206, so the phone number's exchange must actually be 708.

The handset can also compress pictures for transferring by only sending relevant parts of the image. Using the dedicated Firefly button, the phone will automatically scan and determine what information might be of value.

Firefly also comes with a software development kit, allowing custom actions to be developed alongside the text, audio, and image recognizers. Announced partners include iHeartRadio for music scanning, MyFitnessPal for tracking nutrition on food consumed, and Vivino for tapping into wine databases.




Multiple cameras are also found on the front of the device, tracking a user's head and eyes and allowing the picture to dynamically adjust, giving the illusion of three dimensions. In one demo by Bezos, a 3D image of the Empire State Building was shown and would dynamically move as the user moved the phone.

The "Dynamic Perspective" feature on the Fire Phone can be used with maps, pictures, and when browsing content. In another demonstration, Bezos flipped through clothing by tilting the phone. Users can also tilt their phone to scroll in a Web browser or Kindle book reader, rather than touching the screen.

The system is powered by four forward facing cameras located in the four corners of the handset. This allows two cameras to track the user's head no matter how they are holding the device.




The cameras are also equipped with infrared light sensors that are invisible to the human eyes, but allow the system to work in absolutely darkness. It's also backed by advanced software that can help interpret human heads from objects that might be something else, like a statue or face on a t-shirt.

The Amazon handset also boasts dual stereo speakers and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, and it ships with magnetic earbuds featuring tangle-free flat cables. It will also tap into the Amazon Instant Video and Music services, and offers features previously available on the Kindle Fire like Second Screen and X-Ray, while content can also be pushed to Miracast devices including the Fire TV.

Also coming over from the Kindle Fire will be Amazon's "Mayday" button, which offers near-instant video technical support for users. It's available for free at all hours, and works over cellular data or Wi-Fi.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 225
    No one takes you seriously these days unless you're selling a smartphone.
  • Reply 2 of 225
    rmb0037rmb0037 Posts: 142member
    Dang thing is ugly as sin. Looks like its got chicken pox or something

    Edit: Punctuation
  • Reply 3 of 225
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Meh..
  • Reply 4 of 225
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,175member
    It looks like an interesting device, would love to try one- but at the end of the day I feel like this entire phone is based on a gimmick. Not sure how much patience people will have for continually tilting and moving their phones/heads to achieve things, and if this is any more efficient or accurate than established methods for control (most likely less on both counts).

    However, I applaud Amazon for doing something different, as well as pushing the envelope and taking risks. More than can be said for Android OEMs. WIll this be a success? I doubt it, but we'll see.
  • Reply 5 of 225
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,336member

    Now with 6 cameras including infrared... so the Android hackers can watch you undress.

  • Reply 6 of 225
    tt92618tt92618 Posts: 444member
    Here it comes: 100's of comments about how this is crap and can't possibly be cool because Apple has already invented everything of merit in the known universe.

    Two down, and many more to come.
  • Reply 7 of 225
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post



    Here it comes: 100's of comments about how this is crap and can't possibly be cool because Apple has already invented everything of merit in the known universe.



    Two down, and many more to come.



    You can't say it LOOKs like crap since to me it looks exactly like a frigging iPhone. Clearly, no one has had a single idea since Jonny Ive in 2006.

  • Reply 8 of 225

    I agree with earlier comments about it working off a gimmick.

     

    However at those price points - i think its DOA - its new to the market and trying to sell on established HIGH END PHONE rates.

    Thought they would try to price point like the kindle - oh well its cool to an extent but not $600+ cool to own.

  • Reply 9 of 225
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,309member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post



    Here it comes: 100's of comments about how this is crap and can't possibly be cool because Apple has already invented everything of merit in the known universe.



    Two down, and many more to come.

    You may not like it, but history of smartphone introductions suggests that these two -- and the many more to come -- will be correct with very high probability.

  • Reply 10 of 225
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I'm laughing my ass off over this. The media and chattering class were all predicting a cheap phone with some revolutionary pricing on the plan side. And in the end it's conventional pricing with AT&T normal data plans. The only thing that makes you want to bang your head against the wall is the stock being up 3% on the day. :rolleyes:
  • Reply 11 of 225
    dmarcootdmarcoot Posts: 191member
    Wow, that is the least necessary phone launch ever.
  • Reply 12 of 225
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,123member

    They may get 200,000 units per month if they are lucky. If you figure there are about 100,000,000 AT&T subscribers with about 70% on smartphones. I question if the others show interest but this might bring in late adopters.  So lets say 70,000,000 AT&T customers. I don't see this driving switchers from other carriers.

     

    This is really targeted toward Prime with 10's of millions,,, so what 40,000,000 but only about 1/3 of those are on AT&T or about 13,000,000 potential AT&T Prime customers with about 70% smartphone penetration rates. So lets take it to about 9,000,000 POTENTIAL customers that would really be interested in this phone. Now given the bulk of them are on 24 month contracts you have about 380,000 customers/month that will even consider this phone. Given AT&T's heave iPhone population, I don't see much to cause a platform switch from iOS to Amazon's Androidish platform. I suspect it will appeal much more to Android users and perhaps Windows Phones users with a smaller media library built up.

     

    So I put sales range between 100,000 and 200,000 per month or [s] enough to kill Apple and cause the collapse of their entire business model.[/s]

  • Reply 13 of 225
    kent909kent909 Posts: 710member
    Wow, another expensive phone that you can get a discount on by agreeing to pay too much for service for two years. I wonder what the 3d feature will do as it sees you getting jerked around by AT&T.
  • Reply 14 of 225
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    rmb0037 wrote: »
    Dang thing is ugly as sin. Looks like its got chicken pox or something

    Edit: Punctuation
    That must be a render or something. I though Bezos mentioned chamfered edges (gee I wonder where he got that idea from :rolleyes: ). Anyway what ruins the look are all those sensors. Yuck. And for all the complaints of iOS 7 being too bright, this is way too dark, IMO.
  • Reply 14 of 225
    baka-dubbsbaka-dubbs Posts: 112member
    A few interesting features tacked on to a truly ugly UI design. Hate the black backround and the home screen has an absurd amountof wasted space. On a phone, the carousel UI dominates the screen, meaning I don't have quick access to anything without spinning the stuipd carousel(really hate that UI paradigm). Didn't show how notifications are handled or quick settings. Who is providing maps, as that is essential to any platform now. Just too many things that look like showstoppers with this phone. Lots of Fluff, need more substance.
  • Reply 16 of 225
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,685member

    So it's a glorified (and expensive) version of their craptastic Kindle Fire, optimized for the only real intent of getting you to buy more stuff from Amazon.  Great.



    Like all the other non-iOS offerings, it will come out with tons of fanfare, then they will realize that it's simply another example of lipstick-on-a-pig, the OS will rarely get any updates, and when it does it will not work, or be even more unstable... and then people will continue to wonder why iOS continues to be popular when there are "so many choices" in the Android world.



    I give this phone six months... if that.  Bezos will, as is his usual fashion, refuse to give out unit sales and simply state that this phone will be "selling beyond what they predicted".  



    Just wait...

  • Reply 17 of 225
    tinktink Posts: 395member
    Holy competition Batman!
    ...if it all works as advertised
  • Reply 18 of 225
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 916member

    And the Android device space gets splintered even more.

  • Reply 19 of 225

    Doesn't look all that bad. Nothing that would cause me to give up my iPhone but not too bad of a first-gen phone.

  • Reply 20 of 225
    ivabignivabign Posts: 61member
    Had to get this released quickly before the big screen iPhones steal everyone's thunder.
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