After several months of speculation, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has yesterday announced its long-awaited entrant into the phone market, dubbed the Fire Phone on stage at an event in Seattle, Washington. As expected, the device features the much rumoured a 3D display. You can pre-order the Fire Phone for $199/299 with a contract on Amazon. Off-contract, the device is available for $649/749 for 32GB and 64GB of storage respectively.
Amazon released a video teasing the “amazing” device earlier this month, showing customers reacting to the 3D display and how it moved with them. It remains to be seen how many people want a phone with a 3D display, however, especially with previous 3D Android devices never catching on.
Amazon’s phone has been rumored as far back as 2012, so the company has presumably been hard at work on it for awhile. The WSJ correctly predicted a June launch back in April…
Following the release and announcement of the Fire TV earlier this year, Amazon’s smartphone is the company’s latest attempt in following Apple’s product lines. There’s also Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets that are aimed as competitors to the iPad. Although, they haven’t been remarkable successes by any stretch of the imagination.
The Fire Phone is glass on both sides with a metal frame, rubber trim and metal buttons and has a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display.
Bezos says that the Fire Phone is the perfect size for one-handed use. It also has a circular polariser so that you’re able to use it both ways up with sunglasses on without losing any clarity. Specs-wise, the Fire Phone is rocking a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, Adreno 330 graphics, and 2GB of RAM. It’s also got a 13MP camera on the back. The screen is a 4.7-inch IPS LCD HD panel. For sound, Amazon touts that the Fire Phone has dual stereo speakers with support for virtual Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. The company is also including a pair of earbuds with tangle-free flat cables.
Amazon is also heavily touting the entertainment capabilities of the Fire Phone, pre-loading it with a plethora of features and apps. The phone supports the Xray second screen functionality allows you to beam content to a Miracast device, like the Fire TV. You’ll also, of course, get access to Prime Music and video, in addition to the Kindle library and Newsstand.
The latest line of Kindle Fire tablets introduced Mayday support, which Bezos says is coming to the Fire Phone, as well. It offers free, 24/7 support, 365 days a year, is entirely free and even offers video support.
Amazon has also unveiled a new Firefly service, a Google Goggles-eque service, for the Fire Phone that scans barcodes on products and pulls them up on Amazon. It can also detect music and TV and pull information up on the phone.
Bezos says that FireFly will support scanning of hundreds of millions of items, including phone numbers, barcodes, movies, TV shows, emails, URLs, songs, and books.
Finally, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the 3D interface that the Fire Phone will have. Unlike previous 3D phones, however, the Fire Phone will follow you around with what Bezos calls Dynamic Perspective. This appears to be a unique head-based tracking system. It allows the phone to construct 3D images at 60 frames per second. The feature relies on multiple front-facing cameras and software. Bezos demoed it by showing how the view of a picture would change as you move around. You can also tilt the device itself to scroll up and down through webpages. A small tilt will let it scroll slowly, a larger one will have it scroll faster. The same capability also works with e-books.
Navigating throughout the interface works in a smilier fashion. You can choose between either a carousel style look, similar to that of the Kindle Fire, or an interface more familiar to Android users. The carousel interface allows you to see the first few emails without launching the mail app and the most recent pictures without launching the photos app. The music app has three columns: navigation on the left, album art and controls in the middle, and lyrics on the right.
While Amazon has yet to announce any availability, the device was half-listed on AT&T’s website for $200 on contract for 32GB of storage. The 64GB model was listed for $299. It appears to have been taken down now, however. The phones are listed on Amazon.com, too. The 32GB is listed for $649 off contract, while the 64GB is $749. The Amazon search page lists the Fire Phone as being available on July 25. It is an AT&T exclusive, at least for now.
You can pre-order it on Amazon’s website now. With the purchase of a Fire Phone, you do get a free year of Amazon Prime, which normally runs $99.