After nearly 4 years of working on their project, Amazon finally unveiled its first Smartphone, called the Fire Phone. Named in similarity to the previously released Fire Tablet and Fire TV. The questions that need to be answered are, whether this phone will be a success or a failure? Will the so called ‘massive’ price tag be an issue for the customers, considering its features? Can Amazon pull this off?
All that and more is going to be answered right now in my prediction. So get your popcorn ready, and let us dive into the Dynamic Perspective supporting, Fire Phone!
Amazon Fire Phone Specs
The Amazon Fire phone boasts a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snap Dragon 800 processor. An Adreno 330 GPU along with 2GB of RAM is also packed inside the phone. The OS this phone is using is a modified version of Android from Amazon, called the Fire OS.
On the networking side, the Fire Phone features 9 bands of LTE and 4 bands of GSM five bands of UMTS for better voice coverage, faster data speeds, and international roaming. It also supports 802.11ac, Wifi Channel bonding, Bluetooth and NFC.
For the Dynamic Perspective, the phone hosts 4 ultra low power specialized sensors, and 4 infrared LEDs for invisible illumination. More on the Dynamic Perspective later.
Amazon Fire Phone Software
Once you power on the phone, you’re greeted with the lock screen, which is a cool looking 3D enabled gimmick. Once you access the phone, you can open up the usual Android style app drawer, where apps are arranged in grids. On the press of a physical button at the top of the phone, you can switch to the carousal view.
Another feature is that when the phone is tilted or the screen swiped, you can access stuff like the maps app or weather update. This isn’t new, but the way Amazon integrates it, makes it feel fluid and hassle free.
Amazon Fire Phone Special Features
Firefly is one of the biggest features of the Amazon Fire phone. Is a nutshell, you can take a picture of over 70 million products, including shoes and books, to get all the info about them along with the ability to purchase them from Amazon. You can also use the FireFly technology to take pictures of email addresses and phone numbers and automatically save or dial them without having to type them in.
After this, Firefly can also recognize over 240,000 movies and TV episodes. This is certainly a feature people would use, especially when arguing which actor is currently on screen.
Mayday is a feature in the Fire Phone, which would allow the user instant access to the support staff from Amazon. They are guaranteeing a 15 second wait.
Amazon themselves summarize this perfectly,
“Simply hit the Mayday button in quick actions and an Amazon expert will appear to help you via live video. Our tech experts can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best. Throughout the process, you’ll be able to see the Amazon expert live on your screen, but they won’t see you.”
3. The Dynamic Perspective
The Dynamic Perspective is the glory feature of this Fire Phone. As mentioned earlier it uses 4 sensors built into the phones front 4 corners. As seen in the Vine below, the mode allows for a depth effect to be observed by the viewer. However this effect can only be used by one person at a time, since the phone displays the ‘images’ according to that person’s eye position.
Amazon Fire Flaws
The Price Tag
By taking a closer look at the spec sheet of the phone, it can clearly be seen that the phone could have been cheaper. There is a phone with similar specifications, the Google Nexus 5, which is being sold at $399, instead of the $650 of the Amazon Fire Phone. Although the price tag might be justified by the Dynamic Perspective and the OIS the phone is equipped with.
Size and Form Factor
The Amazon Fire Phone is the bulkiest and thickest phone in its price range and specifications.
Amount of Apps
Out of the box, you cannot access the Google Play Store, which blocks you from using the 1.2million+ apps available on there. However you cans till use the Amazon App Store, with a modest 240,000 apps.
Well, that was the overview of the Amazon Fire Phone, with a price tag of $650, and a bunch of customizing options.
U.S. Limited Carrier Issue
Just like when the iPhone first came out, AT&T is the only carrier in the U.S. that the Amazon Fire will leverage though you get a discount on the phone to $199 instead of the retail out of box cost if you sign up for an AT&T plan or are eligible for an upgrade from your current phone (if you are tired of the iPhone for example). While this does greatly reduce the rate when you pair with the carrier to very similar to a 32GB iPhone 5S I am curious why Amazon would have limited the phone to 1 carrier unless they clearly weren’t ready for the mass production to handle all carriers, or as they stated this was merely a test bed to find out what works, what doesn’t and iron out kinks before negotiating it through additional carriers.
Personal Favorites Features
- 3D Dynamic Perspective
What did you think about the recently unveiled Amazon Phone? Is it worth getting? Or is it just and extension of the Amazon Store? Leave a comment below.
I personally don’t see the Amazon Fire taking away market share from Android or iPhone, but more like becoming the phone of choice for those who love Amazon and already own other Amazon devices. They have a great job of integrating their services into their products and the diversity of ordering any product through Amazon makes them a retail portal that rivals all others. I thought the Dynamic Perspective functionality was extremely impressive and can be useful for games but overall this would be more value on larger screen tablets rather than phones as the type of games that would really benefit from Dynamic Perspective are ones you won’t want to play on a tiny phone screen. It is however a step in the right direction and more competition breeds more innovation, one thing of interest that many don’t know about the FireOS is that it supports VPN and other Enterprise level integration built into the device and they are looking to more tightly integrate support and monitoring of Amazon Cloud Services if your small business or enterprise uses it right from the FireOS device as well, so in addition to the home front, businesses that manage services on Amazon S3, SES, Cloudfront and more may end up getting excellent mobile support and feature sets to help ease administration and be portable and mobile at the same time.