Product Launch by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday June 18, 2014.
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Amazon introduced the Kindle to shake up eBooks, the Kindle Fire to outshine Android tablets, and it now has its own product to enter the ultra-competitive smartphone market - the Fire Phone.
As expected, the Amazon Fire Phone is an Android-powered device that is meant to offer something familiar to users but unique to Amazon. The phone has a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display, a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor (Qualcomm), Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. It also has a 2,400 mAh battery and 32GB or 64GB of of internal storage. Those specs will be necessary because Amazon has packed a great deal of features into the device.
We'll get to that in a second, but first, it's important to note that the Amazon Fire Phone is an AT&T exclusive device. The phone goes on sale July 25 and will cost $199 on a two-year agreement (or $27 per month) for the 32GB. Purchasing the phone also comes with 12 months of Amazon Prime included, and existing customers get an additional 12 months added to their account.
Here's a breakdown of what the Fire Phone offers.
Amazon Fire Phone Hardware
The 4.7-inch display has 590 nits brightness and has a polarizer that is designed to improve visibility outdoors.
13-megapixel camera has f/2.0, five element lens, and Optical Image Stabilization. The camera has been built to turn in better low-light photos than the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s thanks to its set-up that has blur and noise reduction. There's a dedicated shutter button and photos taken with a Fire Phone can be stored in Amazon Cloud Drive without limitations.
Dolby Digital Plus surround sound speakers are placed at the top and bottom of the phone. This is designed to provide virtual surround sound and stereo audio when using the phone in landscape, making it ideal for videos.
Amazon has introduced "Dynamic perspective" to give 3D effects in the lock screen or animate maps. The phone has multiple front cameras that update 60 times per second in order to track eyes and create an effect that's unique to the device. The phone has sensors with eye and head tracking built-in, and it emits a subtle light to help recognize faces.
There are also sensors to recognize tilt gestures that can be done to bring up the OS navigation menu. Other uses include scrolling or moving through a list of items, so someone can lean a device slightly away to scroll through an article in the web browser.
Amazon Fire Phone software
Video has plenty of tricks. X-Ray provides details about Movies and TV shows, so the phone can be used to get IMDb information about casts and a synopsis. It also interacts with Fire TV to control what appears on screen. Predictive caching analyzes what users search for and view as a way of pre-loading what you're likely to watch next (like the next episode in a series) and sets it up to load faster.
Amazon Prime music comes pre-loaded and all of the same music streaming and downloading options previously mentioned for Prime subscribers apply here as well. There's an Immersive Reading mode that covers up the entire screen, and WhisperSync to synchronize position across devices (Fire Phone, Kindle Fire, and web).
Mayday, Amazon's 24-hour support system that brings up a video of a person to talk you through whatever tech problem you have about the phone, is included. It's also free, promises to bring a person on in 15 seconds or less, and works on Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.
Firefly is a new identification service that uses the camera to recognize books, movies, films, or other objects. It maintains a history of what's scanned and can be used to get more information or purchase from Amazon. Firefly can also recognize what someone is watching on TV and then bring up X-Ray information.source: Amazon
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.