News by Luke Jones on Thursday December 18, 2014.
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The Amazon Fire Phone is already a legendary device, but its status in the mobile world is for all the wrong reasons. Amazon, a company used to huge success with retail and even with hardware (Kindle Fire tablets) was well poised to join the smartphone bandwagon. However, the company got a lot wrong in delivering a solid device, but one that did not have flagship specs, was loaded with gimmicks and gateways to Amazon's sales pages, had a flagship price tag and was a carrier exclusive.Amazon had the flop of the year and the Fire Phone is now reduced to $199.99 (admittedly a decent buy at that price) and is in the process of sinking without a trace. However, credit to Amazon for not abandoning those who already made the devastating error of buying one of these at full price or on contract. The company is now issuing an update for the AT&T version of the smartphone, sending out a patch to Fire OS 3.6.5, while the unlocked version is also getting some love with an update to Fire OS 3.6.8 (both essentially the same software). Both of these updates bring a number of new goodies to the Fire Phone party, such as a robust translator that can make the device translate text from/to English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian. Firefly, the app that can recognize things you are viewing and offer you examples to buy can now recognize 2000 historical paintings and supply information on Wikipedia. Amazon has also fiddled with the camera software with a new feature called Best Shot, allowing the user to take three quick burst shots when the shutter is pressed. Other new additions include the ability to turn MMS/SMS on or off, seven new keyboard languages, block calls, and change ringtones. On top of that, Amazon says that battery life has been improved, which will be welcomed as the Fire Phone likes chewing on battery life. This extensive new software pack also includes the WPS Office app, allowing you to view and edit Office documents from Word, PowerPoint and Excel on your device. More info can now be added to the lock screen, while Auto-scroll means you can read without having to touch the screen to scroll. And of course, where would an update be without the familiar bug squashes and security enhancements. The update is moving out in a staged procession OTA, but you can check manually by heading to Settings>Device>Install System Update>Check Now.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.