Did you ever walk past something, anything, and wanted to know how you could buy it? Amazon has developed its Fire Phone that allows users to scan any object, and a pricing module will come up that shows how the user can make a transaction for that item using Amazon.
It’s a technology that will appeal to some, but not others. It’s a way for Amazon to have a stake in the smartphone race, and hope to generate enough interest to stay there for the foreseeable future. If your provider is AT&T, you’re in luck. The phone is available exclusively on AT&T—like when the iPhone first hit the shelves—and consumers are granted a number of contract options. With a 32GB and 64GB model, two-year contracts will cost $199 and $299 respectively. Off contract purchases can be made for $649 and $749.
What You See
The Fire Phone doesn’t appear much different than other Android phones from the outside, but it’s the inner mechanisms that will allow Amazon to stay in contention. A 4.7 inch display, the phone is loaded with innovative 3D technologies—but you don’t see them. You’ll be treated to aluminum buttons, tilt to scroll, and a rubberized spine to make it easy to hold and operate with one hand. A glass front and back makes it look similar to a Galaxy or iPhone in appearance.
Upon closer look, the first thing you notice when you look at the device is its five, yes that’s 5, front facing cameras. One camera in each corner, and another in the center of the top of the device. On the side is injection molded connectors for your USB drive, and magnetic headphone slots.
It’s what you get that will spark your attention.
What You Get
It’s an Amazon created phone, so of course you’ll be treated to the ultimate Amazon experience in the palm of their hand. When you turn the device on, for easy use, simply swipe right or left from the home screen for app shortcuts, pictures, shopping, browsing, and more.
The five cameras you see are equipped with image stabilization, the rear possessing 13 megapixels, with a 2.1 megapixel front facing lens. The cameras produce higher quality pictures with optimal resolution, rivaling both the Galaxy and iPhone.
With 2 gigs of RAM, and 2.2GHz quad-core processor, you’ll be running on Amazon’s own Fire OS 3.5. Though it’s an Android, you won’t have Google features like maps or even the Play Store. Tilt your wrist to navigate menus and apps, and the storage compression gives you optimal performance.
A free year of Amazon Prime when purchasing the phone gives users an abundance of capabilities right from their fingertips. Take as many pictures as you’d like with Prime providing you with unlimited cloud storage. There’s also X-Ray for further information about what you’re watching, and a feature for sending video directly to your television screen.
What makes this device so intriguing, and gives it life in the fight, is the Firefly app. Through the multitude of cameras, tilt the screen to visually scan a huge database of products. Once the object or item is identified, the Fire Phone tells you what it is, and gives you the chance to purchase on the spot—through Amazon of course. Firefly also provides you with information, such as addresses, IMDB, TV series including audio at a specific moment, and music/audio tracks.
If you ever have any questions about different features, you’ll be treated to a full 24-hour customer service tool called MayDay. Watch CEO Jeff Bezos unveil his prized possession at the launch in Seattle below.
Comparison and Device Outlook
Powered heavily by Amazon and all of its featured that have been associated with the Kindle and Fire TV, the Fire Phone has innovative and unique features behind it. The device was made specifically for those that are infatuated by all the services that Amazon offers. Click the picture to the right, or click here, to see a bigger image of the comparisons.
It’s a tough medium to get involved in, but Amazon has been mastering their phone for years before its release. But, the question remains, is there a market? Its unlimited cloud photo storage will give those photo obsessive individuals a reason worth considering, and that free year of Prime will go a long way towards attracting an audience.
The price compares with the iPhone, Galaxy, and HTC One, each of which have more specs and features, though they exclude scanning. Other smartphones have higher resolution screens, and offer a phone that is more equipped for the constant changes mobile incurs. Still, there’s that curiosity that sets in.
Most of us are set on our phones, but with the unveiling of the Fire Phone, the 3D experience and dynamic perspective from the palm of your hand, it’s enough to peak my interest. Preorders are available now, with the release—in the United States only—on July 25. We’ll sit back and watch the audience reaction to its release, and when our existing contracts are up, give the Fire Phone a test in the AT&T store. With its highly visual 3D options, Amazon may have propelled us into the future.
Words by Ryan Clutter