“About time, we’ve tracked that for longer than Attenborough’s tracked wildlife!” is the reaction our Tech Editor, James Read, had when we finally heard that Amazon had unveiled their oft rumoured smartphone. Amazon today announced the Fire Phone, a brand new device from the online company with Amazon’s services at heart. Along with a range of fascinating features, the Amazon Fire Phone hopes to make waves in the smartphone market the same way their range of Kindle Fire Tablets has done.
Today Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has officially unveiled Amazon’s first smartphone, the Fire Phone, it’s a 4.7-inch device with with a 720p display, aluminum buttons along with a dedicated camera button, a 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. At a glance the Fire Phone is your usual smartphone affair, but looking closer you’ll notice it comes with some pretty unique features.
See, the Amazon Fire Phone doesn’t just have one front facing camera, nope, it has five. You may think that’s a little excessive but it’s all within good reason. These cameras help Amazon achieve what they’re calling Dynamic Perspective. Dynamic Perspective is an entirely unique feature that lets the user use the Fire Phone with just one hand. Tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts all with hand which holds the device, and you’ll be able to do a range of different tasks easily.
This feature also changes the way the screen looks based on where the user is in relation to the device, all using the head tracking sensors in these 3D cameras. It sounds impressive, but it’ll be interesting how these work in the hands of someone not-so tech savvy.
In terms of a standard camera to actually take pictures with, the Fire comes with a 13-megapixel camera, an f/2.0 lens, and optical image stabilization. Bezos revealed that taking a picture with the Fire Phone will be one of the quickest on a smartphone allowing you to open the camera without unlocking the phone using the dedicated camera button, he also claimed that no matter the situation, the Fire Phone will take better shots. What’s more, Amazon are offering unlimited cloud storage for all of your photo’s completely free.
The Fire Phone’s unique features don’t stop there either. With Amazon Prime and other Amazon owned products at the forefront of the device, Amazon have made it even easier to browse over 100 million products as well as discovering new TV shows, songs, and products. “How?” might you ask? Firefly.. This new feature uses the phones sensors to quickly identify songs, TV shows and movies, printed websites and email addresses, and products as well as offering a way to quickly buy the identified products all with the touch of the FireFly button.
The Amazon Fire phone, like with the Kindle Fire, runs on Amazon’s own Android-based FireOS. It’s presented in a similar way to the Kindle but laid out much more friendlier to s the phones smaller screen. The Fire Phone comes with Amazon Prime Video, the recently announced Amazon Prime Music, as well as features such as the X-Ray which gives you facts based on what’s on the screen, and an AirPlay-like feature that allows you to send whatever you’re watching or listening to, to the Fire TV.
Finally Amazon have brought over the MayDay feature from their Kindle Fire HDX offering a quick one-on-one help service for anyone who may end up a little puzzled on how to use the Fire Phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand—instant access to Amazon’s vast content ecosystem and exclusive features like the Mayday button, ASAP, Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage, and more,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO in a press release. “The Firefly button lets you identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, artwork, and over 100 million items, including songs, movies, TV shows, and products—and take action in seconds.”
“We invented a new sensor system called Dynamic Perspective that recognizes where a user’s head is relative to the device—we use it to offer customers a more immersive experience, one-handed navigation, and gestures that actually work. And this is only the beginning—the most powerful inventions are the ones that empower others to unleash their creativity—that’s why today we are launching the Dynamic Perspective SDK and the Firefly SDK—we can’t wait to see how developers surprise us.” he continued.
Amazon’s Fire Phone will be available to purchase for $199 complete with a 24-month contract on AT&T, it comes with an entire year’s worth of Amazon Prime to justify the high asking price. It’s expected to launch on July 25. There’s no word right now if the device will land outside of the US.