Amazon Fire Phone: What Is It and Who’s It For?
Not long ago, Amazon announced a new device in its lineup: the Fire Phone. Amazon has done well with Kindle Fires, Android-based eReaders that have proven successful against competition from both other eReaders and tablets. Amazon has proven it can fare well as a manufacturer, so while the announcement of Amazon’s Fire Phone might have surprised some people, we all knew it was only a matter of time.
A New Kind of Phone?
Amazon’s Fire Phone looks a lot like the bigger Kindle Fire and other smartphones on the market, but the company has gone the extra mile to ensure it operates in a totally unique way. One example is with Dynamic Perspective, which allows you to tilt the phone to open menus, swivel to access notifications and use one-handed scroll. “If these gestures work as well as Amazon thinks they will, the Fire Phone could be quite intuitive,” says Jason Hope. On the other hand, if they don’t work, they’ll just frustrate users.
Amazon is also using what it calls “Firefly” technology, which identifies phone numbers, addresses, bar codes and other items such as TV or song names and even products sold on Amazon.com. Highlighting those items brings up a menu that allows you to find more information or use the data. Obviously, Amazon is hoping to keep customers shopping at their marketplace. Specific apps and games also employ Firefly tech.
Fire Phone Specs
So what kind of hardware has Amazon decided to go with? a 13-megapixel camera is nothing to scoff at, and it can record full 1080P video and snap panorama and burst-mode photos. This runs atop a 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU with 2 gigabytes of RAM. The Fire Phone’s 4.7-inch display is large enough to comfortable view the screen without branching in “phablet” territory. Amazon has added NFC, too.
You can add the Fire Phone to your cell plan. This drops the price from $649 to $199 for the 32-gigabyte version with a contract at least one year long. As of July 2014, only AT&T will carry this phone on its 4G LTE network, but it will roam outside of the U.S. so there’s potential the service-free version could work on LTE networks such as those from T-Mobile.
Amazon Services and Perks
As you’d expect, Amazon has loaded this from A to Z with its own services, including a full year of Prime, which includes video. and Amazon books and magazines. This also includes Mayday, a live video tech support session with an Amazon expert. Amazon released Mayday with the most recent version of the Kindle Fire, and the easy-to-use button might appeal to people who are just getting used to the Amazon Fire Phone.
Amazon’s Cloud Drive provides a reliable way to backup while Amazon is now utilizing coins to allow you to purchase apps.
Amazon has added a lot of features — including X-Ray, Whispersync and ASAP, among too many others to list — to this phone that could lure dedicated iPhone and Android users.