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Amazon Unveils Its First Smartphone

Jun 18 2014, 9:07pm CDT | by , in News | Mobile Phones

Amazon Unveils Its First Smartphone
David Ryder/ Getty Images

The Fire phone is designed to help Amazon earn millions, if not billions, of dollars each year from e-commerce.

Amazon has finally announced its first smartphone today at an event in Seattle. The phone is officially called Fire, owing its roots to Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets.

Running on a customized operating system from Android (Fire OS 3.5.0), the phone features a 4.7-inch HD LCD display and it is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Plus, there will be two storage options - 32GB or 64GB.

As for the cameras, the Fire has a 13-megapixel camera on its back with LED flash, 5-element f/2.0 lens, OIS, backside illumination, and HDR capabilities. On the front is a decent 2.1-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p videos.

Other features include support for NFC, LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GSM, and UMTS. It also has micro USB 2.0 ports, a 2400mAh battery, and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The Fire will be pre-installed with a Nano SIM card.

While most of these features are average when compared to other top-of-the-line phones available today (we can talk about them all day), the Fire has a few secret weapons.

Perhaps the most significant feature of the Fire is its 3D capabilities. Yes, the rumors were right. But we finally have a term for it, and it's called Dynamic Perspective. Using four low-power cameras and four LEDs mounted into the front portion of the Fire, Amazon's Dynamic Perspective allows users to navigate apps with one-handed gestures.

For instance, users can auto-scroll  pages of the New York Times by tilting the phone. It gets better with games. Compatible games offer an immersive 3D experience by allowing users to peek into corners for upcoming obstacles.

Another feature worth checking is Firefly. Firely harnesses the cloud technology of Amazon to allow users to quickly identify products, songs, and movies in just a tap of a button. It even works on printed phone numbers, email addresses, and QR codes. Just scan it and you can either make a call or send an email. You may also save that number on your contact list or visit a website without typing.

Firefly uses data from IMBD to reveal actors, plot synopses, and related content. And with the launching of Prime Music, owners of the phone can also identify songs in a snap.

It's worth noting that Amazon is using its own vast digital ecosystem here and not Google or Yahoo. Of course, this also translates to more money for Amazon. It's actually a brilliant idea. If Google and Facebook are earning billions of dollars on advertisements, Amazon will earn the same amount of money on sales and downloads.

Lastly, Amazon is also introducing a 24/7 dedicated support with the Fire. Dubbed Mayday, the feature will allow users to contact on-demand technical support from Amazon. Pressing the Mayday button will display a live video on the screen. Amazon experts can remotely fix problems, draw on the screen, and talk you through how to troubleshoot issues.

There's also a feature called ASAP, short for Advanced Streaming and Prediction, which will automatically prepare movies for instant playback.

Another exclusive feature called X-Ray will assist users into exploring book, music, and movies.

A feature called Second Screen will also allow users to fling TV shows and movies from their Fire phone to their Fire TV, PlayStation, or any other Miracast-enabled device. And, to ensure you'll have enough storage for all your downloads, Amazon is giving Fire users unlimited cloud storage - automatically backed-up wirelessly and available across Amazon devices and apps.

As previously reported, the Amazon Fire will be an AT&T exclusive. The 32GB model is available for $199 with a two-year contract, while the 64GB version will sell for $299, also with a two-year contract. Interested buyers can also get them for $27.09 and $31.25 a month, respectively.

Those who will avail the introductory offer will also get 12 months of Amazon Prime. The Fire ships on July 25th. 

Amazon Fire Specifications:

  • Size: 5.5" x 2.6" x 0.35" (139.2mm x 66.5mm x 8.9mm)
  • Weight: 5.64 ounces (160 grams)
  • Processor: 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU
  • Memory: 2GB of RAM
  • Display: 4.7" HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi, 590 cd/m2 brightness (typical), 1000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • Cameras: 13 MP rear-facing camera, multi-frame HDR, auto focus, optical image stabilization, f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens, LED flash, 2.1 MP front-facing camera
  • OS: Fire OS 3.5.0
  • Storage: 32 GB or 64 GB
  • Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content, and photos taken with Fire phone
  • Battery: 2400mAh. Up to 22 hours of talk time, standby time up to 285 hours, video playback up to 11 hours, audio playback up to 65 hours.
  • Video recording: 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps (front- and rear-facing cameras)
  • Audio playback: Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio processing
  • TV and Video: Supports screen mirroring and Second Screen
  • Content formats supported Audio: Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, PCM/WAVE, AAC LC/ELD, HE-AAC (v1 & v2), AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AMR-WB+, Audible Enhanced format (AAX); Video: MPEG4, VP8, H.264/MPEG4/AVC,MPEG4 SP, H.263,AVI,HDCP2.x, PlayReady DRM; Images: JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, GIF87a,GIF89a; Viewable docs: PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, DOC, DOCX, Kindle (AZW), KF8, TXT
  • Sensors: Dynamic Perspective sensor system with invisible infrared illumination, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
  • Location: GPS, Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi/Cellular location, and Digital compass
  • Cellular: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz), Quad-band GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 9 bands of LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 20), supports carrier aggregation
  • Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, up to 300 Mbps with channel bonding; Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology; NFC enabled

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