Over the last few years, Amazon has ventured its hands on several things. From making warehouses all across the country, to tablets and set-top box, to building and licensing entertainment content, to the upcoming package delivery via drones. But there has been one key thing that it has been rumored to be working for years, but hasn’t showcased to the world a smartphone. Until today.


Today, at an event at Seattle, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos presented the world company’s first smartphone. Much like its tablets, Amazon’s smartphone, aptly named Fire Phone runs on Android-based operating system called Fire OS. It’s a forked version of Android, with a customized user interface. Much like what Nokia did in its Nokia X lineup.

The Fire Phone has 4.7-inch HD screen with Gorilla glass protection at both of the sides, aluminium buttons — which the company claims is three times precise than plastic buttons. The device is a beast. Powered by a Snapdragon 800 Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor (presumably Qualcomm Snapdragon 800), coupled with 2 gigs of ram that makes it “fast and fluid”. To lure in shutterbugs, it packs a humongous 13MP shooter at the back and 2.1MP camera upfront. There’s a dedicated key to snap photos. Amazon is offering unlimited photo storage for Fire Phone users via Amazon cloud.

Fire Phone has Dolby dual surround which looks and hopefully will sound amazing. On the entertainment front, the phone will embrace company’s lucrative offering of Amazon Video, HBO Go, ESPN, YouTube and Netflix subscriptions. The phone also supports music streaming services Spotify, Pandora and iHeartMusic. Prime Music too hit the chord soon. On the reading side, the phone will support Kindle and Audible audiobooks. On the connectivity front, it is a 4G capable device. The company claims Fire Phone will have 285 hour standby time with the 2400 mah battery it packs.

3D Interface


The long rumored 3D interface is real. “We call this dynamic perspective,” Bezos said. He demoed the “dynamic perspective” on Amazon’s Fire Phone. It’s a 3-D like effect where the image moves when you do. Tilting the phone triggers commands that bring several more options of the phone. Basically, it’s a headline feature of the phone that allows you to navigate and control your phone by titling it. The phone uses 4 cameras to exhibit 3D effects.



Amazon also introduced an enticing feature called Firefly which also comes as a dedicated button on the handset. It recognizes phone numbers, books, music, QR code, CDs and DVDs and links to its link to the Amazon Store product. It actually is very powerful. As Bezos demonstrated, it detects the scene from any particular show or movie, and even recognises the cast members. The company touts the precision and power of this feature. It is being claimed that it can grab a phone number from a distance, and recognize products despite real life issues like fold, blurriness, and wrinkles.

Firefly SDK

To lure in developers, Amazon has made available developer kit so that software developers could build apps on the top of Fire Phone’s engine.

Brilliant Customer Support promised

The company says that it cares about its customers. And unlike several of the rivals, it will listen to the customers within 10 seconds of their call. It sports Mayday like features.

Fire Phone Pricing


Starting today, Fire Phone will be available exclusively on AT&T and you can pre-order Fire Phone on Amazon. The 32GB of Fire Phone on a 2-year contract with Fire Phone will cost $199, whereas, the 64GB variant will be cost $299. Off contract, you can have the handset for $649-$749, though it will still be locked to AT&T.

But will Fire Phone succeed?

Except Apple’s iPhone, the vast majority of all the big tech giants in the field — Google, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, LG, Sony, they all have failed to hit the right cords at the first attempt. Some of them took years, some pivoted from their initial focus to get the things straight. The problem Fire Phone faces today is that it can’t survive with “me too” motto. The smartphone market is already jam-packed with innovation coming out of every corner. Amazon’s smartphone needs to differentiate itself from the rest of the devices.

At the end of the day, it seems like the Fire Phone is company’s yet another gateway for making money. With features like Firefly, the company is making it easier for users to buy products. Of course, making money is the chief motive behind vast majority of products, but Fire Phone just pushes the boundary too far.

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Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.


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