Getting into Hardware
Amazon has been getting into hardware lately, what with its Kindle Fire Line of tablets, Fire TV and now the latest, its Smartphone.
Rumors of an Amazon Set-Top box and an Amazon Smartphone had been going around for quite a while now. The first had been fulfilled with Fire TV and Amazon has done the second one too.
Let us start off with some cold hard statistics: There are over Tens of Millions of Prime Subscribers, 500,000 Kindle Ebooks, and over 40, 000 Prime Videos.
Amazon’s Motto: “Patience, Persistence and Obsessive Attention to Detail”. Sounds a lot like Steve Jobs’, doesn’t it?
Need to Differentiate
In this crowded and competitive smartphone landscape, Amazon needed to differentiate.
The Fire Phone
Yes, Amazon has announced the Fire Phone. It has a Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and the back, aluminium buttons and steel connectors to reduce wobble. It is 8.9mm thick.
It’s screen is a 4.7 inches HD IPS one, which seems small compared to the behemoth phablets of today, but it really is the perfect size. It has an eye-blinding 590 nits maximum brightness. The screen has dynamic contrast and a circular polarizer.
The Differentiating 3-Dimensional Factor
Of course, it’s standout feature is it’s 3D capability, with something called “Dynamic Perspective”, which uses four front facing camera and IR sensors to track your head, so that it can adjust the 3D effect by the way you are looking at it, eliminating the one disadvantage of glassless 3D: The need of being in a fixed position.
Innovative or Gimmicky?
According to Amazon, the 3D Effect and the Head Tracking could be used in amazing ways by apps. For example, on a Map, you may actually see the Empire State Building popping out. And with Dynamic Perspective, you can move the phone around and see around the building. Even games may use head-tracking.
Then there is scrolling by tilting your head. Similar features were found on the Galaxy S4 and reviewers found them to be gimmicky.
Packing a Punch, but an Old One
Underneath is a 2.2 Ghz Quad-Core processor with 2 gigs of RAM. It should be noted that it is a Snapdragon 800 processor, which is more than enough for doing basic tasks and running high-end games, but the Snapdragon 800 processor is getting old now, with the Snapdragon 801 and Snapdragon 805 processor being the current high-end processors. However, you would never find it lacking on speed.
The Camera looks to be Good
The camera is 13MP, with OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation, with f/2.0 aperture and a five-element lens assembly.
For easy access to the camera, there is a dedicated button. One press for launching the camera and another for taking the picture. This works even if the device is off.
It is supposedly better than the 5s and other phones at taking pictures. Above picture from Amazon.
It comes with unlimited free cloud photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive.
There are dual-stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Surround Sound, which supposedly sound better. It will come with “premium” earbuds, which are tangle-free (thankfully).
Media, Media and Media
There is an emphasis on Video, with Second Screen and X-Ray on the phone. X-Ray tells you all the information you need about the movie (if it is supported.). With Miracast, your phone can be used as a second screen.
ASAP can predict what you may want to see and pre-buffers it, for faster streaming. It grows more accurate with use.
Support for all the major video services is there. Obviously it supports the recently launched Prime Music service, but it also supports all the major ones. There is an emphasis on Amazon’s ecosystem (obviously).
FireOS: Google’s Operating System, Amazon’s Ecosystem
It runs Amazon Fire OS 3.5. Fire OS is basically a fork of Android, just with Amazon’s App ecosystem instead of Google Play.
There is also a Mayday Button, which is Amazon’s Customer Service that is on 24×7, so that if you are stuck somewhere, a support person can take over and fix it, over the internet.
Capture, Access and Purchase anything you see
Then there is Firefly, which can be used to identify items through the Camera and then allow you to purchase them. Similarly it can listen to songs and identify them, along with a way to purchase them. Not only that, Firefly can recognize over a 100 million items, including contacts, emails and more, enabling you to either contact someone or purchase something as fast and conveniently as possible.
All data is processed through Amazon’s powerful servers, to minimize power consumption.
Exclusive to AT&T
Again, as the rumors had indicated, it will arrive at AT&T and at AT&T only. It will sell for $200 locked with a two year contract and $650 unlocked. You will be able to grab one from June 25. Grab one soon, for a limited time Amazon is offering a complimentary Amazon Prime Membership (1 Year) giving you access to goodies like fast shipping, the Kindle Lending Library and more.
Some Images from CNET