As expected, Amazon announced its very first phone this afternoon. Much about the Fire Phone had been leaked, but there were a few interesting surprises along the way. Many of us have Amazon Prime, so we were excited to see what Bezos would present, and how they would differentiate the Amazon Fire Phone. Here’s what we now know…Perhaps the most interesting line of all was this: “We’re not trying to build service for tens of millions of customers… we’re trying to build it for ONE customer.” That’s pretty interesting, and it stands out in today’s world where customer service seems to be a thing of the past.
After running down their current products and sharing some of the love they have received by the media and consumers alike, Bezos got to the meat of the event… The Amazon Smartphone and how at Amazon “they do things differently.”
Called the Amazon Fire Phone, it is a smartphone… With a difference.
With Gorilla Glass 3 and a rubber frame, it promises to be robust. With a 4.7″ IPS display in full HD, it hits the sweet spot for size in 2014, and it is optimized for one-handed use.
With a Quad-core 2.2GHz processor, an Adreno 3300 graphics processor and 2GB of RAM it should be plenty fast. The 13MP camera with f/2.0 and Optical Image Stabilization isn’t too shabby either. In fact, comparisons to the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S5 show it off to be a good shooter! The camera hardware button, something I LOVE on the Sony Xperia Z2, is a great touch.
But the first real differentiator? Free unlimited photo storage!
As for sound, the Amazon Fire Phone has dual speakers, Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and chips with tangle-free earbuds. Of course the Amazon Music service is a key part of the Fire Phone. Currently it has just a million songs but that will grow. And, of course, you can use other services on the phone like Spotify etc.
The second key differentiator comes in the form of customer support. “Where do you go for help on your phone?” They asked… To your phone of course. Yes, the phone has the Mayday feature that has been such a hit on the Kindle HDX. It is available 24/7 265 days a year and the wait is fifteen seconds or less. And, of course, it is free.
The third differentiator is Firefly. The Amazon Fire Phone has a dedicated hardware button and uses the phone’s camera to recognize books, DVDs, phone numbers and an assortment of codes. It does the audio recognition thing too! And… Get this… It can recognize television shows and movies. That’s pretty cool. And, of course, once something is recognized you can quickly and easily purchase it from… Amazon. In all it can recognize over 100,000,000 items. An SDK is available so developers can incorporate the functionality into their apps.
The fourth, and biggest differentiator, is Dynamic Perspective. It changes the view of a picture as you move the phone so your perspective remains the same no matter where you are in relation to the phone. It works with images, maps, the browser and more. The browser and ebooks also offer tilt-to-scroll similar to what we have seen Samsung do. Dynamic Perspective is only possible because there are additional cameras on the Amazon Fire Phone that track people’s heads.
Here’s a full rundown of the specs.
|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 and 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||Battery size: 2400mAh. Talk time: up to 22 hours; 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|
|Headphones||Premium, tangle-free headphones with remote and mic|
|Rating for hearing aids||M4, T4|
|SIM Card||Pre-installed Nano SIM card|
|Ports||Micro USB 2.0
|Warranty and Service||1-year Limited Warranty included. Use of Fire phone is subject to these terms|
|Included in the Box||Amazon Fire Phone with Fire OS 3.5.0
Premium headphones with remote and mic
Micro USB to USB charging cable
USB power adapter (5W)
It all sounds great, until you get to the fact that it is an AT&T exclusive, and an unsubsidized 32GB phone is $649. That makes it a non-starter for me.