Amazon announces Fire Phone

Douglas Soltys

June 18, 2014 1:59 pm

At a press event today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the Fire Phone, Amazon’s first smartphone.

The Fire Phone will feature a 4.7” IPS LCD HD display, quad-core 2.2GHz processor, Adreno 330 graphics processor, and 2GB of RAM.

The Fire Phone also features a 13MP rear-facing camera, with f/2.0 five element lens and optical image stabilization. The body of the Fire Phone contains a dedicated camera shutter button, to launch the phone’s camera app. Amazon is also offering free unlimited photo storage to Fire Phone users via its Amazon Cloud Drive service.

The Fire Phone will be exclusive to AT&T for $199.99 on a two-year contract. Friend of the blog Al Sacco has pointed out that Fire Phone is also for sale on Amazon (duh), at $649 (32GB) or $749 (64GB) without contract, shipping July 25 with 12 months of Amazon Prime (or a 12 month discount if you are already a Prime subscriber. No word yet on Canadian carrier availability or if Amazon will ship to Canada, but so far it doesn’t look good.

In addition to photos, Amazon is also making video a priority for the Fire Phone. The Fire Phone will support Amazon’s Second Screen and X-Ray features, allowing you to ‘fling’ video from your phone to your Amazon TV, or view details on the video you’re watching, respectively. The Fire Phone also supports ASAP, designed to predict video you you might want to stream and then pre-cache it for speedy viewing.

Amazon Fire Phone

One amazing new service launching with the Fire Phone is ‘Firefly’, designed to auto-recognize what is seen through the Fire Phone’s camera lens. Firefly can recognize over 100 million items, including playing music or television shows. What is scanned in Firefly is saved in a history, which can be tapped for immediate purchase.

Amazon has released a 3rd party SDK for developers to build their software into Firefly. For example, the MyFitnessPal app will be able to provide nutritional information on the food you point at it.

Amazon Fire Phone Firefly

The Fire Phone is designed at an OS level to provide ‘Dynamic Perspective’ – essentially a 3D interface allowing you to view objects presented from all angles. Amazon demonstrated some beautiful looking lock screens, as well as a maps app with a 3D Empire State building.

The Fire Phone will utilize its accelerometer as a navigation tool, allowing you to tilt the Fire Phone to scroll through text, increase and reduce the size of presented images, or look around levels in video game platformers.

Amazon Fire Phone

Similar to Amazon’s tablets, the Fire Phone will feature a standard app carousel on the home screen. However, swiping through these apps will preview relevant information for each (i.e. recent emails while on the email app). Amazon is calling this process “active widgets underneath the hero icons.”

The Fire Phone also features four front-facing cameras in addition to the 13MP rear-facing camera. Fire Phone will use its front-facing cameras to know where the user’s head is in real time, at all times. Each of these front-facing camera features a 120 degree field of view to provide “Z-depth” (i.e., how far a face is away from the phone). The Fire Phone will use the best two images at any time from each camera. Each camera also features an infrared light, allowing for “good stereo images in any lighting.”

In addition to the FireFly SDK, Amazon has also released an SDK for developers to take advantage of Dynamic Perspective in their apps.

One neat feature within the Fire Phone’s OS is the ability to set a specific time for the phone to be silent. Perfect for when you’re about to sit down to a movie or a dinner date.

  • DL1119

    solid.

  • alphs22

    Looks good so far. Waiting for price.

    • Blazed04

      Waiting for the price that’s already indicated in the article?

    • alphs22

      Article was updated as things were announced. Price wasn’t there when I posted.

    • AppleBerrySandwich

      $650 – LOL. Epic fail.

    • ddd

      How is this an “Epic fail”?

      Just because it isn’t the price of a Nexus?

    • Gohy

      It’s a fail because it is in the same price range as the current high end android phones (HTC M8, G3, GS5) and the iphone.

      Amazon typically sold their hardware at/below cost and recouped the cost by selling you stuff. Look at the Kindle and Kindle fire.This is basically a Amazon cash register designed to sell you Amazon goods/services.

  • K Diddle

    Pepper your angus for Apple lawsuits there Amazon… your phone is a rectangle with rounded corners… you know that they own that shape… geez…

    • HelloCDN

      Looks like you’ve got a bit of pepper on your angus already…

    • alphs22

      Give it up guys the joke ran dry 2 years ago.

    • Acer12345

      …But the lawsuit is still ongoing.

  • Michael H

    Built in rubber “bumper” frame is genius!

  • Bri Bru

    Love the camera shutter button on phones. 5.0″ would’ve been better though imo. I want to see more pictures!

    • cartfan88

      Many people are complaining relentlessly of the 5″ and above phones. 4.7 might be the sweet spot right now. Not too big, not too small.

    • Nadefrenzy

      I think 5″ is the sweet spot. Anything bigger is just too big for the mainstream market.

    • cartfan88

      Please give them the strength to hold their vegan latte in one hand and this large screened smart phone in the other. Is that so much to ask?

    • ddd

      Nah, I feel 4.7″ is the sweet spot.

    • Nadefrenzy

      I have small hands too, but switching from my S2 (thought it was big at the time) to the Note 2/3 has been the best decision I’ve made.

    • Bri Bru

      My Nexus 4 is 4.6″ and I wish I had a bigger screen phone

    • Nadefrenzy

      4.7″

    • Garrett Cooper

      Everyone has their own preference. For me, my old Nexus 4 was almost perfect. Minimize the bezel with current screen tech and the N4 would have been the perfect phone. I find my N5 on the verge of too big. I might have actually gone back to the N4 had I not broken the screen. Then again maybe not, love my N5 battery life, and the camera is a fair bit better.

      For me, a high end 4.5-4.7″ would be perfect.

    • Bri Bru

      I get jealous when I see my friend’s GS5.
      The screen is large and the phone doesn’t seem too big either.
      But anything over 5.2″ is too big for my taste.

    • Garrett Cooper

      I just find the S5, along with most of the new phones is just a bit big for one handed use. It makes it difficult to get to the top left of the screen, and a stretch to pull down the notification bar.

  • MrGreen72

    Will this even be available in Canada?

    • HelloCDN

      What’s the point? Amazon services are absent here, and without them this phone is useless.

    • MrGreen72

      The S3 I have doesn’t have Amazon services either and I wouldn’t call it useless…

    • Nexzen

      Why would a s3 have amazon services?

    • bainer04

      I think he is trying to say S3 isn’t useless with the absence of Amazon services which wouldn’t make sense since the reply was about the fire phone being useless without the featured Amazon services for this Amazon phone.

    • Anonymous501

      I’m guessing the poster was saying you don’t need amazon services to make a phone useful. I am skeptical though. If it were an Android phone maybe it would be a lost cost android phone, but it’s running it’s own OS, so I’m with you….. It does seem to be after people who want to use amazon for everything. It’s too bad it didn’t use android, might of made for a quality lower cost phone?

    • HelloCDN

      So how is it different from what’s already available on the market then?

    • Salinger

      A big part of the selling point of this phone (like the Kindle Fire) is access to Amazon’s digital media library and streaming for members of Amazon Prime; none of which is available in Canada.

      While sure, you could buy this phone and use it in Canada, the major differentiators that make this phone unique are completely absent when used in Canada, thereby making a plethora of other phones far more attractive and better value.

  • Buzz88

    What? No 3D display and cameras…

  • 5Gs

    I hope they have front cam as well. Don’t look bad at all but sounds like too much control over privacy.

  • coné

    Huevos!!!

  • OgtheDim

    Firefly will always be what Det. Ron Harris did after Barney Miller, and what Castle did before Castle.

    I suppose its a better name then FireCatcher, which would have been really close to something rude if you don’t enunciate properly.

    • TheSotSays

      I believe the feature allowing the ability to set a specific time for the phone to be silent is an excellent one but I know their marketing people were shocked to find something like you roaming about, arbitrarily bent and determined to criticise and ridicule the name of the thing.

  • beyond

    terrible name

  • alphs22

    $199 on a 2 year AT&T contract.

    • rgl168

      $199 outright no-contract would be more like it.

  • Jeff Brassard

    Great big meh!!

  • Collin dubya

    1. screen is too small
    2. no mention of resolution of the display
    3. 2gb ram,

    this hardly seems like a flagship device, perhaps if it was released last year.

  • Pier-Alexandre

    Really bad pricing strategy. Why would anybody pay 700$ for an Amazon phone when you can buy a HTC one, galaxy s5, LG g3 for the same price. Having Amazon’s version of Android is far from being a step up in my opinion. Rather simply ad their apps…

    • JTon

      I think you’re putting too much weight on branding alone. Let’s wait and see how awesome the phone is first. In a year people might be saying the exact opposite… why would you buy an HTC One, Galaxy S5 or LG G3 when you could buy the amazon phone for the same price

    • Pier-Alexandre

      Simply a question of available apps. Why would you be stucked with the amazon ecosystem when you could have both the amazon store and the google play store on every other android phone… It’s not a question of branding. It is simply that I know get the point of having an “android” if what you want is a closed ecosystem…

    • Gohy

      ^ Exactly this. Don’t forget without the google services you can’t get things like Google Maps, GMail or Google Play store.

  • lusky3

    My guess is it’s just an Android fork. Which means a chance modders will get Android running on it (don’t know how that would affect the 3D features, probably the main reason the OS fork). Time will tell.

  • gommer strike

    And it’s coming to Canada, right Amazon?

  • Nexzen

    Bad pricing. They needed a Nexus like price.

  • MatroXX

    I’ll wait for the FIRE sale!

  • AGoodM8

    $649 entry-level off contract price? That’s just not good enough. Too bad, I was hopeful Amazon would come up with something good. It’s hardly even an upgrade over the 16 GB Nexus 4 I got for $249 off contract last September. 4.7″ screen with custom OS is a deal breaker at this price point.

  • EveryonesOpinion

    Firefly sounds like Google Goggles

    • Stephen_81

      with an actual purchasing ecosystem tied to it. I am not an Amazon fan at all avoiding them in almost every way but they just blew up the ecosystem argument.

      Oh you have 1 million apps? we’ve got 1 app that connects you to 10 million products BOOM #mindblown etc etc etc.

  • danbob999

    Fail.
    Nothing new and too expensive.

  • George

    This is going to have the same impact as the Moto X. Looks promising, but way too expensive outright. Should’ve probably went for $0 on contract, $400 unlocked. I can’t imagine people taking the 2 year plunge on a “new” OS.

  • Stephen_81

    I think they botched up their pricing strategy, With FireFly app they want to get this into as many peoples hands as possible, they just pulled a BlackBerry and are trying to launch a new product into a mature space at a high pricepoint.

    It doesn’t work out.

    If Amazon Launched the FireFly phone for $399 on off contract and let AT&T set their contract price and include that 1 year of Prime, the phone gets attractive, they are pushing a buy from us everywhere business model which takes adverting/ data mining to a whole new level forget hardware margins and chance the software and retail sales.

  • Andrew English

    This is something WIND should pickup and carry! :)

    • Nexzen

      Its not even going to come to Canada. We barely have an amazon ecosystem here.

    • AppleBerrySandwich

      Agreed. Kindle Fire is about the last tablet I would ever buy.
      Way better off with a Nexus or Moto phone off contract.

  • jackjiarocks

    COMING TO CANADA EXCLUSIVELY TO ROGGGGGGGGERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRS

    AHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

  • jay

    Wow just don’t bring any phone with that price