Amazon announces Fire smartphone

Amazon unveiled the Fire smartphone Wednesday at an press event in Seattle.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO:

“Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand — instant access to Amazon’s vast content ecosystem and exclusive features like the Mayday button, ASAP, Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage and more.

“The Firefly button lets you identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, artwork and over 100 million items, including songs, movies, TV shows and products — and take action in seconds. We invented a new sensor system called Dynamic Perspective that recognizes where a user’s head is relative to the device — we use it to offer customers a more immersive experience, one-handed navigation, and gestures that actually work. And this is only the beginning — the most powerful inventions are the ones that empower others to unleash their creativity — that’s why  today we are launching the Dynamic Perspective SDK and the Firefly SDK — we can’t wait to see how developers surprise us.”

The Fire Phone features a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, 4.7-inch HD display with an ambient light sensor and Dynamic Image Contrast for better outdoor viewing, nine bands of LTE, four bands of GSM and five bands of UMTS for better voice coverage and faster data speeds, 802.11ac WiFi support, WiFi channel bonding, NFC and Bluetooth.

The Fire also features dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus for a virtual surround sound experience as well as a advanced imaging system with a custom-tuned 13MP rear-facing camera with backside illumination, LED flash, 5-element f/2.0 lens, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities.

Fire also includes a 2.1MP front-facing camera. Both front and rear-facing camera record 1080p HD video. Fire Phone customers can also automatically back up device settings, notes, bookmarks, messages and installed applications in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

Dynamic Perspective

Dynamic Perspective users four ultra-low power cameras and four infrared LEDs built into the Fire’s front face, a dedicated processor, real-time computer vision algorithms and a new high-performing and power-efficient graphics rendering engine. Dynamic Perspective features include:

  • One-handed gestures: Auto-scroll, tilt, swivel and peek for “quicker, easier navigation and entertainment experience.” For example, with auto-scroll, users can read a long web page or book without having to touch the screen; tilt in Amazon Music shows song lyrics; swivel reveals quick actions; peek in Maps shows layered information such as Yelp ratings and reviews.
  • Integration in apps and games: Dynamic Perspective enables “a new class of apps and games” that are more immersive, and make it quicker and easier for the user to access information. For example,peek to instantly see close-up front and back views of a dress in the Amazon Shopping app for Fire. In games like Lili, take on the character’s point-of-view and move your head to look around corners, obstacles, and other objects.
  • Enhanced Carousel: Stay productive with real-time updates and take action (triage email, find recent photos, access most visited websites, return missed calls, view appointments, etc.) right from the home screen. Developers can customize the contents of their dynamic app and how it responds to user actions. For example, Zillow’s app in the carousel shows property information based on the location, so customers can access search results on nearby homes from the carousel without having to launch the app. USA Today shows headlines most relevant to customers’ interest — for example, someone who frequents football in the Sports section will see those related headlines appear in the carousel.

Starting today, Amazon is introducing the Dynamic Perspective SDK that enables developers to “build new experiences” with this technology.

Firefly

Firefly combines Amazon’s catalog of physical and digital content with multiple image, text and audio recognition technologies to quickly identify web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million movies, TV episodes, songs and products. SImply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover helpful information and take action in seconds.

Firefly identifies printed text on signs, posters, magazines and business cards and allows you to make a call, send an email, save a contact, or go to the website without typing out long URLs or email addresses. Firefly recognizes movies and TV episodes, and uses IMDb for X-Ray to show actors, plot synopses and related content. You can also add titles to your watchlist to download or start watching immediately.

Firefly recognizes music and uses Amazon Music’s rich catalog to show information about the artist, play more songs by the artist, add them to your wishlist or download instantly to your Fire Phone. Developers, such as iHeartRadio and StubHub, used the SDK to build Firefly-enabled apps, so customers can create a new radio station based on the song or find concert tickets for the artist.

You can also access product details, add items to your wishlist or order on Amazon.

The Firefly SDK is available starting today so developers can “invent new ways” to use this technology. Later this year, Firefly will include artwork recognition, foreign language translation and wine label recognition powered by Vivino.

Amazon Exclusive Features

Fire seamlessly integrates Amazon’s digital ecosystem for instant access to over 33 million songs, apps, games, movies, TV  shows, books, audiobooks and magazines. Plus, Prime members get unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost with Prime Instant Video, over 500,000 books to borrow with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and the all-new Prime Music — unlimited streaming and download of more than a million songs and hundreds of expert-programmed playlists at no additional cost.

Mayday is available on 3G, 4G or WiFi by hitting the Mayday button in quick actions and an Amazon expert will appear via live video to coach you through any feature on the device. Amazon experts can draw on the screen, talk you through how to do a task, or do it for you — depending on what works best. Mayday is available 24-7-365 for free. Amazon’s Mayday average response time has been 9.75 seconds.

ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediciton) predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and prepares them for instant playback before you even hit play.

X-Ray helps you get more from books, music, movies and TV shows. Explore the bones of a book, including characters, ideas and background with a single tap on the screen; bring the power of IMDb right to Fire Phone for trivia on movies and TV shows. With X-Ray for Music, see synchronized lyrics display while you listen to your favorite song.

Second Screen lets you fling TV shows and movies from Fire Phone to Fire TV, PlayStation or other Miracast-enabled device. Second Screen turns your TV into the primary screen and frees up Fire Phone to provide playback controls and a customized display for X-Ray without leaving the TV show or movie you’re watching.

Fire owners also have free unlimited cloud storage of photos taken with the device, which is automatically backed up wirelessly and available across Amazon devices and Amazon’s Cloud Drive apps so you have access to those photos wherever, whenever.

Lastly, customers can take advantage of a limited time offer — buy Fire and get 12 months of Amazon Prime included for existing and new members.

Availability

The Amazon Fire Phone ships on July 25 and is available exclusively on AT&T. Starting today, customers can pre-order Fire on Amazon, AT&T (online and in-store). Fire Phone is available with 32GB of storage for $199 with a two-year contract or $0 down for $27.09 a month with AT&T’s Next 18 plan. Fire is also available for $299 with 64GB of storage or starting at $31.25 a month with AT&T’s Next 18 plan.

Source: Amazon

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