Amazon has just announced the Fire Phone at a press event in Seattle.
The new smartphone features a 4.7-inch IPS LCD HD display (with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi), Gorilla Glass screen, 590 nits brightness for outdoor use, quad-core 2.2GHz processor, Adreno 330 graphics processor, 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE, 13 MP rear-facing camera with f/2.0 lens and optical image stabilisation, durable rubberised frame, and injection-molded steel connectors for a "tight and precise" fit.
Amazon is also showing off the phone's dual-stereo speakers with Dolby virtual surround. And magnetic earbuds. The earbuds are black and have flat and "tangle-free" cables. Craziness.
Moving on to content, Amazon is repeating the same tune it sung at the Amazon Fire TV launch event earlier this year. The company wants consumers to know that Amazon devices are a one-stop shop sort of thing. They offer movies, games, apps, and music from everyone. For instance, Fire Phone will not only feature Amazon Prime Music but also rival apps like Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.
Fire Phone will also have access to the Kindle Store and the company's immersion reading and whispersync features that enable easy transition between Audible Audiobooks and Kindle ebooks.
Now we're getting into software features.
The Fire Phone will include a Second Screen option that lets you send videos to streaming devices like the Fire TV, and Amazon's ASAP predictive caching for tailored content recommendations. It'll also feature Amazon's X-Ray technology. It provides useful details on the video you're watching. You'll further have unlimited storage of photos in Amazon Cloud Drive at no extra cost.
Amazon said the Fire Phone will also include MayDay, Amazon's assistance guide feature that works on Wi-Fi or cellular. If you don't know how to do something in Settings, or any other imaginable thing, simply use MayDay. It responds in 15 seconds or less. MayDay is available in the quick actions pull-down menu from the top of the screen.
A new software feature called Firefly is also being introduced. It can recognise everything from phone numbers to movies and books - all through your phone's camera. Firefly basically allows you to buy things from Amazon, instantly. Point your Fire Phone camera at a physical copy of FIFA 14, for instance, and Firefly will serve up a product listing.
If Firefly views a CD, you will promptly hear a song from that CD play through Amazon Prime Music or another music app. Firefly can even listen to a show and let you see that scene again through Amazon. Other Firefly features include the ability to recognise art, phone numbers on billboards, etc. It can even bring up related Wikipedia pages. Firefly is capable of detecting more than 100 million items, according to Amazon.
But that's not all: Firefly has a dedicated button on the side of Fire Phone. Other controls on the side of the phone include volume and camera.
And finally, Amazon has debuted Recency Carousel. It's an app-meets-widgets area that shows notifications, previews, and useful information beneath your apps. You can also access an app grid that shows apps stored on your device or in the cloud. You can pin stuff next to apps within the grid, like web pages.
Dynamic 3D Perspective
And here's where we get to the 3D bit.
Amazon is talking about "Dynamic Perspective". It allows the phone to construct 3D images at 60 frames per second. The feature relies on multiple front-facing cameras and software. Amazon showed off very cool perspective effects on the lock screen, the ability to 3D render buildings like the Empire State Building on a map, and a way for you to tilt-to-scroll through web pages and ebooks.
You can also tilt in the Calendar app to see quick responses or tilt in messages to send quick photo replies. Speaking of photos, Fire Phone will let you set a quick-to-access photo album from the lock screen.
Amazon said the Fire Phone has four cameras. It allows for a very-wide field of view and depth perception. Specifically, they are special cameras with a 120-degree field of view. And they feature infrared. That means Dynamic Perspective will work in the dark.
The Fire Phone is also "really good at tracking faces, finding heads", according to Amazon. The company captured millions of images of people's faces over the last couple of years in order to train the Dynamic Perspective software.
The reason? So Fire Phone will know where your face is...and where you're looking at all times.
Amazon Fire Phone is initially exclusive to AT&T. You can pre-order starting today. It will release on 25 July. The standard 32GB model costs $199 on contract or $27 per month through AT&T Next. That price includes 12 months of Amazon Prime.
Looking at Amazon's hardware patterns, the Fire Phone will likely become available in the UK and Europe within a year after the US launch. That hasn't been confirmed, though we have contacted the company for details on global availability and pricing and hope to update soon.
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