Breaking News: Amazon Reveals First Smartphone – the Fire Phone



/ 4 months ago
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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed Amazons first ever smartphone today at a private event in Seattle. It’s called the Fire Phone, sticking with the name from other devices in the Amazon family, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and HDX and the Fire TV Set-top box.

The phone is exclusive to AT&T (Guess we’ll be waiting a while to get it in the UK), and will cost $199 (£117) with a two-year contract for a 32GB device and $299 (£176) for a 64GB device. The phone on its own (No contract) will cost $650 (£383), which is common for high-end smartphones. Amazon’s product page indicates that it’s available for pre-order now, and will begin shipping to buyers on July 25. For a “limited time,” a full year of Amazon Prime membership is included with purchase.

The phone is packing some decent hardware. It comes with a 4.7-inch IPS display with 590 nits maximum brightness and a “HD” resolution, which usually means 720p but it could be higher, the exact resolution has not been confirmed yet. Amazon says the phone has been “optimized for one-handed use.” The phone has a rubberized frame, a glass back, anodized aluminum buttons and Gorilla Glass 3 which will protect the screen from scratches and knocks etc.

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The phone’s most-hyped capability, of course, is its motion-tracking screen—four cameras on the front of the device track your head as you move it around, along with infrared lights to make sure the feature works even in dark rooms. You can move and tilt the phone to shift the contents of the display (images, maps, and so on), subtly creating a glasses-free 3D effect that doesn’t rely on the user keeping their head or eyes in a particular position. The phone will also let you flip through images and scroll through Web pages by slightly tilting the device, rather than relying solely on finger input. A third-party SDK is available so that developers can add this “dynamic perspective” feature to their own apps.

Moving on to the inside of the phone, it’s packing a quad-core 2.2GHz SoC with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM, which means we’ll see either a Snapdragon 800 or 801 chip. It’s also got a 13MP camera with a f/2.0 five element lens and optical image stabilization. It also has a dedicated shutter button like the one found on Windows phones that will automatically open the camera app and take pictures for you.

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Amazon haven’t left it at CPUs and GPUs though, they have also focused on sound with the Fire Phone. The phone is coming with dual stereo speakers (not sure if they are front or rear facing) and include “tangle-free” earbuds that, like the name suggests, won’t tangle up.

With this being an Amazon phone, users who are also ‘Prime’ members will be able to access a whole load of Amazon features such as Amazon MP3, the Kindle bookstore and Prime Instant Video. Third-party apps such as Netflix and HBO Go will also be available to users, giving them even more access to content. The “Mayday” feature, found on the Kindle Fire HDX tablets, is also coming to the Fire Phone. This will offer 24-hours-a-day-seven-days-a-week tech support to customers who need it.

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Bezos also demoed a new feature called “Firefly” that can identify songs being played in a room, episodes of various TV shows, and art. Firefly can also recognize phone numbers, e-mail addresses, barcodes and QR codes, and other items, importing them into the phone and making it easier to contact people, without needing to do a lot of extraneous typing. These images are taken by the camera, sent to Amazon’s cloud, and sent back to the phone to save the phone’s processor and its battery life. Amazon has created a third-party SDK that developers can use to come up with their own uses for Firefly.

This phone looks like it’s got everything people need, it will be interesting to see how well it does in the global market and whether or not  it can compete with other major phone developers.

UPDATE: 

It has a 1280×720 resolution, giving it a density of 315PPI

The phone is  8.9mm (0.35 inches) thick and weighs 160 grams (5.64 ounces).

 It uses a 2,400mAh battery that Amazon says will deliver up to 11 hours of video playback, and it includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The Fire OS 3.5.0 operating system is a newer version of the Android-derived OS that powers the Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

Thank you to Arstechnica for supplying us with this information.

Images courtesy of Arstechnica.

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  • mr2k9

    $650 for 720p with 2400mAh? those motion tracking must be expensive..