Amazon unveiled a their first smartphone today – the Amazon Fire Phone starting at $200 with a 2-year contract with AT&T. Off-contract it is $650 for the 32GB base model and $750 for the 64GB model. The price includes 1 year of Amazon Prime at no extra cost for both new and current subscribers. You can pre-order now, but the phone will not be available until July 25.
I think that it is unfortunate that it is only available on AT&T when there are much better mobile phone providers out there.
The design of Amazon’s phone is simple and understated, very similar to their Kindle products. It has a physical button on the side to access the camera and firefly apps.
Amazon’s Firefly technology is essentially a way for you phone to recognize just about anything in your environment – text including phone numbers and email addresses, bar codes, and “70 million” products that can be discovered just by pointing the phone’s camera at the object. It can also use the microphone to listen for music, movies, and TV shows and provide you information about them from sources like Amazon music and IMDB. It is pretty easy to see that Amazon created this feature as the ultimate price comparison app – you see or hear something around you and want to know how much it costs on Amazon – just hit the Firefly button, point your phone at the product and you can see the price on Amazon and buy it immediately.
This feature was widely called “3D” in leaks prior to the event today, but its less 3D and more motion controlled actions (like opening up menus) and navigation such as scrolling through a web page or book simply by tilting the phone. There are some visual effects that can change the perspective of an image, map, or game just by moving the device. All of this is accomplished with motion sensors and 4 special front facing cameras that constantly track the position of your face.
The Main Camera
The Amazon Fire Phone has what looks like a pretty nice camera (we will see when it ships next month) with a 13 megapixel sensor, optical image stabilization, a wider lens than many smartphones at f/2.0 to let in more light, and an “intelligent HDR” system that lets you know when conditions are best for HDR mode.
I am lumping these features together because they are already available on other Amazon Kindle products. They include, the live tech support or customer service called Mayday, the TV and movie information service powered by IMDB called X-ray, Amazon Music, Amazon Instant Video, Audible, and all the other Amazon services and features that are currently available on Kindle devices.
Fire Phone Specifications
|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 s
|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)
Quick Start Guide
Amazon’s first smartphone has decent mid-range specs and some interesting features, but I do not know if the motion controlled features and Amazon’s services can can match all of the Android rivals out there, especially when you can get an unlocked Nexus 5 for nearly half the cost. I am an Amazon Prime customer, but to me $650 is too expensive for what you get. However, if you are already locked in to AT&T and are an Amazon Prime member (or want to try it out for a year) and plan to buy this phone, let me know what made you decide to purchase this over the competition.