Amazon just announced an all-around great device, called the Fire Phone
, which coincidentally happens to be its first smartphone, too. It pulled out all the stop, equipping the firebreather with a bright, 590-nits IPS-LCD display, peppy Snapdragon 800, 2 GB of RAM, 13 MP OIS camera, and a dual stereo speaker system.
Besides the stellar hardware specifications, Amazon has thrown in all the music, movies, TV series and reading apps you can think about, tying it up in an ecosystem of its own. Moreover, there's a new service called Firefly, which can recognize over a 100 million objects - from songs, through dishwasher soaps, to phone numbers on a poster, and find them at the lowest price, or throw more info about them at you. Here's the scoop on all the new features in the new and fiery Amazon handset, starting with the most impressive thingies.
Amazon Fire Phone - all the new features
Amazon Fire Phone - all the new features
1. 3D-like Dynamic Perspective sensor system
The Fire phone follows the location of your eyes and head numerous times per second, and adjusts the interface accordingly, giving perspective to the typical flat 2D images you see on a regular handset. This is done by four wide-angle view front cameras with infrared lights, so definitely the most innovative feature in Amazon's Fire handset. The invisible infrared illumination is combined with the gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor in a Dynamic Perspective sensor system. These can be used for touchless interface navigation, scrolling, or even gaming, too.
Put simply, Firefly is a super-powered engine that uses your Amazon Fire Phone's rear camera in order to recognize over 100 million items -- from TV shows you're looking at, through music you're listening to, down to household items like a jar of Nutella. And, you guessed it, all of it is interconnected with Amazon's own massive database of products available online, making this the ultimate "I saw, I liked, I bought" service.
The list of recognizable items goes on, though. A built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) engine allows the Fire Phone to scan text and numbers, allowing you to quickly place calls, for example. This isn't groundbreaking, but what Amazon showed on stage was mostly impressive, and we definitely were surprised by the speed at which Firefly recognized not just characters, but a plethora of items, including paintings, books, and more. And, of course, Firefly dutifully keeps a history of every item you scanned, just in case impulse buying is not quite your thing.
3. Gesture interface
Tilt the phone to browse through pictures, tracks, menu options, or scroll in the browser - the Fire is the ultimate phone for all those football binge nights laced with KFC buckets and finger grease. The Dynamic Perspective sensor system can be used for touchless interface navigation and unique gaming perspective as well.
4. 590-nits 4.7" IPS-LCD display
While the resolution leaves something to be desired at 720p, the 4.7" display seems to be given a great thought where it matters most - outdoor visibility. Besides a high 590 nits of peak brightness, it also has a circular polarizer layer built in, like Nokia's ClearBlack technology, which should mean great contrast and good visibility even under direct sunlight.
5. Premium design with metal elements
Aluminum buttons, injection-molded steel connectors, metallic accents, rubber frame and soft grip coating - the Amazon Fire phone might be bordering on the chubby side with its 9mm girth, but it's due to one solid and premium build.
6. 13 MP OIS camera
Your attention might have been focused on the four infrared cameras at the front that make the Dynamic Perspective work, but on the back we have one inconspicuous 13 MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture and optically-stabilized lens, too.
7. Dual stereo speakers
Amazon was kind enough to add side-mounted stereo speakers on the Fire phone, making one of the only handful of devices sporting this feature.
8. Flat-cable magnetic earpods
Amazon ships in the Fire's box in-ear headphones with flat cables for tangle-free experience. The pods are magnetic, too, so the possibility for tying them in a knot decreases even further.
9. Free unlimited photo storage
Yep, Jeff Bezos ties you in with unlimited cloud storage for your photos on Amazon's world-class server farms, all for free. How cool is that?
10. Free Amazon Prime membership for a year
Those early adopters will be getting 12-months of the exclusive Amazon Prime service for free, including existing Prime customer, which will get a year more.
11. HERE Maps
Using Nokia's HERE mapping solution for navigation, Amazon's Fire phone users might not be shedding tears after Google Maps after all, though the offline navigation p[tion will likely still be reserved for Microsoft phones only.
12. Amazon exclusive features
From the Mayday 15-second customer service, through services like ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, to a smorgasbord of the most famous media apps like Netflix, HBOGo or iHeartRadio, Amazon ties you into its own ecosystem with a bunch of freebies thrown your way.