This phone is on fire: Amazon Fire Phone, the retailer's first smartphone, goes official


The Amazon Fire Phone that we've been hearing about for so long is real: Amazon chief executive just unveiled the phone, a 4.7" device with outstanding display with great outdoor visibility, a 2.2GHz quad-core chip, and a 13-megapixel f/2.0 optical image stabilized camera that Amazon was quick to point out outdoes the Apple iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5.


The most notable feature of the Amazon Fire Phone, however, is the much rumored 3D effect, achieved with four front-facing infra-red cameras that track your head's position towards the device. Why four? Amazon figured out that people would often cover two of the cameras with their fingers, so instead of going with just two, it opted for four for safety. The company can even tell between a picture of a head and a real head, and it's built this expertise after extensive testing.

The achieved 3D-esque effect is not so strong to be dizzying - it's a bit like the parallax effect we've seen on iOS 8, and it's implemented all throughout, from the wallpaper to the menus and even games can use via an SDK. The cameras can also be used for features like automatic scrolling, so you can read without having to touch the display.

The Amazon Fire Phone also features dual stereo speakers, the hallmark feature of phones like the HTC One (M8) and Sony Xperia Z2, so you can expect above average sound quality.

Amazon adds its own unique services: Mayday and Firefly

Despite having top-notch specs, however, the Amazon Fire is not just about the technical details: Amazon has packed it with a few nice tricks. First, the Mayday customer support feature that allows you to connect with an Amazon representative to help you with any issue you might have is on board the Fire phone. Mayday has average response times of just 9.75 seconds, so you not only get customer service, but you get it without having to wait for tens of minutes. 

The second unique feature is something brand new called Firefly: it automatically recognizes what the camera is looking at - you can identify a book (any text, really, even on an image), a DVD, a QR code, plus it even listens to and can recognize songs. 

Amazon claims that you can recognize over 1,000,000 items with Firefly, and considers this feature so crucial to the experience that you even have a dedicated button for it on the left - click it, and the app starts.

Amazon Fire Phone: price, release date and carrier availability

The Amazon Fire Phone price is set at $199.99 with a two-year contract on AT&T. The Fire Phone release date is July 25th. It will be an AT&T-exclusive (at least in the beginning), so don't expect to see it on other carriers soon. Note that it's the 32GB model that sells for $199.99, while for the same price most other flagships offer 16 gigs of storage. The 64GB model will also sell with a 2-year contract on AT&T at a price of $299.99.

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