It had been rumored for sometime, and now it has finally happened. Yesterday at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Jeff Bezos revealed to the world that his company will now be entering the phone race.
The new device is called the Fire Phone (not to be confused with the phone in an elevator or building designated to call fire rescue), and it does exactly what you would expect from an Amazon phone: make it easier for you to buy things from Amazon.
One of its showcase features is named Firefly. Activated when the user holds down the camera button, the phone is designed to recognize whatever it is the user is photographing. The phone then takes its user to a screen with multiple options.
If the user is photographing a CD (remember CD’s?) , then the phone will then call to the screen slew of relevant apps: StubHub to sell tickets to an upcoming show, Spotify to stream the music, and of course, Amazon to sell the thing itself.
Never has it been easier to see a product at the store only to turn around and buy it online.
Another notable feature on the phone is its four forward facing cameras (one on each corner of the phone). This is used to give the user an experience similar to 3D. As the user shifts the phone, the picture shifts. It is also used to display certain information such as pinpoints on a Yelp map.
The phone will also support Amazon’s video chat service, Mayday. Users in need of tech support (or human contact) can call a live adviser to walk them through trouble regarding their device or an Amazon service. Though the user will be able to see the adviser, the adviser will not be able to see the user. This way, Amazon will not have to deal with customers mooning its employees, or worse.
Equipped with a 4.7-inch 720p display, a Qualcomm processor and 2 gigs of RAM, the phone is neither remarkably beautiful nor outrageously powerful. However, the 16 GB and 32 GB models cost $200 and $300 respectively with a two year contract under AT&T.
Because the phone is so lackluster, many wonder why Bezos didn’t just simply release the Firefly app on all platforms. I guess we’ll see how it performs when it’s released July 25th.