Online retailer Amazon has announced its first smartphone. The new device is simply known as Fire - the same branding used to differentiate the company’s multimedia tablets from its eBook readers - and will launch next week on the AT&T network in the USA.
Fire will run Amazon’s own version of Android on a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor. It offers a 4.7-inch HD display, a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera, 4G connectivity and stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus virtual surround sound.
There are four cameras and four infrared LEDs built into the front of the Fire phone to offer 3D effects on some applications and the User Interface. It means the handset can respond to movements of the user’s head as well as their hands; this ‘Dynamic Perspective’ enables shoppers to look more closely at certain products and to play games that adjust the character’s viewpoint when the user looks round obstacles. It’s also possible to operate some features - such as scrolling online or turning eBook pages - by tilting the phone.
In addition, a new ‘Firefly’ feature can recognise products, music, films and text via the phone’s camera and microphone - making it easier to buy via Amazon’s web service.
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, said “Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand - instant access to Amazon’s vast content ecosystem and exclusive features like the Mayday button, ASAP [Advanced Streaming and Prediction], Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage, and more. The Firefly button lets you identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, artwork, and over 100 million items, including songs, movies, TV shows, and products - and take action in seconds. We invented a new sensor system called Dynamic Perspective that recognizes where a user’s head is relative to the device - we use it to offer customers a more immersive experience, one-handed navigation, and gestures that actually work. And this is only the beginning - the most powerful inventions are the ones that empower others to unleash their creativity - that’s why today we are launching the Dynamic Perspective SDK and the Firefly SDK - we can’t wait to see how developers surprise us.”
US pricing is $649 (£382) SIM-free for the version with 32GB memory (a 64GB model is also available) or from $199 (£117) with a two-year contract. There's currently no availability in other countries.