Amazon enters smartphone war with launch of 3D ‘Fire Phone’
New York: In a first for an e-commerce firm, world’s largest online retailer Amazon has joined the over USD 150 billion global war with the unveiling of its first smartphone – Fire Phone – that will compete with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S devices in the global markets.
The US-based firm’s handset has a new feature called ‘Firefly’, which can identify things like books, games, CDs etc by pointing camera at them. It can also capture songs or TV programmes and give the user options to purchase them.
Besides, the phone will also have cloud storage, Amazon Web Services, for photos and also includes free downloading of over a million songs.
The handset, which has been in development for the last few years, has finally seen the light of day with the launch event in Seattle late last night.
The device has a 4.7-inch screen, quadcore 2.2 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 13-megapixel rear and 2.1MP front camera and photo storage in cloud. The 32GB version will be available for USD 199 with a two-year contract, while the 64GB model will be priced at USD 299 with a two-year contract.
The smartphone will start shipping from July 25, available exclusively in partnership with telecom partner AT&T. No plans of launch in other countries were disclosed. Amazon connects the device to its expansive online store. For example, if the user clicks a photo of a book title, the device will show where they can buy it. Similarly, if they are listening to a song playing in the background, it will direct them to that tune on Amazon.
The Firefly feature also lets users snap bar codes, phone numbers and more. Though the screen is smaller than the popular five-inch devices and phablets (six-inch), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos termed the screen size ideal for one-handed use.
“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, Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage, and more,” Bezos, who founded Amazon in 1994, said.
The Firefly button lets users 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.
The phone is also equipped with a new sensor system – Dynamic Perspective – that recognises where a user’s head is relative to the device. By adding a unique 3D feature, this helps in offering more and more immersive experience to users. Amazon started working on this feature about four years ago.