Will Verduzco · Jun 18, 2014 at 05:00 pm

Amazon Fire Phone Unveiled, Forums Added

For some time now, we’ve heard rumors suggesting that Amazon was planning on releasing an Android-based smartphone. After many months of rumors, leaks, and hints, we finally have Amazon’s entry into the smartphone world. Earlier today, Amazon officially unveiled the Amazon Fire Phone, which will make its way to consumer hands on July 25, starting at $199 on-contract.

From the outset, Amazon worked hard to differentiate the Fire Phone from the sea of other Android smartphones. It hopes to accomplish this goal with the help of a number of innovative technologies including Dynamic Perspective, Firefly technology, Mayday, and Amazon Prime integration.

Dynamic Perspective

Through the use of a custom-designed sensor array, the Fire Phone is able to respond to the way in which you hold, look at, and move your phone. This allows developers to create immersive games and apps that take user position into account for altered viewpoints and more. There are also various shortcuts and gestures enabled by this sensor array such as tilting to navigate through menus, swiveling to access notifications, “peek” to only show relevant data when necessary, and one-handed scrolling. This functionality is even available in absence of light due to infrared illumination designed to aid the four front-facing dynamic perspective sensors.

Firefly Technology

No, not THAT Firefly. Rather, Amazon’s Firefly technology gives you a single hardware button on the side of the phone that uses the camera and other sensors to instantly identify and perform relevant tasks on contact information, playing media, and more. At this point, Firefly seems like Amazon’s answer to a variety of Google products such as Google Goggles, Google Sound Search, the now defunct Google Shopper, and more.

Mayday

Finally, the Fire Phone brings Mayday technology for live, on-device tech support with an Amazon representative. This feature, although clearly not intended for readers of this site, will help new users obtain easy answers to a number of problems by having a live “co-pilot” on screen. As promised by Amazon, this service will result in “help in 15 seconds or less,” without an appointment or end user hassle.

Hardware Specifications

In order to power all of these ambitious features, Amazon has given the Fire Phone a fairly beefy set of hardware specifications, (mostly) in line of what we’ve come to expect from a modern flagship device. For starters, the phone is powered by a 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, which is backed by 2 GB of RAM. This then feeds a 4.7″ 720p display that comes out to 315 ppi. The phone runs on Fire OS 3.5.0, which is a very highly skinned version of Android, and it packs plenty of connectivity options including pentaband 3G, 9-band LTE, and support for carrier aggregation for greater speed. The camera array in addition to its four perspective sensors is also formidable, thanks to its 2.1 MP front-facing camera and 13 MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization. All of this is then housed in a device that measures in at 8.9mm thick and weighs 160 grams.

Does the newly released Fire Phone have what it takes to be your next smartphone? Are you firmly in the Amazon ecosystem, and if not, does this make you want to partake? Let us know in the comments below and then head over to the newly created Amazon Fire Phone forums to get started.


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Will Verduzco

willverduzco is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Will Verduzco is the Portal Administrator for the XDA-Developers Portal. He has been addicted to mobile technology since the HTC Wizard. But starting with the Nexus One, his gadget love affair shifted to Google's little green robot. He is also a Johns Hopkins University graduate in neuroscience and is now currently studying to become a physician. View willverduzco's posts and articles here.
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