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Amazon unveils 3D 'Fire' phone

Last updated on: June 19, 2014 10:55 IST

Amazon unveils 3D 'Fire' phone

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Deepa Seetharaman

Amazon.com Inc's new cellphone seeks to offer shoppers instant gratification by recognizing thousands of products, television shows and songs and allowing users to immediately buy them - on the e-commerce giant's own site, of course. 

The smartphone, which joins Amazon's "Fire" lineup of tablets and streaming devices, aims to stand out in a crowded field dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

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Image: Amazon's 3D 'Fire' phone
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

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It represents an attempt to extend the company's dominance of online commerce into mobile phones, which are increasingly being used to buy items and view video. 

But it's unclear how the phone's "Firefly" image- and audio-recognition feature or its much-touted 3D-perspectives will work in the real world, or how fickle consumers may respond to Amazon's latest bid to eliminate barriers to its core online retail business. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Amazon

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Amazon unveils 3D 'Fire' phone

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Users can press a button and point the phone at an object such as a can of soup or work of art, or direct it to listen to a song.

If the device recognizes it, the user can buy it on Amazon, if it's sold there.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Amazon

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Amazon unveils 3D 'Fire' phone

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The technology, which works by matching images of items or songs to Amazon's database of over 100 million items, will be opened to app-developers for use, an approach that rivals Apple and Google have taken with their own mobile software. 

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, in a rare media appearance in Seattle, demonstrated three-dimensional display features on the 4.7-inch phone, such as greater depth perception in maps and pictures. 

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Image: Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.
Photographs: Reuters

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Four front-facing cameras track head movements and shift perspectives depending on a user's activity. Users can scroll through screens by tilting or swiveling the phone.

"One of the things that Amazon tried to do with this phone is reduce the amount of activity and input that users have to do to get results," said Dave Cotter, chief executive of SquareHub, an app that helps families share photos and other information.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Amazon

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Amazon unveils 3D 'Fire' phone

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"Instead of clicking a whole bunch of stuff, you hold the phone and it does things for you," said the former Amazon executive, who got his first peek at the phone more than two months ago. 

Shares of Amazon climbed 2.7 percent to $334.38 on Wednesday. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Amazon
Tags: Amazon

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Amazon unveils 3D 'Fire' phone

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Still, the smartphone represents unfamiliar territory for Amazon.

Apple and Samsung now dominate the market, having pushed names like Motorola and Nokia to the sidelines. 

Some may balk at the price. Industry insiders had expected the Fire phone to be far cheaper than iPhones or Galaxy devices, given Amazon sold its Fire tablets at cost.

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Image: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shows off the 3D features of his company's new Fire smartphone at a news conference in Seattle, Washington
Photographs: Jason Redmond/Reuters

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Amazon is selling the Fire phone for $649 contract-free. From July 25, a 32-GB version will go for $199.99 with a contract on AT&T Inc.

Those prices are comparable to the iPhone 5C's, though it has superior displays and other features. 

To sweeten the deal, Amazon offered 12 months of membership to Prime, its two-day delivery and streaming service.

 


Photographs: Courtesy, Amazon
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  Specifications
Size5.5" x 2.6" x 0.35" (139.2mm x 66.5mm x 8.9mm)
Weight 5.64 ounces (160 grams)  
Processor2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM
Display 4.7" HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi,
590 cd/m2 brightness (typical), 1000:1 contrast ratio (typical)  
Cameras 13 MP rear-facing camera, multi-frame HDR, auto focus, optical image stabilization,
f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens, LED flash 2.1 MP front-facing camera  
OS Fire OS 3.5.0  
Storage 32 GB or 64 GB  
Cloud Storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content, and photos taken with Fire phone  
Battery Battery size: 2400mAh. Talk time: up to 22 hours; standby time: up to 285 hours.
Video playback: up to 11 hours; audio playback: up to 65 hours.  
Video recording 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps (front- and rear-facing cameras)  
Audio playbackDual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio processing
TV and VideoSupports screen mirroring and Second Screen 
Content formats supportedAudio: Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), non-DRM AAC, MP3,
MIDI, OGG, PCM/WAVE, AAC LC/ELD, HE-AAC (v1 & v2), AMR-NB, AMR-WB,
AMR-WB+, Audible Enhanced format (AAX);
Video: MPEG4, VP8, H.264/MPEG4/AVC,MPEG4 SP, H.263,AVI,HDCP2.x, PlayReady DRM;
Images: JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, GIF87a,GIF89a;
Viewable docs: PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, DOC, DOCX, Kindle (AZW), KF8, TXT
SensorsDynamic Perspective sensor system with invisible infrared illumination,
gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
LocationGPS, Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi/Cellular location, and Digital compass 
Cellular

UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz), Quad-band GSM/EDGE
(850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 9 bands of LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 20), supports carrier aggregation

Connectivity802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, up to 300 Mbps with channel bonding; Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology; NFC enabled
HeadphonesPremium, tangle-free headphones with remote and mic 
Rating for hearing aids

M4, T4

SIM Card

Pre-installed Nano SIM card

PortsMicro USB 2.0
3.5mm headphone
Warranty and Service1-year Limited Warranty included. Use of Fire phone is subject to these terms
Included in the Box

Amazon Fire Phone with Fire OS 3.5.0
Premium headphones with remote and mic
Micro USB to USB charging cable
USB power adapter (5W)
Quick Start Guide


Photographs: Courtesy, Amazon
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