Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, recently announced the launch of the newest entrant in the smartphone market – the Amazon Fire phone. This Techspirited article takes a closer look at some of its really cool features that makes it different from the rest of the Android phones.
What’s new in the Amazon Fire phone?
It comes with a first of its kind 3D UI, visual search, and a personal support service.
The much-awaited smartphone from Amazon is now official. Amazon Fire phone is the first smartphone to be designed by the e-commerce giant. It has been generating rumors for quite a few months, and obviously, we had high expectations from it. The main USP of this phone is its 3D display, and a host of other new software features.
Before you go ahead, and make any impression about the phone, please note that it runs on Amazon Fire OS v3.5 and not on Google Android OS. Now, let’s take a closer look at the features and specifications of the Amazon Fire phone. The Fire phone has a lot of amazing features which can completely change the way we use our smartphones. So, let’s start and check out the build and construction of the phone.
The front and back sides of the phone are made up of rubber, and it has a layer of Gorilla Glass 3 on the front. The glass not only gives the phone a premium look, but is also resistant to scratches. It graces a 4.7-inch HD LCD having a pixel density of 315 ppi. The phone is 8.9 mm thick, and we believe that one shouldn’t have any problem while holding the phone. It tips the scale at 160 g, so it’s not super light. We are happy to see that Amazon didn’t give it a plastic finish.
Fire Phone Specifications
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 800|
|CPU||Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400|
|Storage||32/64 GB internal storage|
|Screen||4.7″ HD LCD
(~315 ppi pixel density)
|13MP f/2.0 having LED flash
|OS||Fire OS v3.5|
|Dimensions||139.2 x 66.5 x 8.9 mm|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi- 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
HSPA+, Quad-band GSM, 4G-LTE
|2,400 mAh Li-ion
|Sensors||Dynamic perspective sensor system
with invisible IR illumination gyroscope,
accelerometer, proximity, ambient light,
magnetometer and barometer Li-ion
Image Source: amazon.com
Image Source: amazon.com
Fire OS 3.5
Amazon’s Fire OS 3.5 is based on Google’s Android operating system, but is stripped of Google Services. This means that you will not be able to access Google Play Store, Google Play Books and Google Play Games etc. Basically, the Fire OS is made to promote Amazon’s own services like Amazon App Store, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon MP3 etc. If you like to try every new Android app on your phone, then you should know that Google Play Store has more than twice the number of apps present on the Amazon App Store, currently.
3D UI: Dynamic Perspective
The Fire phone has a 3D user interface to make the display look more lively. It basically adjusts the display with reference to the position of the user’s face. The face tracking is done with the help of four cameras present at each corner of the phone’s front side. The dynamic perspective can be seen in action while playing games and using maps (not Google Maps). While this feature sounds great on paper, I have serious doubts about its effect on the battery backup.
If you have a phone with a large display, then you know how difficult it is to operate the phone using just one hand. We don’t mind using both hands for operating the phone, but sometimes, we just cannot. These days, many smartphone manufacturers are working on providing the user with the option to adjust the UI for use with a single hand. Amazon has just entered the smartphone market, and it doesn’t want the consumers to think less of its Fire phone.
The Fire OS 3.5 in the Fire phone lets you navigate through different menus just with a flick of your wrist. You can also use the auto scrolling feature by tilting the phone in the direction you want to scroll. You can even adjust the speed of scrolling by changing the tilt angle.
Firefly: Amazon’s First Try at Visual Search
Have you ever used Google Goggles app? It gave users the ability to find more about any object just by clicking its picture. I liked the app, but many a time, it simply didn’t recognize the object. Firefly takes this feature to the next level. It not only tells you about that object, but also gives you an option to buy it. It recognizes images, TV shows, movies, songs, barcodes, phone numbers, and then takes the user to the product’s listing page on Amazon.com.
Mayday: Need Assistance
Many a time, we are unable to accomplish some task on our smartphone. Sometimes, we are too lazy to use our brains, and sometimes, we actually don’t know how to carry out the task. With Mayday, you need not worry about these trivial problems. It’s like a personal assistant, or a customer support representative, or whatever you’d like to call it. The support personnel will be your guide as well as your personal troubleshooting expert. You will receive help via a one-way video call, and Amazon says that most of the calls will be answered within 15 seconds.
The Amazon Fire phone has a somewhat old but fast Snapdragon 800 chipset having 4 cores running at 2.2 GHz each. It also has 2 GB of RAM to take care of multitasking. The display size is limited to 4.7 inches, which seems small for a flagship phone. Today, every OEM is going after larger and larger displays but, according to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, 4.7 inch is the best compromise between the desire to have a large screen and ease of use.
The Fire phone is equipped with a bright 13MP f/2.0 sensor which, theoretically, should perform very good in low light situations. There is a 2.1 MP camera at the front for catering to the need of selfie lovers. Both cameras can record Full HD videos with a frame rate of 30 fps.
The phone comes in two flavors―32 GB and 64 GB. And yes, you guessed it right, it doesn’t support Micro SD cards. You also get a free Amazon cloud storage account for storing Amazon content and the photos taken with the phone.
The Amazon Fire phone will be available exclusively on AT&T in the U.S. from July 2014.
The Amazon Fire phone seems like a pretty amazing device, but its limited availability on only one carrier and the price tag of USD 649 will put off many prospective buyers. What do you think about it?