A new smartphone entered the world today: the Fire Phone from Amazon.
Using the same modified Android operating system as its Kindle Fire tablets, called Fire OS, the Fire Phone fills a big hole in Amazon’s mobile ecosystem. By releasing a phone that consumers carry with them (as opposed to a larger tablet), Amazon has a direct line to shoppers wherever they are.
At the same time, Amazon released Software Development Kits (SDKs) for two key technologies in the Fire Phone: Firefly and Dynamic Perspective.
The Firefly feature is tightly integrated with Amazon’s shopping and digital content services. Launched with the press of a button on the side of the phone, Firefly identifies just about anything it can see or hear.
The primary purpose, of course, is to drive sales to Amazon. Food, books, electronics – for anything the camera recognizes, it displays product information, and a tap lets the user purchase it.
Firefly also works with art, pulling up Wikipedia entries. It can also read signs, making email addresses and phone numbers easily accessible.
The Fire Phone has four infrared cameras, one at each corner, on its front face. The cameras track the user’s head and modify the image on the screen appropriately. It’s one way to implement 3D without cumbersome eyewear.
In Amazon’s mapping app, for instance, users can view different sides of skyscrapers just by moving their heads. The phone comes with a number of wallpapers that also support Dynamic Perspective, with multiple objects at different apparent distances from the viewer.
The Fire Phone’s basic specifications are impressive, though not revolutionary. A 2.2GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM handle the computing, while the 720p HD screen measures 4.7 inches. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and optical image stabilization.
The Fire Phone comes with a full year of Prime, which includes Instant Video, Music, Lending Library, and free two-day shipping. It also comes with unlimited free photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive and 1,000 Coins, worth $10 in the Amazon Appstore.
The Fire Phone ships July 25. It is $199 for 32GB or $299 for 64GB on a two-year AT&T contract.
With its hardware features and new SDKs, the Amazon Fire Phone makes a bunch of new apps possible. To talk to an app development expert, call 603-881-9200 or email us.
Zco Corporation is a custom software company with headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA specializing in mobile app development, enterprise software, and 3D animation.
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