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Inside the Fire Phone

THE HEAT IS ON: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiling the Fire Phone during an event in Seattle on Wednesday. The handset's image-recognition technology, called Firefly, will let the device figure out what a user is looking at so that he can buy the item online.


    Jun 20, 2014

    Inside the Fire Phone

    AMAZON'S new Fire Phone boasts fairly high-end specifications.

    It has a 4.7-inch high-definition screen and a 13MP camera with optical image stabilisation that can take 1080p HD videos.

    Running on a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, the 160g Fire Phone has 2GB of RAM.

    The handset does not have access to the iTunes App Store nor Google Play. But it has its own Amazon Appstore with 240,000 apps, including popular ones such as Facebook, Instagram, Evernote and Candy Crush, CNet reported.

    AT&T, the second-biggest United States mobile-phone operator, will be the exclusive carrier for the new smartphone, Bloomberg reported.

    A Fire Phone with 32GB of memory will cost US$199 (S$250) with a two-year wireless contract, while a 64GB version will cost US$299. The phone was listed at US$649 without a contract on Amazon's website.

    The handset will join Amazon's ecosystem of devices. So, for example, when a consumer is watching a movie using the company's set-top box, the phone can pull up the actors and other information about what's being viewed through IMDb, a service that is owned by the Web retailer.

    The smartphone will also give customers access to Amazon's 24x7 technology-help service, Mayday. It offers free and live video support on the device with an Amazon expert.

    The handset's image-recognition technology, Firefly, will let the device figure out what a user is looking at so that he can buy the item online. It can recognise more than 100 million items, with consumers simply taking a picture of a book, DVD or other product, to link back to Amazon's store.

    The phone will also have audio recognition for movies and TV shows, which Amazon also carries.

    Firefly poses another threat to brick-and-mortar stores, which have seen more of their customers buy items online.

    With the image-recognition technology, a version of which Amazon and other companies have already offered through mobile apps, it can let customers use a retail store as a showroom for shopping online.

    The phone has 3D technology which shifts screen images to create the illusion of depth and changing perspective on the display.

    It will work on apps, like maps, or when shopping through Amazon's store, the company said. It will also create a more immersive experience for programs like games.

    Motion detection in the phone also lets people scroll through Web pages and books, or access certain features quickly by tilting the device.