Amazon Unveils 3D Smartphone

Cheapest model will be $200 for 2-year contract
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2014 2:37 PM CDT
Amazon Unveils 3D Smartphone
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Amazon Fire Phone, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Amazon today unveiled its long-rumored, much-anticipated smartphone, which it's calling simply "Fire Phone." The phone's most attention-grabbing features include a unique 3D display and something called "Firefly," which allows the phone to identify objects, songs, and TV shows. Here are the details, as reported by Ars Technica, Gizmodo, the Washington Post, and MarketWatch:

  • 3D "Dynamic Perspective": The phone can create a glasses-free 3D effect. Four front-facing cameras will track users' heads and adjust the display as they move; that would allow you to look around and under various on-screen features. If you're looking at info overlayed on a map, for example, you could tilt the phone to look under that layer.
  • FireFly: The phone has the built-in capability to recognize millions of objects, songs, and even specific episodes of TV shows, using photos and sound. This can both give you information about them—like, say, which actors are in a show—and, of course, help you buy the item from Amazon. There's a dedicated button for FireFly on the phone, and developers will be able make apps using it.
  • Price: Based on an AT&T product page, the phone will start at $200 with a two-year contract for the 32GB model, or $300 for the 64GB.
  • Mayday: The phone will also boast Amazon's much-lauded on-screen tech support option Mayday. Push a button, and a specialist should appear on your phone in less than 10 seconds.
  • The Specs: The phone will have a 4.7-inch HD display, a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, and 2GB of RAM—all of which are respectable, though there are bigger and faster phones out there. It also has an impressive-sounding 13MP camera with an f/2.0 five element lens.
  • Reaction: As of about 3pm Eastern, Amazon's share price had risen 3% on the news. But the price is higher than rumored, Walt Mossberg notes (at one point people thought it might even be free), and AT&T exclusivity is a downside. Many Twitter commentators noted that FireFly seems like an awfully self-serving feature. Quartz's headline summed up the critique thusly: "Amazon launches a shopping machine and calls it a phone."
(More Amazon stories.)

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