Amazon enters smartphone market with Fire phone

The phone has a 4.7-inch screen and 13-megapixel camera

Jeff Bezos with Amazon's Fire phone
Jeff Bezos with Amazon's Fire phone

Amazon has unveiled its highly anticipated entry into the smartphone market, a handset called Fire.

The phone, announced by CEO Jeff Bezos at an event in Seattle, has a 4.7-inch screen and quad-core processor.

It also has a rear 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization to reduce the effects of camera shake for clearer and sharper photos. Most phones attempt to do this through software but Amazon's phone has a hardware component that physically moves the imaging hardware. This latter method is generally superior to software-based methods.

Amazon is offering free image backup and storage through its cloud service with the phone, Bezos said.

A key feature of the phone, at least for Amazon, is an application called "Firefly," which provides an important tie-in to the company's online retail business by recognizing movies, TV shows, music and books, as well as objects, and allowing users to place recognized items into their Amazon cart for purchase. It finds products through their barcodes or photos of the labels and can identify songs when snippets of the music are played, for instance.

Another feature is "dynamic perspective" that appears to give depth to certain images and produces a quasi 3D effect. Bezos demonstrated the function by showing a picture of the Empire State Building on the phone.

Fire also comes with Amazon's "Mayday," a service offered on the Kindle tablet that puts a customer service representative on-screen to answer questions. Bezos said the service will be available at no cost 24 hours a day and calls will be answered within 15 seconds.

The phone will be available in the U.S. through AT&T on contract. A version with 32GB of memory will cost $200 and a 64GB version will cost $300.

By picking AT&T, Amazon has chosen a familiar partner. The company already handles wireless delivery of e-books to Kindle readers and Amazon promotes AT&T 4G service to users of its Kindle Fire tablets.

Amazon's entry into the crowded smartphone space could increase competition if consumers buy into its vision. Unlike other phone makers, Amazon has a compelling service to offer alongside its hardware in the shape of the Amazon Prime music, e-book and video service.

However, success is not certain. Facebook attempted to get in on the market in early 2013 with a customized handset from Taiwan's HTC called the HTC First. The phone was a flop and just a few months later carrier AT&T was offering it at a discount.

Founded 20 years ago, Amazon has grown from an online seller of books into one of the world's largest e-commerce sites. It also sells its own e-book and tablet hardware, has become a publisher of electronic books and is a major supplier of cloud computing capacity. In the last few years, it has been building up its Prime annual subscription service adding video streaming, e-books and, most recently, streaming music.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

3 ways to leverage the talents of your team to avoid disruption

​According to the World Economic Forum in its most recent The Future of Jobs report, the most important skills for the future are not technical, task-oriented skills, but higher-order skills such as creativity, social influence, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Gihan Perera

Futurist, leadership consultant

CMOs, it’s time to stop squandering customer attention

Businesses continue to highly value the attention they buy through paid media, yet at the same time, many continue to disregard and under-value opportunities to connect with customers using their owned media.

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

The popularity of loyalty programs is diminishing, though I'd say it is because customers are savvy enough to recognise when a loyalty pr...

Heather

It’s time for marketers to rethink their approach to ‘loyalty’

Read more

Thanks Nadia for sharing this blog. It has really useful and amazing information about Salesforce Commerce Cloud and digital engagement w...

Holly Smith

Adidas taps data and technology smarts to build personalised digital engagement with consumers

Read more

clearly someone who's jealous and only comments from the safety of being behind their keyboard

Peter Sibson

The purpose of purpose - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in