Amazon Officially Unveils the Fire Phone Smartphone


We've been hearing rumors about Amazon's plans for a smartphone for a really long time. Earlier this month, the company revealed plans for an event in Seattle, and upwards of 60,000 people registered for an invitation. The general consensus was that this would be a phone. Of course, the venue wasn't exactly big enough for everyone who wanted to attend, and so Amazon unveiled its very first smartphone in front of just 300 customers (the majority of which were probably there in some sort of media capacity).

We're still waiting for all the details on hardware specifications, but so far we know that the device itself boasts a 4.7-inch HD display powered by a 2.2 GHz quad core processor, Adreno 330 graphics and 2 GB of RAM. As far as storage is concerned, you're looking at either 32 GB or 64 GB of integrated storage. No word on whether this device will support storage expansion via MicroSD.

As with the Kindle and the Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon isn't launching the Fire Phone because it wants to make the greatest smartphone out there (though if you asked anyone at Amazon, they'd probably tell you this is the greatest smartphone out there). This is about selling content and the experience is built on Amazon shopping. The phone uses a feature called Firefly to help you identify and ultimately purchase products from Amazon. Don't know what that song is? Firefly will use the phone's microphone to identify the track (like Shazam) and then offer you a link to buy it. Not only that, but it will utilize the phone's camera to do the same thing for DVDs, books, and CDs. Amazon shopping has never been so easy.

Perhaps most important (but only because we've been talking about this rumor for months) is the fact that it will have a 3D interface. This is achieved using a head-tracking system (there's four infrared lights and front-facing cameras on the phone) that 'follows' your movements and allows you to tilt the phone this way and that way to view different aspects of the picture.

Amazon's event is still ongoing (Jeff Bezos is taking his time with this event, but there is a lot to talk about), but AT&T has let the cat out of the bag in terms of pricing. You're looking at $199 for the 32 GB and $299 for the 64 GB. We'll keep you posted on official pricing and availability as well as further information on the phone itself.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
23 comments
    Your comment
  • therogerwilco
    Does it run WP 8.1?
    0
  • back_by_demand
    Just like the Kindle Fire, it will be a heavily forked version of Android. That unifies the customer experience across devices. Even though WP8.1 is cool, using it would fragment the service, so no
    0
  • kawininjazx
    Is the $199 and $299 of contract? Because that is not too bad of a deal.
    4