The Fire Phone is designed for Amazon’s “most engaged customers,” Bezos said, and it shows. Like Amazon’s other devices in the Kindle family, the Fire Phone’s plain-looking body and sharp screen hide some decent — if not quite industry-leading — computing hardware. But it’s in the mix of the phone’s hardware and software that Amazon tries to stand apart, offering subtle 3D effects, unique gestures for using the phone, and gallons of Amazon-branded video and music features that work with its other devices. Starting at $199.99 on AT&T with a free year of Prime membership, it’s clear that Amazon wants the Fire Phone to rise to the top of an already crowded sea of competitors.
Amazon says its new phone is bright — and bright enough to read books outside. Amazon’s claiming that its phone is the brightest phone ever.
Firefly is so important that it gets its own button on the Fire phone. With one press, the Fire phone boots up its camera to see what you’re seeing and listen to what you’re listening to. If Firefly sees a barcode, it will pop up a button to buy the item on Amazon. If Firefly hears a song Shazam, it will prompt you to check it out on Amazon Music or buy tickets on Stubhub. If Firefly hears Game of Thrones, it will show you the show’s IMDB entry, and then of course offer options to buy or rent more episodes. Firefly even recognizes book covers and art. The service recognizes 100 million items.
Amazon’s long-rumored 3D phone display is actually not quite as eye-popping as leaks suggested. Instead, Dynamic Perspective is more of a motion-control system for the Fire Phone, with some added visual effects. Dynamic Perspective lets you tilt the Fire Phone in different directions to see more information from apps, play games, resize images, scroll through webpages without using your fingertips, and most impressively, move various “layers” of the user interface around as though they were physical objects in front of you. The effect, which varies in intensity depending on the app, relies on motion sensors and cameras that track your head in real-time to serve up the correct viewing angles.
The phone’s OS is based on Android with Amazon’s own app store.