Amazon revealed the Fire Phone, the company’s first smartphone. CEO Jeff Bezos announced the device, which is preceeded by several iterations of Kindle Fire tablets that run on a specialized version of Google’s Android mobile operating system. While the company has never revealed sales data on Fire tablet sales, it’s widely believed that the tablet is doing very well, its popularity bolstered by its low price and plethora of services, the latter of which Amazon will utilize on its new device.

Under the Hood

The Fire Phone is a 4.7-inch quad-core handset with 2 GB of memory that will be offered in 32 GB and 64 GB models. It has a 720p (1280 x 720 pixel resolution) display, which is significantly lower than today’s 1080p (1920 x 1080) standard for high-end smartphones; however, the device is also smaller than most of today’s top smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 screens are 5.2 inches and 5 inches, respectively. The specifications show that the handset isn’t particularly powerful, though it will certainly be able to run high-end apps.

More importantly, the display provides a whopping 590 nits of brightness (most smartphones provide between 200-400), so even with its glossy screen, users will be able to view content on the device with no glare even on a particularly bright day. The front and back are glass, like the iPhone 4. The Fire Phone ships with a 2400 mAh battery, which is below average for non-iPhone competitive smartphones, though Amazon states that it should provide 22 hours of continuous talk time and 11 hours of streaming video playback.

Prime Service

Amazon’s included services are the bigger story. In addition to a free year of Amazon Prime, the Fire Phone includes Amazon’s free Mayday technical support service, which provides customers with live video support 24/7 for any of their devices and consumer services. The phone also comes with a service called Firefly, which can scan text, movies, TV, music, and any product listed on Amazon with the phone’s 13 MP camera and translate that into the equivalent piece of information needed. For example, if you take a picture of a flier, Firefly will analyze the text in the photo and highlight important details like names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Additionally, the device comes with free unlimited cloud storage through Amazon Cloud Drive and a pair of no-tangle headphones to go along with the recently released Amazon Music.

That makes the Fire Phone exciting, even if the name isn’t. The biggest limitation? It’s an AT&T exclusive, although you can buy it unlocked for $650 for the 32 GB and $750 for the 64 GB model to use it on T-Mobile or with an international carrier. The device does not support CDMA, so it won’t work with Verizon Wireless or Sprint. It’s set to see release on July 25, and is available for preorder now.

What do you think? Would you switch carriers to get the Fire Phone?

Image courtesy of Amazon


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