Amazon’s Fire Phone: See It. Buy It. Ship It!

June 18, 2014   |   by Chris Kalaboukis


Amazon is super late to the smartphone game – and what can they do to make it innovative?

  1. Screen size isn’t that big, its 4.7
  2. Looks a LOT like an iPhone. I smell lawsuit wafting in from Cupertino, just west of here.
  3. Gorilla Glass 3 on both front and back. What no back screen?
  4. There’s a hardware photo button, been done on Nokia phones
  5. Unlimited free cloud photo storage, that’s interesting. Sounds like that they might using your images to train their own image processing algorithms. Better check that terms of use!
  6. Mayday – which is an interesting idea for on phone help (its been on Amazon Fire tablets for a while), but can it help with other things as well?
  7. This is cool: Basically, see something, anything, point phone at it, press button, buy. Firefly, a new feature which can see and hear the world around it, a recognize products it sees (like art or a box of candy bars or a song playing in the background) and pull up the Amazon listing of that thing so you can purchase it. Show it to a phone number or a street sign and it will recognize it. This would be cool in a Google Glass format – I foresee millions of people holding up their phones as they walk around. My even though they don’t mention it, I’ll bet it could conceivably translate text for you as well. Imagine reading a foreign language sign in English on your phone. show it art and it will tell you about it. This must have been a big reason for the extra cameras they are talking about – an input mechanism to their database. There’s a dedicated Firefly button. Text, audio, image recognizers and content databases, all available via SDK. They’re trying to verb it, as in “I fireflied that book”. Not sure if it will catch…
  8. A 3D display. Ho hum. For some reason 3D locked in a tiny little screen (or even a big one, like the 3D we’ve been seeing in theaters lately) doesn’t really do it for me. My kids have a 3DS and I just don’t see the coolness. Where’s my truly immersive experience, like Oculus Rift? Where’s my  holodeck?
  9. Tilt the device to scroll left and right, or up and down. My GS4 does that. Again, ho hum.
  10. They call it Dynamic Perspective. All of these cameras on the front of the device track your head movements and redraw the screen so that its pointing right at you. The kind of tech they used in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol to get Tom Cruise into that room in the Kremlin.  Or yeah, also useful for games. Not sure if this is a huge innovation, but cool to see in a mass market device nonetheless. Assume that we’ll see all sorts of really cool 3rd party apps which build out this stuff – there is potential here if they can build a developer ecosystem, Twitter-style, in order to build it all the way out.
  11. AT&T exclusive.
  12. Seems like no Siri, Cortana or Google Now (will Google get that they need a mascot name for this thing – maybe they can call it Eugenia or Gloria or something – Brin or Page’s mom’s name?) type voice commands so far.
  13. Pre-order now! It will be shipping July 25th. I thought the real kicker would be that they’d price it at something like $99, but it looks like its going to be a minimum of $200…they are letting you buy it on installment for $27 a month through the AT&T Next program.
  14. A year of Prime membership comes free with the phone. I see what they did there. If you are already Prime, you get a free year. What’s that $80?
  15. See thing. Buy Thing. Ship Thing. Amazon Wins!

Some interesting stuff here. Lots of potential in Firefly. I’d be interested in seeing how 3rd parties add value to the first real world sensing phone. Of course, Amazon’s first use case would be to help their customers buy more stuff, but I’m sure that there are all sorts of cool uses we could come up with.


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