updated 12:05 pm EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
First Amazon smartphone goes on sale with Dynamic Perspective display system
Amazon has put its first smartphone on sale in the United States. Available through Amazon directly or via AT&T, the Fire Phone marks a departure from the retailer's usual Kindle Fire tablet range, by being a smaller mobile device and by using five front-facing cameras for the company's "Dynamic Perspective" 3D-effect user interface.
Two models of the Fire Phone are going on sale, with the 32GB selling for $650 off-contract, $200 when bought as part of a two-year contract, or for $27.09 per month under AT&T Next. The 64GB model is more expensive, priced at $750 off, $300 on-contract, or $31.25 via the monthly installment scheme. Both versions also include 1,000 Amazon Coins, a virtual currency worth $10 which can be used to buy apps or used for in-app purchases, and a 12-month subscription to Amazon Prime, though this is being offered for a "limited time."
The Fire Phone has a 4.7-inch 720p display, backed by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 with 2GB of RAM. On the back is a 13-megapixel camera with a five-element wide aperture lens and LED flash, along with a 2.1-megapixel front version, and a collection of four Dynamic Perspective sensors for sensing head and eye positioning. Connectivity extends to LTE, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, and Wi-Fi, the 2,400mAh battery is said to last for up to 22 hours of talk time, and it comes supplied with "tangle-free" headphones.
Running on Fire OS 3.5, the Fire Phone is able to detect how the user is looking at the display, enabling a 3D effect in the interface, while tilting to the sides can bring up extra menus. Just as with the Kindle Fire tablets, it is connected to all of Amazon's services, as well as providing 24-hour Mayday support, while the new Firefly function is able to detect different types of media by looking at the cover or a logo on the product, bringing up more information about the item, and in the case of music, play songs from the album.