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Amazon Unveils 3D Fire Phone, Out July 25

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:25pm
Andrew Berg

SEATTLE - Amazon Wednesday took the wraps off its new 3D smartphone, Fire.Fire Phone

As rumored, the Fire smartphone is exclusive to AT&T. The device goes up for pre-order today and ships July 25. The 32-GB model will cost $200 with a two-year contract—a 64-GB model is available for $300— or zero down and $28/monthly on AT&T’s Next program. For a limited time, Fire comes with a free 12-month Amazon Prime subscription.

The 4.7-inch Fire features a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor and a 13-megapixel rear camera. Amazon will also include unlimited photo storage on Amazon’s Cloud Drive. 

The phone includes a dedicated button on the side of the device called the Firefly button. When pressed, the button activates technology that can recognize items in the real world by quickly scanning them. It can also recognize music, as well as movies. Bezos claimed the feature can recognize 100 million items in the real world. 

Amazon has also offered developers an API so that they can build the functionality into their apps. For instance, MyFitnessPal has built the Firefly feature into its app to identify nutritional information of various products. 

But it’s the Fire Phone’s 3D display that really make Amazon’s phone different. Called “dynamic perspective,” the technology renders 2D images in three dimensions by redrawing the image relative to the user’s viewpoint. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos showed how the technology can be used in place of touch by simply moving and tilting the phone. Bezos also demonstrated how the technology can even be used to navigate through a Web browser. 

“This gesture is so natural that every time I go back to another device that doesn’t have it, I try to do it,” Bezos said. 

The gestures appear to have defined the company’s UI going forward. By tilting the phone in apps and other areas, the user can scroll through panels to either the right or left. Bezos suggested this will carry across the device. 

Amazon began working on the technology four years ago. 

Bezos stressed the need for Amazon to do things right the first time in order to get customers to return, especially to subscription services like Amazon Prime. He stressed that Amazon needed to ensure the same with the Fire phone.

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