Amazon today demonstrated its latest product, the AT&T smartphone it calls the "Fire Phone". Built to resemble an iPhone 5, the new device will certainly work ok as a mobile phone, but seems to be designed as a digital shopping device for the 21st century. A dedicated "Firefly" button lets you take a picture, scan a bar or QR code, or listen to a song--then immediately calculate where and how you can buy it as a CD, DVD, MP3 download, physical or digital e-book.
The "Fire" has an unusual, sophisticated system of cameras which allow for incredibly smooth movement when turning the phone from landscape to portrait orientation. But it is still the device's ability to funnel every whim of its owner into the Amazon universe of sales that is most remarkable. The phone's price wil begin at $199, but will include a free $99 one-year subscription to Amazon Prime (the company's lending library of music, movies and e-books).
Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The New York Times
Link to article:
Excerpt: "The device is a cellphone, but making calls on it got almost no attention at all at the event in Seattle where it was unveiled. The Fire phone, the product of four years of research and development, offers Amazon fans the chance to live in an Amazon-themed world, where just about every element can be identified, listed, ranked, shared and, of course, ordered.
It offered a view of a mobile future that will be alluring to some but might repel others.
If the device works as described, and Amazon entices even a small portion of its 250 million active customers to buy one, the Fire could accelerate Amazon’s already intense competition with other retailers and tech companies, not to mention heightening some of its current battles with suppliers.
As if to underline the no-gloves nature of the battle, a promotional video in the first few moments of the presentation took a direct slap at Apple. Both Apple and Samsung were criticized as having inferior cameras in their devices, and there seemed to be other jabs at technology like Google Glass.
The Fire’s product recognition feature, Firefly, 'is potentially a real threat to bricks and mortar retailers,' said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group. 'Scan a product or listen to music, and you’re delivered straight to the page on Amazon on which you can purchase it. Impulse shopping just went to a new level.'
Amazon’s phone — consumers can order it now; it ships starting July 25 — is arriving as the leading technology companies are increasingly trying to develop an array of services and products to keep people from wandering, the digital equivalent of Disney not wanting you to leave Disneyland for lunch. Microsoft brought out a tablet; Facebook tried a phone; Google is experimenting with a shopping and delivery service."