High-End Amazon Phone Offers 3D Viewing, Gesture Control

Seattle — Amazon’s long-awaited Fire smartphone will be a high-end model available July 25 through Amazon and AT&T stores at $199 with contract for the 32GB version and $299 for the 64GB version.
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Amazon’s Fire phone with 3D map viewing

Seattle — Amazon’s long-awaited Fire smartphone will be a high-end model available July 25 through Amazon and AT&T stores at $199 with contract for the 32GB version and $299 for the 64GB version.

The 32GB version of the Amazon-designed Android-based smartphone will also be available for zero money down with monthly payments starting at $27.09 from AT&T through its Next trade-up program. The 64GB version will be available through Next starting at $31.25/month.

For a limited time, users will also get a free year of Amazon Prime service.

Key features include Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. The phone also features the Kindle tablet’s Mayday customer-support button to connect via audio and video with customer service over Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 3G/4G network.

Dynamic Perspective uses a custom processor and sensors, including five front wide-angle cameras and separate infrared sensors, to track head movement. As a user’s head changes position, so does the displayed perspective of specially enabled apps, including games and maps with 3D images, built from the company’s Dynamic Perspective SDK.

Perspectives change in darkness because the phone also uses infrared sensors to detect a user’s face.

Dynamic Perspective also enables gesture-based controls, such as moving the phone around to view the Empire State Building from different angles when displayed on Amazon’s map app. Tilting the phone lets users scroll through books, move maps around, display layered information such as Yelp reviews in the maps app, and zoom into an image. Users can also flick their wrist to navigate through songs.

Firefly, a Cloud-based service launched by a dedicated hard button, uses image-, text- and audio-recognition technologies to recognize more than 100 million items such as consumer products, songs, artwork, phone numbers on posters, email addresses, and even a bag of chips in a vending machine. It also recognizes songs from captured audio clips of TV shows and movies.

In seconds, Amazon contended, Firefly will download information about the scanned items, including nutrition information for a bag of chips to Wikipedia information about an artist whose painting was scanned.

Firefly also identifies printed text on signs, posters, magazines and business cards, so users can call a scanned number or go to a scanned URL without dialing a keypad or typing URLs.

Firefly recognizes 245,000 movies and TV episodes and 160 live TV channels using IMDB and Amazon’s X-Ray to show actors, plot synopses and other related content.

Firefly taps into Amazon Music's catalog of 35 million songs to display information about a song whose audio was captured.

An SDK will enable app makers to add Firefly compatibility to their apps. iHeartRadio, for example, has added Firefly compatibility to its app, so users who capture an audio clip can build an iHeart channel around the song.

Information on a total of 70 million products, including household items and media, can be accessed through Firefly and bought from Amazon.com.

The phones also come with free unlimited Cloud storage of photos taken with the Fire, which also features a dedicated hard camera button.

The phone sports a 4.7-inch HD screen with Gorilla Glass 3, rubber frame for durability, 2.2GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, Adreno 330 graphics processor, 590-nit display brightness for outdoor viewing, and a 16-megapixel main camera with f/2.0 lens and optical image stabilization. It also features dual front speakers for stereo playback and virtual-surround playback in landscape mode. It uses the Dolby Digital Plus suite of audio technologies.

Availability through other indirect channels besides Amazon wasn’t announced.

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