Amazon launches Fire Phone with online retail focus

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Amazon launches Fire Phone with online retail focus

Handheld virtual shopping cart.

Online retail colossus Amazon has unveiled its new Fire Phone with a 4.7" screen this morning, a device tightly aligned with its shopping and storage offerings.

Amazon said the device, which runs a customised version of Google's Android operating system, has been designed to allow users to consume content and comes with several features specifically for that purpose.

These include a 3D-like dynamic perspective that allows customers to get better views of items while shopping, as well as delivering an improved gaming experience.

The Firefly image and sound recognition technology is able to fetch information on over 100 million items, Amazon said, including movies, TV programmes, songs and retail products.

At the launch today, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos singled out the camera as key feature of the Fire Phone, a 13 megapixel shooter with a fast, f/2.0 lens with five elements and optical image stabilisation that can capture 1080p high-definition video, and a burst mode "lenticular" feature.

To facilitate purchasing, the Fire Phone comes with a year's free access to Prime Music and Video services and the Kindle Library. Fire Phone customers will also receive unlimited cloud storage for photos in full resolution.

The Fire Phone also offers built in customer service through the Mayday feature, which Amazon says provides access to live support in less than fifteen seconds.

Despite the intense focus on providing a retail experience, the Fire Phone also comes with productivity software such as viewers for Microsoft Office documents, and collaboration applications like GoToMeeting.

The Fire Phone can also connect to Microsoft Exchange through ActiveSync, and has full-device encryption, virtual private network support, single-sign on and is compatible with several mobile device management solutions, for enterprise deployment scenarios.

Amazon has made the Fire Phone compatible with its Whispercast BYOD content distribution service, which is already available for its Kindle reading devices.

The device will go on sale end of July, priced at US$649 outright for the 32GB version and US$749 for the 64GB variant.

Whether or not the Fire Phone, which Amazon has tied up closely with United States telco AT&T, will come to Australia remains to be seen.

Amazon Fire Phone specifications

Size 139.2mm x 66.5mm x 8.9mm
Weight 160 grams
Processor 2.2GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM
Display 4.7" HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi, 590 cd/m2 brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio
Cameras 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, multi-frame HDR, auto focus, optical image stabilisation, f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens, LED flash
2.1 MP front-facing camera
OS Fire OS 3.5.0
Storage 32 GB or 64 GB
Cloud Storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content, and photos taken with Fire phone
Battery Battery size: 2400mAh. Talk time: up to 22 hours; standby time: up to 285 hours. Video playback: up to 11 hours; audio playback: up to 65 hours.
Video recording 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps (front- and rear-facing cameras)
Audio playback Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio processing
TV and Video Supports screen mirroring and Second Screen
Content formats supported Audio: Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, PCM/WAVE, AAC LC/ELD, HE-AAC (v1 & v2), AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AMR-WB+, Audible Enhanced format (AAX); Video: MPEG4, VP8, H.264/MPEG4/AVC,MPEG4 SP, H.263,AVI,HDCP2.x, PlayReady DRM; Images: JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, GIF87a,GIF89a; Viewable docs: PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, DOC, DOCX, Kindle (AZW), KF8, TXT
Sensors Dynamic Perspective sensor system with invisible infrared illumination, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Location GPS, Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi/Cellular location, and Digital compass
Cellular UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz), Quad-band GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 9 bands of LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 20), supports carrier aggregation
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, up to 300 Mbps with channel bonding; Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology; NFC enabled
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