Since the launch of the Kindle Fire tablet in 2011, rumors abounded that Amazon would release a smartphone that leveraged its extensive library of digital books, music and video in a similar fashion. On June 18th, 2014, the rumors turned into reality with the launch of the Fire Phone. Find out all the latest on Amazon's latest device below.
Oct 31, 2014
Hindsight is 20-20, something Amazon now has about the launch of its first smartphone. Amazon debuted the $199 Fire Phone in June, though trimmed the price of the device to 99 cents (with a two-year contract) just two months after it went on sale, without explanation. Speaking to Fortune, Amazon's senior vice president of devices David Limp now says the company simply whiffed on the pricing. "We didn't get the price right," Limp said. "I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we're also willing to say, ‘we missed.' And so we corrected."Read Article >
That correction — as Amazon calls it — also hit its bottom line, as the company revealed last week. While reporting an operating loss of $544 million for its latest quarter, the company noted that it was taking a charge of $170 million related to the Fire Phone. It also said it was still sitting on $83 million worth of phones going into its fourth quarter.
Jul 23, 2014
Two days after I first turned on the Amazon Fire Phone, I walked into the foyer of my apartment building and saw a package with my name on it. This was odd: I’m the guy who orders something and then sits patiently by the front door waiting for it, not the guy who gets surprised by packages on a Saturday.Read Article >
This is how life changes when you begin carrying around Amazon’s first smartphone. The Fire Phone, which will be available July 24th for $199 and a two-year contract, is the most immediate and accessible device ever made by the company that endeavors to sell us absolutely everything. It's also something even more ambitious: a complete rethinking of how we use our phones. Amazon's worked for years on the Fire Phone, thought deeply about what smartphone users need and want, and put all the resulting ideas into one device.
Jun 19, 2014
Augmented reality toys have become a small but steady part of the gaming market, but augmented reality as a concept has always been hit or miss. If the companion app isn't a tacked-on bell and whistle, the toy itself often isn't much fun to play with. But Lego, which has a long history of blending tech into its traditional building sets, may have struck a decent balance with a new project called Fusion.Read Article >
Fusion's premise isn't too different to that of similar toys: put an object on top of, or next to, or under a tablet, and a version of it will appear in a corresponding app. It begins with four fairly normal-looking sets, each based on a different Lego theme: race cars, a town, a medieval castle, and a resort (part of the girl-focused and frequently maligned Friends lineup.) But among the pieces is a small plastic base, each set's version emblazoned with a different pattern. Build on top of them, and your tablet's camera will be able to recognize and scan the resulting design, as long as it's not too big and adheres to some other rules. Whatever you make will end up being part of a mobile game.
Amazon's smartphone is no longer a rumor. The device, which was announced at an event earlier today in Seattle, is very real and coming to the US beginning July 25th on AT&T starting at $199.99 with a two-year contract. The handset is a first for Amazon, which so far has only dabbled in Kindle e-ink readers and tablets. The Fire Phone is the logical next step in that process, and has a lot in common with its Fire tablets, which also run a heavily modified version of Google's Android.Read Article >
The phone is unlike any other in that four sensors around the corners of its 4.7-inch HD display track head movement. Combined with other sensors inside the phone, and with special software Amazon is calling Dynamic Perspective, the Fire Phone will actually change what it's showing on screen to match where you're looking from, as well as make changes for how the phone is being held. The company's also included a feature called Firefly that can identify physical objects like books and products, as well as audio and visual media like music, movies, and TV shows. All these things get links to Amazon's store, of course. Scroll down to see the device, and some of these features close up.
With his presentation earlier today, Jeff Bezos wanted consumers to take one thing away from Amazon's Fire Phone: it's different. We've just seen the end result of years of research, most of which seemingly went into the phone's Dynamic Perspective feature, which pulls together multiple front-facing cameras and infrared sensors to implement head-tracking in a way that's different from anything we've seen from a phone. There's also Firefly, the feature that can recognize and identify nearly anything around you, and Mayday, which gives owners a live video connection to Amazon customer support. Bezos even highlighted the Fire Phone's camera, claiming that it outperforms the hardware offered by Apple and Samsung. But beyond these things (and other oddities like a circular polarizer on the screen), the rest of Amazon's phone is pretty average. Let's see how it stacks up compared to what's on the market today.Read Article >
During his presentation, Jeff Bezos described the Fire Phone's 4.7-inch display as "HD." That's all he had to say on the topic of resolution, and for good reason: it's only 720p. At the screen size Amazon has chosen, that results in a pixel density of 315 ppi — on par with something like the Moto X, but noticeably short of what you'd get from Android flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8. It's also easily outclassed by the quad HD displays that LG and Samsung have begun to embrace. Still, Bezos insisted that the Fire Phone's screen looks fantastic, and it very well might; at least it's not using AMOLED technology. Frequent sunglass wearers will appreciate the novel addition of a polarizer. But in terms of pure sharpness and resolution, it's by no means king. The smaller 4-inch screen on Apple's iPhone 5S puts out 326 ppi.
Jun 18, 2014
Amazon has always been a marketplace, first and foremost. Once upon a time, it just sold books — plain, old books — but now it’s the "Everything Store."Read Article >
And looking at today’s introduction of the long-rumored Fire Phone, one feature demonstrates just how important that Everything Store is to Jeff Bezos’ multibillion-dollar empire: Firefly, an object-recognition technology that lets you snap a picture of virtually anything (or listen in on a song or television show) and buy it from Amazon immediately. The company says it can recognize 100 million different objects. Its goal is no less audacious than to simply turn your entire life, online or out in the real world, into a never-ending stream of opportunities to sell you something.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced his company’s first smartphone in Seattle on Wednesday, the Fire Phone, by first turning to a curiously ironic metaphor: a bucket of water. “You can fill a bucket with an eyedropper, if the bucket doesn’t leak,” Bezos said, striving to convey Amazon’s success at getting and keeping customers for its Prime subscription service. Now those Prime customers have a new reason to immerse themselves deeper into Amazon’s bucket of devices and services: a smartphone designed just for them.Read Article >
The Fire Phone is designed for Amazon’s “most engaged customers,” Bezos said, and it shows. Like Amazon’s other devices in the Kindle family, the Fire Phone’s plain-looking body and sharp screen hide some decent — if not quite industry-leading — computing hardware. But it’s in the mix of the phone’s hardware and software that Amazon tries to stand apart, offering subtle 3D effects, unique gestures for using the phone, and gallons of Amazon-branded video and music features that work with its other devices. Starting at $199.99 on AT&T with a free year of Prime membership, it’s clear that Amazon wants the Fire Phone to rise to the top of an already crowded sea of competitors.
Jun 18, 2014
Amazon's new Fire Phone, which was unveiled at an event today in Seattle, will go on sale for $199.99 with a two-year contract on AT&T. That's for the 32GB model; the 64GB model will run $299 on contract. Buyers will also be able to buy it off-contract for $649 and $749 for the 32GB and 64GB models respectively. Amazon's listing both models as shipping July 25th, with preorders starting today. To sweeten the deal, the company's throwing in a "limited time" offer for a free year of Amazon Prime, which normally runs $99 a year.Read Article >
The phone, which is Amazon's first, features 3D technology the company calls "dynamic perspective." It tracks the user with an array of front-facing cameras. This works on things like your phone's wallpaper, as well as in places like the browser, and inside games and apps. Other features include a visual scanning app called "Firefly" that's capable of identifying art, products, songs, TV shows, and other media using the rear camera.
Jun 18, 2014
Just as expected, Amazon's just-announced Fire Phone features a unique interface that is quite a bit different than what you'll see on pretty much any other smartphone on the market. While the basic interface is very much reminiscent of the Kindle Fire tablets, there are a few new tricks that combine the phone's hardware — particularly the multiple front-facing cameras — and software. The phone's dynamic perspective feature updates 60 times per second to make the interface work. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos likened it to the move from flat artwork to artwork with geometric perspective which began in the 14th century.Read Article >
The first demo showed off some pretty wild perspective effects on the lock screen — a nice trick, but not exactly something entirely useful. However, the maps interface takes advantage of the dynamic perspective to show a 3D render of buildings; the demo first showed off the Empire State Building before Bezos moved on to showing how the interface uses different layers to hide and show information on the map like Yelp reviews. Unfortunately, right now it seems more of a gimmick than anything that's a must-have feature, though we imagine developers could take advantage of this and use it in some pretty interesting ways. To foster that, Amazon's releasing a dynamic perspective SDK to help developers build the technology into their apps.
Amazon's Fire Phone is a showcase for the company's various services, but it's also being positioned as the best possible way to buy products and digital media from Amazon. Jeff Bezos just demoed a new technology called "Firefly" that's capable of recognizing both objects in the real world and content like music and TV shows. Bezos said Firefly can identify up to 100 million items in all. It's triggered by holding the same button that serves as a shortcut to the Fire Phone's camera.Read Article >
Jun 18, 2014
It's not clear yet whether Kindle Fire tablet owners will also get the free storage or how it will integrate across devices, but it's a clear sign that Amazon is laser-focused on delivering customers the features that they want at as low a price as possible, even if that price is free.Read Article >
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Jun 18, 2014
Amazon doesn't just sell smartphones anymore — it makes one. In news that should surprise exactly no one, Jeff Bezos has officially unveiled Amazon's first cellphone, the Fire Phone. It'll be available July 25th, exclusively on AT&T starting at $199 with a two-year contract, and it's perhaps the most futuristic and wide-ranging device Amazon has ever attempted.Read Article >
The Fire Phone has a 4.7-inch, 720p display, aluminum buttons, a Qualcomm processor, Adreno 330 graphics, and 2GB of RAM. It's 0.35 inches thick, and weighs 5.64 ounces. Bezos talked a lot about the phone's build, from the injection-molded connectors to the chamfered edges. There's a set of stereo speakers that Bezos promised are better than your average phone, and a set of headphones he swears that won't tangle. (That last bit sounds impossible, but we'll have to wait and see.)
Jun 16, 2014
The Amazon phone is coming. Finally. At least that's what the company is very likely to announce at a big press event this Wednesday. Amazon has long been rumored to be working on a smartphone follow up to its line of Kindle Fire tablets, and all signs are pointing that it will officially announce the device this week. Here's what we expect to see on Wednesday and why.Read Article >
Jun 4, 2014
Amazon will launch a new product later this month, and it's promising that it'll be something pretty exciting. Company CEO Jeff Bezos will unveil the new product at an event in Seattle on June 18th, and Amazon has begun teasing the new product with a video of people's reactions to using it — though without showing the device itself. Naturally, they all seem pretty amazed by it. But even though we can't see the device, the people's reactions and movements tell a bit about the new product, seeming to suggest that it includes some sort of 3D experience. "It moved with me," one person says.Read Article >
It's long been reported that Amazon is developing a smartphone with a 3D display, and this video seems to suggest that the moment for its unveiling could finally be upon us; furthermore, Bloomberg News reports that Amazon will indeed reveal the phone this month. It would be Amazon's first shot at a smartphone, and with how much success it's seen in the tablet market, it's an entrant that existing phone makers will want to take seriously. Prior Amazon devices have been all about Amazon's own app store and ecosystem of products though, and that can be a bit of a turn off. It'll need something impressive to win people over who already have experience with phones from Apple, Samsung, and others, and it seems that Amazon intends to rely on these reported 3D features to be what catches their attention.
May 1, 2014
After first publishing images of a prototype, BGR has come back with the first clear look at Amazon's upcoming smartphone. At first glance — and free from the bulky case that hid the prototype's true design — the device bears a strong resemblance to Google's Nexus 4 with what looks to be glass on both sides and a soft-touch perimeter.Read Article >
Apr 22, 2014
After leaking the first photos of a prototype, BGR is back today claiming to have more details about Amazon's upcoming smartphone. That includes a deeper look at the unique gestures and tilt-based user interface made possible by the four infrared cameras on the front of the device. Suffice it to say, you're going to be tilting this phone early and often.Read Article >
Amazon's proprietary cameras and head-tracking system will work alongside various sensors to create a 3D effect as the device is shifted around in your hand. "By tilting the handset in different directions while the device is in use, Amazon’s interface will display additional information on the screen without the user having to touch or tap anything," BGR says. That may sound confusing, but the idea is to make one-handed use far easier than what you'd get from many top smartphones today.
Apr 15, 2014
Amazon's long-awaited smartphone is apparently right around the corner, and today images of what looks to be an early prototype have been leaked by BGR. Unfortunately the pictured device is surrounded by a protective, screwed-on case that conceals the phone's true physical design. BGR claims the phone's screen measures 4.7 inches, which would make it noticeably smaller than the latest flagships from Samsung and HTC. It's also said to be a 720p display, which falls a bit short of the now-standard 1080p resolution found on the Galaxy S5 and HTC One. Amazon's smartphone is reportedly powered by an unspecified Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 2GB of RAM.Read Article >
Interestingly, the shots reveal a total of five front-facing cameras. One will presumably used for pictures, video chat, and interacting with Amazon customer support via the company's signature Mayday service. But the four cameras located at each corner are more interesting, as they're the secret behind Amazon's "3D" experience.
Oct 15, 2013
Rumors of an Amazon smartphone have circulated for well over a year now, but a new report out today says that the retail giant will use HTC to help it make its upcoming devices. Three different smartphones are said to be in development, according to The Financial Times article, but one of the HTC-made devices is apparently close to completion. One source warns the paper that while one of the devices is in the advanced stages of development, Amazon has pushed back its timetable before.Read Article >
Earlier rumors pointed to two different Amazon smartphones, one of which would use a new 3D interface. The other device is rumored to be offered for free or at a very low price. It's widely believed that Amazon will not release a smartphone this year — a 2014 launch date seems likely for at least one such device. During that last round of rumors, Amazon rejected claims that it would offer a phone for free, and it said it wasn't going to release a phone this year.
Oct 3, 2013
In 2008, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was already dreaming up a 3D smartphone. Now it's five years later, and while Amazon has built a series of great tablets, a smartphone has yet to materialize. But rumors of one have: Amazon is now said to be developing Bezos' 3D smartphone, which would work by tracking its user's head and adjusting the interface to make it appear to have depth. While details are otherwise slim, Unwired View has unearthed a number of Amazon patents from over the years — in addition to one from Bezos himself dating all the way back to 2008 — that detail what just such a device might look like.Read Article >
One of the main concerns with current smartphones and tablets that these patents focus on is that they can become difficult to use when at odd angles. One solution they suggest is that by using their tracking technology, the device's keyboard could be constantly repositioned so that it fell directly beneath its user's hands. They also describe Leap Motion-style hand tracking, allowing users to press buttons by performing gestures in midair. But most of the gestures seem to be more subtle than poking at nonexistent buttons: nodding your head, leaning to either side, or even just smiling could all be used to control a phone or some other device's interface, the patents say.
Oct 3, 2013
We've been tracking rumors that Amazon has been working on a phone for some time now, but in the past few months they have been heating up a bit. Today, after an anonymous posting on Hacker News, TechCrunch says it has sources which corroborate a few surprising details on what's inside Amazon's Lab126 studios. Reportedly, the company is actually working on not just one, but two different phones. The first, currently code-named "Smith," apparently still involves 3D in some way, which the Wall Street Journal reported on last May. However, instead of a proper 3D screen, the Smith reportedly has four front-facing cameras that can track a user's head and then use it to position 3D effects within the interface. Apparently, the phone would be able to identify you so that only you would see the 3D perspectives, not others looking on.Read Article >
If the software ships with software that matches up to current rumors, users would be able to "peek" around interface elements and even see things beyond the edge of the screen. The phone also reportedly will be able to identify real world objects and match them to products in Amazon's store so you can purchase them. It all sounds like a wild (and not immediately useful) set of features, wild enough that it could be more of an in-house lab project than a product destined for actual sales. Either way, rumors suggest that it's not planned for release this year.
Sep 8, 2013
Responding to an earlier post on reporter Jessica Lessin's website, Amazon is now telling Lessin's team that it won't be selling its own smartphone in 2013 — and if it does decide to eventually launch one, it won't be free.Read Article >
The statement goes against Lessin's earlier report, which had claimed that the retail giant was considering offering its phones at no cost. At that time, no details were offered on how Amazon might achieve the goal, but it's safe to assume that it would involve subscriptions to some combination of the company's services like Prime — which includes a video streaming component — or Kindle.
Sep 6, 2013
An Amazon-made smartphone may be made available to customers free of charge when it launches, according to a new report today. Jessica E. Lessin, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, cites anonymous sources familiar with the retailer's plans, and they say that Amazon wants to sell the smartphone free of charge whether or not it's sold with a carrier contract. It's not yet clear if a subscription to a service like Amazon Prime would be necessary to get the phone, but it seems like such a requirement would be likely. The sources are apparently skeptical that Amazon will be able to pull off a free smartphone, considering the company would have to strike difficult deals with both manufacturers and carriers to make it happen.Read Article >
The pricing strategy would make waves, but it isn't a wholly new one: Amazon's own Kindle Fire tablets are sold at low cost with the intent to generate profits from app, book, video, and music sales, as well as advertisements. Additionally, cellphones in the US and some other countries are sold on two-year contracts that subsidize the up-front cost of the devices. Some lower-end smartphones are sold for free on contract. Considering any entry by Amazon into the crowded smartphone space would be a challenge, it's possible the company sees a low — or free — price point necessary to gaining marketshare.
May 9, 2013
It's been long rumored that Amazon is working on a phone, but according to a new Wall Street Journal report, that phone may have a 3D display. Anonymous sources say that Amazon is actually working on two phones, including a high-end model with a glasses-free 3D display, a concept that was tried some years ago with the Evo 3D smartphone. It could also, they said, have eye tracking for control — something Samsung has been working on in a more limited capacity. Some sources have said users would be able to navigate through content with their eyes, and eye tracking could also improve the 3D effect, allowing the phone to tell where users are looking and refocus in response, rather than having a single "correct" viewing angle.Read Article >
According to the WSJ, this may be only part of a large, and very strange, push for new prototypes. Besides the phones, Amazon is allegedly also building an "audio-only streaming device," like an iPod for the cloud. A set-top box is also supposedly in the works, something that would make sense given Amazon's push to be a streaming destination. Some of the devices are apparently targeted for a reveal in the "coming months," but some may also be shelved — something that wouldn't be surprising for such apparently experimental devices.
Sep 5, 2012
Amazon's updated Kindle Fire and new backlit "Paperwhite" Kindle e-reader have already leaked out ahead of the company's event tomorrow, but there may be one more surprise in store: a mobile phone. Multiple sources have confirmed to The Verge that Amazon is working on a smartphone that runs a variant of the Kindle Fire's Android-based operating system, and we're now hearing that the device will be shown to the press tomorrow.Read Article >
The phone itself is said to be currently unfinished, so if Amazon does announce it we wouldn't expect too many details. But at this point we would expect it to run a forked version of Android 4.0 as the leaked Kindle Fires seem to do, and to include Nokia Maps as the location solution — forking Android means Amazon can't use Google Maps, and Nokia spoke today of adding a "major" mapping partner at its own Windows Phone event.
Jul 12, 2012
Robert Williams, Microsoft's former Senior Director of Windows Phone business development, has joined Amazon this month. Williams' lists his new role as Amazon's App Store director in his LinkedIn profile and a tweet, spotted by Win Gadget News, reveals he's still using a Windows Phone to check in at his new employers headquarters in Seattle.Read Article >
Previously responsible for Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, Williams is the second high profile exit from Microsoft's Windows Phone team to Amazon in recent months. Earlier this year, Brandon Watson — the former head of Windows Phone Developer Experience at Microsoft — quit the software giant to join Amazon as Director of Kindle Cross Platform team.