The Amazon Fire Phone Is Here, But 3D It Ain't (Mostly)
In a hotly-anticipated event on Wednesday, Amazon unveiled its new Fire phone, the company's first foray into designing a cell phone from scratch. Yes, this is the product the company was teasing when it released that insane ad two weeks ago that never even showed the product it advertised. Here's what we know about the phone so far: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is really excited about it; it's attempting to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy; and it features high-tech updated hardware designed for outdoor viewing and taking good pictures, according to Re/Code's liveblog.
The phone also features 3D-like technology, allowing viewers to see a kind of simulated three-dimensional object. But it uses the parallax effect, not true 3D. True smartphone diehards may recall that the parallax effect Apple integrated into iOS 7 left some users feeling dizzy.
With a 4.7-inch screen, the Associated Press reports that the phone is bigger than an iPhone in size, but smaller than Samsung's tablet-like Galaxy phone. The camera is being touted as a big feature of the new product, and Bezos trumped its image stabilization feature at the event. The phone also has a button dedicated solely to taking pictures, Re/Code says.
Guess what else? Supposedly the product will come with headphones that don't tangle, The Verge reports. As far as we're concerned, if Amazon can back that up, non-tangly headphones alone could be a good reason to leave an iPhone behind. Sorry, Apple.
The new product gets its name from the company's other top-of-the-line objet, the Kindle Fire, an e-reader-turned-tablet. Some of the Fire's features, like the "Mayday" button that lets users automatically connect to a real live person in tech support, will be carried over to the new phone, as will software that allows Amazon Prime users access to a suite of multimedia, including Amazon's new music streaming service.
But the biggest news with this phone's release was supposed to be its 3D capability. So what's the deal? Bezos apparently decided to wait until the end of the announcement to talk about the phone's most hyped feature. It's not really 3D, but actually something Bezos termed "dynamic perspective," and it allows users to see a simulation of three dimensions. ABC News' Neal Karlinsky had this to say about it:
But though it may look cool, it's not really 3D:
The phone is debuting at AT&T for $199.99 or $299.99 depending on how much storage you get, according to AT&T's website.
Amazon also used the opportunity to announce a pretty cool feature called Amazon FireFly. The feature, which has a dedicated button on the phone, allows the phone to see or "scan" pretty much anything and then...well, then it promptly shows you how to buy it. From Amazon, naturally. But the feature goes beyond that, too. Gizmodo reports that it can read a phone number off a flyer, for example, or scan a piece of art and pull up a Wikipedia page about it.
We assume Fire phones are already banned from your art history final.