After years of rumors, Amazon has finally made it real: The Amazon Fire Phone is now a product that you can buy. Here’s what you need to know.
How much does this thing cost and when can I get it?
$200, but you have to use AT&T. So, really, it costs your soul. You can lose that July 25th.
Eh, wasn’t using it. What are some of the neat features you can’t get on any other phone?
Glad you asked! First of all, there’s FireFly. FireFly is essentially a program that lets you point your phone at physical objects and buy them off of Amazon, something we’re sure retail stores will be enormously enthused about. Expect this thing to be banned from a few major stores before the month is out.
It does also offer up information, like for example if you pointed it at a work of art, it would take you to the Wikipedia page for that. And it’s an open SDK so new and innovative uses will supposedly be found by app developers. But let’s not kid ourselves here; this is a program designed to get you to instantly buy things off of Amazon, and it has its own hardware button to do that.
Also I’m guessing Amazon files everything we’re looking at and listening to for future reference.
They haven’t admitted as much, but yeah, probably. The fact that there’s unlimited photo storage is both a neat feature and a little troubling.
It also has Dynamic Perspective; essentially there’s a camera at the four corners of the phone, which tracks the angle and where you’re looking. So, for example, if you tilted your phone, the view on it would shift with the tilt. Oh, and it also has the video help function that people went nuts over with for the Kindle Fire, Mayday.
What’s under the hood?
A quad-core 2.2GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. Basically it’s the equivalent of a current smartphone. Maybe not the absolute top end of the scale, but more than fast enough for most people.
So… worth buying?
Probably not, actually. As I’ve mentioned before, Amazon doesn’t make tablets or phones or ereaders. They make devices to bind you to Amazon, even when that’s not in your best interests as a consumer. And considering the shenanigans the company has been getting up to lately, those bindings are only going to become more restrictive.
Basically, as of right now, Amazon cannot fulfill its promise to be everything to everyone. Also, do you really need a phone that’s little more than a glorified price-checker? When Amazon finally surrenders to the whims of the market, then we’ll have a stew going. Until then, unless you need a new phone cheap and you’re on AT&T already, there’s not enough here to justify the switch.