Amazon announces perplexing Fire Phone, matters nothing for Apple and iPhone

Amazon announces perplexing Fire Phone, matters nothing for Apple and iPhone

Amazon has finally announced their long-rumored handset, the Fire Phone and... it's kind of perplexing. See Android Central's complete Amazon Fire Phone coverage. On the face of it, the Fire Phone looks like a high-end Android handset from a year or two ago with some whacky 3D stuff thrown in and some amazing services that's locked up in Amazon's all-too typical U.S. jail. So, what does it mean for Apple and the iPhone?

Nothing really.

Part of it has to do with the target audience — Americans on AT&T for whom Amazon Prime is a way of life. That's an incredibly niche audience compared to Apple shipping to hundreds of countries and carriers around the world, and offering the best services not only from Apple but from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and everyone else of import.

Part has to do with the perplexing nature of the Fire Phone itself, which seems equal parts old and new, clever and silly, attractive and repulsive. I honestly don't know if I'd want one. I'll have to do some serious back-of-the-napkin math to figure it out, and that's unusual for me. And interesting.

And part has to do with the price being almost as high as an iPhone — $199/$650 on/off-contract but for 32GB instead of 16GB — for hardware that's outdated and special features whose value remains to be proven.

You've got a 720p display sitting on top of a Snapdragon 800 processor and Adreno 330 graphics chip. There's 2GB of RAM, which beats the iPhone on paper, but the iPhone is using a custom, purpose-built Apple A7 system-on-a-chip and runs Apple's own software, not something forked from Android.

The camera looks great. 13mp, f/2.0, with optical image stabilization. That's good glass, maybe even Nokia good, and they'll need it because, again, Amazon won't have something like the Apple A7's Image Signal Processor to do heavy on-device lifting. They could theoretically match Google's server-side awesomeness, but beyond unlimited photo and limited video storage, they haven't announced anything similar yet. There's a hardware button for quick camera access, which is nice.

There was also something about 4 front-facing cameras for advanced selfie-fication, but I wasn't at the event and Amazon doesn't mention the details on their Fire Phone product page so I'll have to wait before forming any thoughts on that.

But, lasers! The gist seems to be the front-facing cameras are primarily to support the dynamic perspective feature, which uses face tracking to create a faux super-parallax effect. As an interface the mechanic feels ill-considered and gimmicky but it's impossible to know for sure without trying it. Apple has floating, faux-3D effects starting in iOS 7 and even that caused vertigo and other motion reactions in a large enough percentage of users that off-toggles had to be added in iOS 7.0.3 and iOS 7.1. Hopefully Amazon learned from that and made a better system, but 3D in general has been nothing but a failure to date and making it a center piece for features is a huge challenge and huge risk. Best of luck with it. If nothing else, I'm eager to see it in action. (And won't be surprised if it goes back to flat with buttons fast.)

Firefly is a dedicated hardware button and service that's sort of like Google Goggles or some of the augmented reality stuff in the iOS App Store. The cynical view would be to call it the One-Click button attached to an image recognizer. The more altruistic view would be to call it an informational assistant. How it plays out in reality, we'll have to wait and see. Basically you hit it and what the phone sees it identifies, provides information about, and if you can buy it from Amazon, lets you buy it from Amazon. (There's an SDK for developers.

There's also the Mayday button, which looks to be great from a customer service perspective. Hit the button and Amazon promises a real, live, Turing-passing human being will appear on your phone and help you do whatever it is you need help to do. You can see them, they can't see you, but they can take over your phone and show you how it works, or even do stuff for you. That's kind of creepy from a privacy stand point — Amazon obviously has deep hooks into the phone — but really awesome from help stand point. Considering there aren't Amazon Retail Stores the way there are Apple Retail Store, it's a way to make sure people get the most out of the technology they buy, and good on Amazon for prioritizing it, and it's promised 15 second response time.

The Amazon Fire Phone runs Fire OS, which is a fork of Android, and that means it runs Android Apps. The Amazon Appstore Android apps to be specific. Amazon is offering 1,000 Amazon Coins (a $10 value) for apps, games, and in-app purchases for all new Fire Phone owners. But the idea of a world with "Amazon Coins" in it makes me want to close the browser and flashy thing myself. So, next time, lets just stick to cash, okay? That said, the one year of free Amazon Prime that's included (a $99 value) is a bonus.

The Fire Phone is, of course, like most of Amazon's products, amazingly U.S.-centric. Amazon operates as though the rest of the world barely exists and while that's probably okay for a company that really just wants a fancy, sticky front end for their U.S. (and handful of other) retail centers, it's not okay for a modern company making a modern phone, tablet, or any other device. For example, Amazon Video still only works if you have a U.S. credit card and are physically inside the U.S. In 2014. Appalling.

Amazon's horizontal lock-in is just as problematic as Apple's vertical lock-in but it's not perceived so. Until, of course, it's too late.

Neither of those are the biggest problem facing the Fire Phone however. The biggest problem is that, while it stacks up okay against the 2012 iPhone 5 and 2013 iPhone 5s, this is 2014. And the iPhone 6 — likely plural — are coming this fall.

Which is why I said at the beginning I don't see the Fire Phone mattering much, if at all, to an international Apple that's actually on fire right now. How about you?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 101 comments. Add yours.

Heisenberg says:

4S is 2012 and 5 2013.

I can't believe the price point with those underwhelming specs.

Rene Ritchie says:

4S is 2011, 5 is 2012, 5s in 2013 :)

Yeah, price and specs are whacky!

Heisenberg says:

Yes, you're right. Article should say 2013 5S. My mistake.

jacksonxp says:

Phone plays on the weaknesses in the other phones
http://goo.gl/bHbMGM

Illustrator Joe says:

Damn Rene, tell us how you really feel ;)

jeddo45 says:

Read the title. You'll see them.

Brought to you by the Nexus M8

DrewBear says:

Bezos claims this is for “Our most engaged customers”. I'm a long time Amazon Prime user who probably falls in that category. But there's no chance I'm going to give up my iPhone for this.

ashmac0101 says:

Absolutely. I use prime, but will always always always use and prefer my apple products over amazon.

Rowanova says:

I can't see this moving any volume that matters. Time will tell...

Sent from the iMore App

Trappiste says:

Apple... internationally-oriented? Let me see. Apple's Siri works only with very few languages -- compare to Google or Microsoft's plans for Cortina. Apple has hardly any of these elusive stores that I hear spoken of outside North America; and in Northern Europe they have no customer service of any kind, off-line or online, save operator stores, who do not provide any brand-specific support because that is not their business. Passbook does not work internationally. Maps are useless in Europe: I need to have an inexpensive Nokia on the side of my one thousand dollar iPhone for navigation -- which is just pathetic. The new Apple music service does not work internationally, iPhone 5 does not support anything but US LTE bands, because, you know, everyone lives in the Murica. iOS internationalization is amateurish with really crappy and hard to understand translations, ...

Apple is the most US-centric major technology company there is, save perhaps Amazon, who is not a global tech company to begin with and whose business mdoel is completely different anyway, since they are for the rest of the world simply an online retailer with a web site and the pertinent mobile apps. But they, this is a fan site, so, well, whatever. Who cares of what is true or not. Let us all just preach the pro-Apple gospel together. Apple are internationally-minded since they also cater for Canada where Rene lives, not only the US. Alright.

BRH2 says:

Just some nits, since I live in Prague: Passport works fine for me and my British Airways flights between London and Prague. There are a good many Apple Stores in London and elsewhere in Europe. The Maps app works well in Prague and London, and has served us well driving from Prague to Paris. My wife and I both have iPhone 5 phones and can use them just fine (bought in London).

"Who cares of what is true or not" -- indeed.

Rene Ritchie says:

You're confusing people with the facts again :)

(Apple announced a ton of new Siri languages at WWDC, so at least compare Apple "plans" with Cortana "plans" if you want to be authentic about it.)

Solamar says:

Only a few languages? iOS 8 shows over 20, they've released new vector maps for China, full support for a plethora of countries..

I think you need to do some research before making some unfounded claims. lol

Reven7 says:

Don't be so quick to throw things out there about "Google and Microsoft's plans" considering Cortana is US only for now.

freeS says:

iPhone supports LTE in Germany on tmobile very fine! Great customer support here too and an increasing number of stores. Plus it understands Swiss German too (also Swiss French and Swiss Italian). To name just a few things which are wrong in your post.

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dalaen says:

Hi,

"Apple's Siri works only with very few languages -- compare to Google or Microsoft's plans for Cortina."
-> Cortina has more or less the same language support than Siri. If we don't look at iOS 8.

"Apple has hardly any of these elusive stores that I hear spoken of outside North America; and in Northern Europe they have no customer service of any kind, off-line or online, save operator stores, who do not provide any brand-specific support because that is not their business."
-> Yes, they do. In France where I live, a lot. They have friendly customer service, off-line, online, very skilled people understanding your problems and always finding a solution for you, even if they've to go beyond the standard rules to make you happy.

"Passbook does not work internationally."
-> Yes it does.

"Maps are useless in Europe."
-> Our countries are not dictatorships and their maps aren't censored. They're here, full featured, and they work. I used them countless of times, always led me to the correct place.

"iPhone 5 does not support anything but US LTE bands."
-> iPhone 5 is not on sale anymore. Though it works in Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, yeah well I forgot some countries, we have a lot.

"iOS internationalization is amateurish with really crappy and hard to understand translations"
-> Example please?

"Who cares of what is true or not."
-> Apparently, you don't.

Have a nice day!

rjholmes123 says:

Shut up and stop complaining because you don't live well like we do in the U.S. and this piece of Amazon crap doesn't mean anything., o yeah you like to write novels?

Sent from the iMore App

dalaen says:

Where did I complain? I'm happy with the service I get. :)

d ha says:

...and your point being?
Go buy a Fire if your iPhone sucks so much.
You won't be missed.
Bye.

richard_rsp says:

Ok, so as an Amazon prime member (in the US), I guess I am their target audience.

A) Amazon Prime is great because of the free shipping. I use their streaming services very rarely - like once a month at MOST. Yes, they just released a music service, but after trying that, i wasn't impressed (and doubt I will use it). So really, this is no advantage.

B) I was recently on AT&T but just switched back to Verizon due to coverage issues and dropped calls. While the iPhone may have done well as an AT&T exclusive, it did so with much less competition. So being exclusive is a disadvantage.

C) Price is astronomical for what it is (hardware). Yes, it may include a year worth of Prime, but (see above), I already have it and don't use 2/3 of its services. Hardware sounds okay, but definitely 2013, not the cutting edge you would expect from the price.

Overall, I think this is going to be a flop. The Kindle Fire (tablet) does okay because of 2 things - price and it appeals to "readers". I don't get that same feeling from the Fire phone.

LeightonLaVell says:

Nice Turing reference...

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stumpy1570 says:

Opens app on iPhone 5s, yeah... no big deal :)

taescience says:

What is outdated about this phone's specs?

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Rene Ritchie says:

For an Android phone? Head over to Android Central and compare it to any of the phones announced in the last few months. It's 720p in a rapidly-becoming QHD world.

captobie says:

I don't see anything inspiring in the Fire Phone. To me, one of the best features of the Amazon eco-system is how device agnostic it is. Amazon has great apps across the board, and its iOS apps are outstanding. Amazon has managed to siphon a lot of money out of my wallet via iOS through the years, I'm not sure what this phone accomplishes that they don't already accomplish.

Carioca32 says:

This post seems quite defensive for a product that isn't a competitor. Of course it matters to Apple since there are new features and new uses of old features, and all that will be put to the test here. Apple debuted the perspective 3D, but Amazon seems to have out-Appled Apple there, by putting the feature to real use, and not as an useless gimmick as it was under iOS7.

Rene Ritchie says:

By that definition wouldn't any first-blush comparison be seen as "defensive"?

moroboshi says:

Amazon isn't entirely US centric. We have most amazon devices and services in the UK, such as Instant Video, Amazon MP3, and all the kindles. (Except the fire TV, which is coming this year sometime).

Amazon also have really good distribution in the UK. You can buy Amazon hardware in lots of real physical places here. They're as easy to get as Samsung products.

Alcarnor14 says:

The one thing I disagree with, Rene:

RE: the camera: "Amazon won't have something like the Apple A7's Image Signal Processor to do heavy on-device lifting". Not to say the iPhone has a bad camera, but with good glass and OIS, you don't need to fiddle with the image to make it look good.

From the tech specs on amazon.com: "13 MP rear-facing camera, multi-frame HDR, auto focus, optical image stabilization, f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens, LED flash
2.1 MP front-facing camera"

Rene Ritchie says:

That's what I was trying to say. They went with pre-capture instead of post capture like Apple (with ISP) and Google (with server).

PK0702 says:

Seriously canada is nothing more than a U.S. territory.

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LeFrancoy says:

Ouch, bro-tip: I don’t think it’s such a good idea to brag about the fact that you failed geography and history classes at school...

Gazoobee says:

I have always been perplexed why anyone would do business with Amazon for any reason. They are one of the most "evil" companies on earth.

They don't care a hoot about their customers or any of the products they sell, their workers are forced to work for slave wages using (illegal in most countries) "zero hours contracts," and they spend most of their corporate energy on destroying other businesses. They are active around the world in lobbying to roll back legislation on workers rights. They purposely violate the consumer protection laws of many countries, knowing that it will take years and tons of cash before they are forced to stop, if ever. Their websites are a nightmare of advertising, tracking and invasive coercion. Some of their tactics haven't been seen in the business world since the days of Dickens.

There is literally nothing Amazon does for the average consumer that can be construed as a positive, except offer slightly lower prices. IMO a person who weighs slightly lower prices in the balance with all the horrible nasty stuff Amazon does around the globe and comes out thinking that they are going to "go for the lower prices," is just a horrible human being.

And while Amazon is busy destroying businesses around the globe, it is also itself, constantly on the verge of collapse. So it could also be construed as a classic "shoot yourself in the foot" move to shop there, given that if they fail, we will all miss the publishers and other online retailers they destroyed on their way up the ladder to world conquest.

ScoobyDoo27 says:

Do you have any sources on all that?

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richard451 says:

.. and yet they have the highest customer satisfaction over any other company on the earth.

jrod986 says:

Two day shipping for $39 a year.

Even their groceries are cheaper, delivered to your door, and I don't have to set foot in a Gristedes.

Sent from the iMore App

elmit22 says:

the same way that apple conducts business.

vinny jr says:

To give AT&T the exclusive on their new phone has to be the dumbest move. The phone has last years specs, today's price on only one Carrier with about 4 or 5 better phones hitting the market that sell for the same and some less. This phone is DOA. Not to mention the new IPhone 6 is right around the corner. The educated SmartPhone buyer won't have anything to do with this very strange device with all Amazon on it. Not for me, I have my 5S with 64gb and my Note 3, best of both worlds. I enjoyed my 5S so much I went and bought the IPad mini with 128gb, I'm in heaven. I want the new One Plus One with 64gb for my new Android fix, then the IPhone 6 with maybe 128gb, that would be sweet. Sorry for ramblin, just got carried away. Yep back to reality, that dumb ass Amazon phone with one Carrier is DOA. Just My Opinion

mattoaks says:

Yes the price point is the same as the new iPhone pricing, but you are missing the fact that you are getting 32GB at the $199 price and 64GB at the $299. So you are actually getting twice the size for the same price. Not only that, you are getting 1 year of prime, which is usually $99, for free when you buy the phone.
Obviously I'm not saying that this is the greatest phone out, but the pricing isnt as bad once you look a little deeper.

cgs101 says:

It runs Android? Mega-LOL to eternity!
So it's another android phone. How embarrassingly disappointing for Amazon!
They're not even trying....

ChrisFricke says:

What OS would you expect it to run?

cgs101 says:

Well, its own of course... Why come into the market as another Android phone? (albeit "a version of")
I mean, the design definitely doesn't offer anything fresh or innovative ...

ChrisFricke says:

It's no different than the Kindle Fire - forked UI on a common OS architecture. There are interesting differences there - the gesture/flick elements, built in Fireapp/Goggles app, easy access "live body" support model, and more. The innovation and "fresh" is there if you look for it. I would likely never use this thing - but my spouse, maybe my mom...

sting7k says:

My only question; Does it blend?

caps10784 says:

What an arrogant, pompous a** article!! This is my first comment ever on iMore and probably the last article I will read on here. To even dismiss this phone before you actually know anything about it is just foolish. If you think amazon's aim was strictly taking on the iphone with an A7 processor (that you had to mention a thousand times)then you are a fool. I guess you can't stomach change...u probably still think that the iPad mini was dumb idea or a larger screen iphone!

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Rene Ritchie says:

My job is to provide commentary based on my experience and general knowledge of the industry. That's why I'm here.

I can read a spec sheet. I can watch an event video. And I can parse out what I think is relevant to our community and begin a discussion based on that. (My guess is many, many members of our community can do likewise — as proven by the comments here.)

I may well be an arrogant, pompous, ass of a fool, but I'd much rather you debate the merits of my opinion than personally attack me. I mean, at least I'd learn more that way :)

Irelandjnr says:

He's only hiding behind his keyboard Rene.

LeFrancoy says:

Hi Caps10784, having read your comment, I’m left dumbfounded and bewildered. Maybe you are just out to get a reaction...

Here’s mine: Would you please be so kind as to be respectful and courteous while commenting here. (one can hope)

caps10784 says:

Oh forgot to mention that this article is an example of how apple gets a bad rep for a brand that cool people get

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Rick Faced says:

And you are here because?

law2010 says:

I fail to see how the Fire Phone is any different than owning a Kindle Fire or an iPad for that matter.

In theory, it is possible to watch all of those movies and TV Shows from Amazon Prime on the phone, but in reality, you will blow your data plan in a matter of hours. This means you will probably only use the phone for the Amazon media when connected to Wifi, which means you are accomplishing what every tablet on the market already does without being attached to mediocre hardware.

I fail to see the point of this phone.

I use an HTC One M8, so this is not coming from an angry Apple fanboy.

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William Decker says:

Right...like we all defend apple for putting a measly 1gig of ram into the 5s and iPad Air, because the processor handles memory better. Right, thats why my apps constantly crash on my 5s and iPad Air including stock apps. At this point in the game, an iPhone should have 2 or more gigs of ram. But us apple sheep yes that includes me purchase outdated specs as long as it's apple. Because ios utilizes everything more efficiently. Yes, I am waking up from my apple stumper.

Rene Ritchie says:

I'd like more RAM on the iPhone and iPad as well, primarily for 64-bit apps.

rickgregory17 says:

Don't forget, though, that RAM requires battery power even if it's not being used. Other things being the same, more RAM = lower battery life and Apple has always avoided backsliding on battery life. Now, it may be in a larger iPhone that trade off won't have to be made since there's more room for a battery...

Specs, though are a poor way to report on or comment on tech. Past some minimal point they don't matter nearly as much as tech heads think they do. The real issue is 'can I do what I want with few or no constraints?' The folks saying "Mine has more RAM than yours" alway struck me as insecure in, ah, other areas. :)

iSRS says:

Wonder if this will prompt Apple to start the iPhone 6 at $199 with 32 GB?

Irelandjnr says:

No, but it may happen if they had it on the cards.

cardfan says:

I'm pro amazon. Prime member all the way. Vine reviewer. But I seldom use their streaming except for exclusives like streaming 24. And I own a paperwhite kindle that I use frequently.

But I don't understand this pricing. Either make it cheap or arrange something special with att. They did neither. It'll flop. 199 for this or an iPhone? What a rough choice considering I get amazon's ecosystem already. And firefly is baked into their app which has been available for sometime. Maybe someone should do a review but it's a gimmick.

The 4 cameras are hardly worth some special effect vs battery and performance hit. The camera is just your typical smartphone one. The airplay wanna be feature isn't a big deal for those with apple TVs.

There's simply no compelling reason to get one. It's up to amazon to give me, a pro amazon user, one and they failed.

Taz89 says:

As a Amazon user what did you want?

Posted via the Android iMore App!

cardfan says:

I'd want more out of the ecosystem. If I'm going to buy an amazon phone with limited features, a forked android OS, and apps that pale in comparison with Apple's, at premium on contract, then it had better offer much more than the iphone does with amazon's ecosystem.

I was thinking a 5% discount off of any amazon purchase made with the phone. I bought Prime for free shipping. I use amazon to buy products, not stream music or video. If Amazon wants me buying more stuff with their phone, then make it compelling.

Irelandjnr says:

Too true. It needs BIG differentiators to warrant choosing it over an iPhone.

Taz89 says:

I think wanting 5% discount on all purchases is asking too much. If Amazon users are all about discounts then I can see why this phone is a fail at what it expects it's users to pay.

Posted via the Android iMore App!

cardfan says:

Why do you think this is too much? After all, consider what Amazon gets in return. They'd have a PoS device in your pocket. They'd have sold a premium priced device to you vs superior products from Samsung or Apple. They'd have you for the contract duration. You would use their services. You'd buy much more from them.

Taz89 says:

Isn't Amazon already working with tight margins, which is why they tend to out price others, I would think offering 5% on all purchases would hurt the already low margins.. Maybe a discount for products priced above X amount is reasonable. The only thing I think they messed up is with is pricing, thought they would be competitive with the nexus 5

Posted via the Android iMore App!

cardfan says:

However you slice it, discounts, initial pricing, data plan, I think we both agree they messed up with pricing. As is, I don't expect much from this. But that doesn't mean Amazon can't tweak things as we go along. I expect the price to fall or them to add incentives once any initial demand is met among their core users.

Rene Ritchie says:

Does the free year of Prime (essentially a $99 subsidy?) make it any more attractive, price-wise?

cardfan says:

It's just for the year. Most likely if you're considering this phone you'll already have prime. I like the idea of rewards better. Combine it with an amazon visa or something to get the max. Isn't the goal of amazon with this phone to have people buying stuff?

People seem to forget that Amazon isn't Apple or Samsung. They're a retailer. If I'm going to buy a point of sales device from them that also happens to makes calls then they better sweeten the deal. Because I'm taking a huge hit on the experience I can get from Apple or others at the same price while paying the same monthly to AT&T.

mattoaks says:

Yes it's only one year, but it's still $99. You pay $199 and you don't have to pay the $99 you would normally pay for a service. If they gave you two years free, the would then be giving you a phone for $1. Who wants Amazon Visa with a phone purchase. Can you imagine the laughing stock Amazon would have been if they made people get any rewards through a credit card. Cmon!

cardfan says:

I don't think you understood me about the Visa. I didn't mean offer it with the phone. But here's the info on that...http://www.amazon.com/gp/cobrandcard/marketing.html/ref=footer_cbcc?ie=U...

Alright, so Amazon is already offering 3% off with that card. Through subscribe and save program, they offer additional discounts. This phone? It's more of store card to me as well. Because frankly, there's no compelling reason to pay the same premium price for this phone (including monthly cell plan) vs iphone or leading phones from android makers or even Microsoft.

Amazon's main business is ecommerce. They aren't launching this to compete with Apple or disrupt the smartphone market. Any revenues from the sales of this phone are immaterial to their 19billion plus in ecommerce sales.

The real goal is to increase the number of Prime users because those users buy much more than non Prime users. But what you have to understand is that their key target audience are ALREADY prime users.

To get me to consider this phone, they have to make it compelling. Prime is like an annual fee for a credit card. Making it free for a year is nothing special.

weberm13 says:

"But the idea of a world with "Amazon Coins" in it makes me want to close the browser and flashy thing myself."

Perhaps the funniest thing ever written.

Rene Ritchie says:

I thought Xbox Points would be the end of that nonsense. So consumer hostile.

johnnybabble1976 says:

I am intrigued by this phone. It would be foolish to call this phone dead before you even try it. Amazon has lots of customers that loves there ecosystem. This phone will be a success, I don't see it being a flop at all

Rene Ritchie says:

I'm intrigued too. That's why I didn't dismiss it. I want to try it, but it's really a mixed bag for me. Not as clear as wanting to try an M8 or 1020 or even a Z10...

johnnybabble1976 says:

I don't think it's meant to compete with other flagships and don't need to do that to be successful it's going to be easy to sell it to customers already in the ecosystem and loves it especially those who have the kindle and love it.coupled with the fact that it comes with 12 months free amazon prime. Other than the fact that I like the apple ecosystem one of the reason I bought the iPad as opposed to another table was because I have the iphone and love it, so you could see the same thing happening to customers who own the kindle fire and love amazon rich content Ecosystem

Taz89 says:

It's funny you say the spec of the Amazon phone is outdated yet it's pretty much on par with the current 5s, higher res screen, more ram, higher res camera with ois, cpu is the only one that may be inferior but not by much. So even though I think Amazon have dropped the balls by not being more aggressive with pricing which is usually there thing, I don't think it's not worth the same amount as an iPhone in terms of hardware. Let's not forget apple charge plenty for much worse specs like the iPhone 4. I do wonder if this will see daylight outside of the US. I know the 3d stuff is gimmicky but it looks cool and in this case it seems to be done properly with out having to have a sweet spot or wear glasses and suffer headaches. It wouldn't make me buy one but I certainly wouldn't mind it on my next phone. I'm guessing some new imaginative games could be made with the 3d stuff. Imagine a game like the room or monumental Valley using this 3d aspect.
Posted via the Android iMore App!

Rene Ritchie says:

So it's on par with a phone announced 9 months ago?

How does it compare with the latest Android hardware?

Taz89 says:

Didn't apple users once say it's not about the specs but the user experience? If the Amazon phone performs just as good as any other phone then does it matter. It has a high enough screen for most, more than enough ram for most, powerful enough cpu for most. The phone this people is targeting isn't those who want go to bed thinking about QHD screen or 3gb ram etc. It beats the 5s in most aspect to be fair.
Posted via the Android iMore App!

Ledsteplin says:

WOW! It's got icons and stuff!

Ronnie Hochhalter says:

Thanks Mr. Ritchie for another great article. I don't find anything exciting about this mobile device from Amazon. IMO the construction of this device looks as disappointing as the software. I am the type of customer that is captured by craftsmanship as well as functionality, this is why I continue to choose Apple products. I would just like to say, that I really appreciate what you and Peter do for iMore.

Valan Chan says:

I live in Hong Kong and use google maps daily since it is far better for Hong Kong than Apple Maps are ... at the moment.

It must be painful to deal with some companies and government departments but get the deals done quick.

SockRolid says:

The Fire Phone is what you get when you mash up a bunch of features that Bezos thinks are cool. Different from iPhone + iOS, yes. But the user ends up fighting through one WTF moment after another. You f-ed up your usability for no good reason.

No, you need world-class designers to create a great user experience. The end-user experience is everything. If you forget that, you end up with a joke. An un-funny joke.

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williamsbh76 says:

I get what you're saying but the features are gimmicky at best. The whole thing is based on roping you in and getting you to buy Amazon which is exactly what they need to do. This phone is not for hard core Apple or Android users. This is for the everyday people who spend the $h!t out of money buying anything and everything that looks cool, the post QVC crowd. I see my aunt having one of these. She buys immense amounts of crap just to be buying and because she sees it as a deal. She would buy one of these in a heartbeat, brag to me what it does (3D screen, banging camera, and the firefly button). She will never use apps, she'll take pictures that will never get downloaded off the phone, and buy even more $h!t she doesn't need. She'll feel like she has the best of the best and I'll let her believe it all day long lol.

PK0702 says:

Seriously canada is nothing more than a U.S. territory.

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freeS says:

Amazone video works in Germany. (Former lovefilm.de) but it is not good.

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freeS says:

I thing this comment is absolutely right. The main target is not apple, it's android phones. In theory you get a nice integrated android phone, with a bunch of extras. Isn't the kindle fire one of the best selling tablets after the iPad? So I guess this is the niche amazone will capture. People who want a better android. More help. More integrated and with free shipping ;-)

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CharlesCopley says:

Not only is whole phone is both geared into making much easier to buy things in general, and encourages impulsive buying, it forces you though to buy from only one market. Firefly is little more than a qr reader with some AI capabilities.

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ctafield says:

Is Amazon Video the same as Amazon Prime Video? If so, then we do have that here in the UK too (and yes, without the need for a US credit card).

Lt_Solorna says:

The Fire phone 3D is similar to the Nintendo 3DS XL's 3D. A gimmick that didn't really work because without glasses you need to be in the sweet-spot 99.99% of the time. The rest of it could work, but we will have to see as summer reaches into Autumn and then Winter once use is done by people.

Taz89 says:

100% wrong, there is no need for a sweet spot the way Amazon is doing "3d".Nintendo used a special display that the eyes had to be in a specific spot. Amazon uses the camera's which tracks your face and eyes so you see the 3d effect from any spot.

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Stevo-Pivo says:

Tough market. I wish them all the best. I will continue to remain an "engaged" customer through their iOS apps.

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mikenyc2 says:

I think you miss the point of an Amazon phone. It isn't suppose to be an Apple or Android killer. It is meant to be yet another device to help sell stuff. That's it, plain and simple.

richard451 says:

For a phone that means nothing to Apple and its consumers, this phone is generating a lot of interest from Apple fan sites.

It is a bit odd to see Rene tout specs over features. Seems very "Androidish" to me (and even that isn't completely correct as the AndroidCentral 2013 phone of the year was also the least impressive spec wise)

SockRolid says:

"...the perplexing nature of the Fire Phone itself, which seems equal parts old and new, clever and silly, attractive and repulsive."

I image Apple will have no response to Fire Phone, public or private, other than simply continuing with their current iPhone development and release process. They've seen all manner of ill-conceived would-be competition.

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
- Napoleon

Zaft says:

I smell facebook phone all over again...

Elmo MS says:

Last night I noted a tweet that came through John Gruber to the effect that the front facing camera comes with an API that enables developers to have a camera lock into your face and demand that you pay attention to an ad they want to present. That, if true, sucks beyond all sucktitaneousness.

ChrisFricke says:

Anyone remember the Jitterbug? It was the phone for old people without all those "pesky apps". You wanted the weather - don't bother with the confusing app on the tiny unreadable screen: push a button and a nice young man will tell you the weather personally. Genius!

This is like that - only 5 years later... There might just be a market for this. The question is: Will they find enough of it to be profitable?

Also - there's a lot of harping on the hardware specs... which is interesting from iMore because they touted for years that specs don't matter. Because they don't (within reason). The experience matters. Time will tell if this can deliver on that front.

blacktrainstudio says:

Great article. I concur. The 3D is a gimmicky 'wiz-bang' feature that is a novelty and will wear out fast. There's nothing compelling about the Amazon phone and when the iPhone 6 comes out this will be old news pretty fast.

Jordan Sanford says:

I think Amazon coming out with there own android based phone is great, but I honestly don't like how controlling Thr Amazon system is and how outdated it is, like it's pointless because newer android phones have better software

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