Amazon unveils new phone: Amazon Fire Phone big on new features that benefit Amazon
Amazon enters the mobile market with a serious smartphone, though whether it does enough to make people switch ecosystems is hard to say
The new Amazon smartphone, Amazon Fire, has been unveiled at an event today by CEO Jeff Bezos and as I have no access to a hands-on demonstration will modestly avoid any hard conclusions about the phone, even if I have some impressions.
First the particulars: the new phone has excellent specs, from its chip to its display, as the company was not interested in simply a me-too smartphone. The company is emphasizing the camera (13MP), what is calling Dynamic Perspective (the 3D element), Firefly (its OCR) feature, and its Mayday feature.
The phone uses, of course, Amazon’s own brand of Android, though that word was rarely mentioned during the event.
But what does the phone do that you can’t do now? Mostly it helps you buy things from Amazon, as well as keep you inside that ecosystem if you already inside it – which few are.
That leads to my biggest impression of the new device: that getting iPhone users to switch will be difficult as only a phone that is so incredibly superior to the iPhone 5s stands any chance of doing that. But if you own an Android phone, well, this is a serious option, assuming you are already using AT&T – if not, well, maybe in a year or so it will be available on other carriers.
The Amazon Fire Phone will be available in about five weeks and at the same price points as other high-end phones: $199 for the 32MB model with a 2 year contract. You can a year of Amazon Prime for that price, and if you are already a Prime member then you get a year added on – that might persuade a few buyers.
In fact, it was an interesting coincidence that at the same time Jeff Bezos was unveiling his phone, Adobe was demoing the new features of their Creative Cloud desktop and mobile apps. The presentation was, to be honest, a bore. But there were lots of cool new features demonstrated, lots of things that designers, photographers, filmmakers will use every day and consider vital.
And all the while Adobe was demonstrating their new apps on Macs and iPads. All the while I was thinking how much all these new mobile apps that Adobe have launched was only reinforcing the notion that a serious designer, a serious publisher works on the Apple system, and only developers of Android second (though the reality is that Adobe offers apps for Windows and Android, of course).
We’ll see if the new phone proves a hit, and by doing so makes a serious impact on the mobile market.