The world's most famous ecommerce merchant stood there and spoke about 'a better phone for our most engaged customers'. The Fire Phone, which Amazon announced yesterday, is indeed a significant device aimed squarely at the intersection of marketing and mobile technology. It has unremarkable hardware except for tangle resistant ear buds and four forward facing, infrared capable head tracking cameras that support Amazon's version of 3D called Dynamic Perspective. The Verge summarized the full feature set by listing the 'the 10 coolest things' about the new phone and Engadget published a 'hands on' account of what it is like to use it. Business Insider found some additional features that makes the Fire Phone a surprisingly strong option for power business users. A comparison showing how the Fire Phone's specs compare to three leading Androids and the iPhone 5S was provided by the WSJ.
Undoubtedly the coolest feature to Amazon's line managers is the prominence of Firefly, a powerful scanning and identification system that attempts to turn the world into a virtual showroom for Amazon merchandise, music and video. Building upon the existing features of Amazon Flow, a dedicated Firefly button stands ready to figure out what the phone is looking at or listening to along with its listing on Amazon (the phone's potential for privacy abuse puts Facebook to shame). ReadWrite published 7 examples of Firefly in real world action. Fire Phone also has a powerful concierge service called 'Mayday', in case the user needs help figuring out what to buy.
Criticism of the Fire Phone was focused not on its features but on its own business model. The Fire OS 3.5 operating system is Android based but will still require additional overhead for developers. The only carrier will be AT&T and it will be priced like an iPhone, failing to offer a heavily subsidized price to support its impressive salesmanship skills.