Initial reviews of Amazon’s newly unveiled Fire Phone have been mostly positive.
The smartphone packs a new feature called Firefly. Just by scanning a real-world item — a book or a movie poster for example — using leads such as barcodes or phone numbers, the handset will take a customer to related products available on Amazon, and offer relevant information as well.
As a key feature, the dedicated Firefly button on the side suggests that the new phone is mostly about bringing customers into Amazon’s ecosystem and turning them into regular online shoppers.Firefly can also direct customers to related products based on the sound recordings of a song or a movie scene.
Firefly is capable of recognizing over 100 million items, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos said as he unveiled the new phone at an event in Seattle on Wednesday. That includes 245,000 movies and TV episodes, 160 live TV channels, 35 million songs and 70 million products.
Simply put, this is a phone built to be a pocket Amazon pop-up store. The phone, like Amazon’s other products such as e-readers, tablets and set-top box, is aimed at boosting demand for Amazon’s deep coffers of content.
Other cool features include a 3D screen enabled by four cameras, and face detection function that allows users to scroll the phone using only their eyes.
The phone will be available exclusively through AT&T, with a 32GB model costing US$199 with a two-year contract. Pre-orders have already begun. The Fire Phone will also come with one year of Amazon Prime membership for free. As the membership normally costs US$99 per year, the offer is pretty attractive to users.
Amazon’s shares gained 2.7 percent in New York trading Wednesday.
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