2The Amazon Fire Phone
AT&T is for now the exclusive provider of the Amazon Fire. The 32GB version is $199 with a two-year contract, or a monthly pricing plan can be had for $27.09 or $32.40 (depending on how quickly you want to be able to upgrade). The Fire comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Prime (a $99 value) and offers unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive.
3Pricing and Availability
The Amazon fire has a 4.7-inch HD LCD display with a resolution of 1,280 by 720 and 315 pixels per inch. It weighs 5.64 ounces—a weight that seems to derive in large part from the back glass-like panel, which mimics the display—and measures 5.5 by 2.6 by 0.35 inches. It has a 1.2Hz quad-core Snapdragon processor and comes in 32- and 64GB options.
6Shopping Made (Too?) Easy
Hold down the Firefly button and little “fireflies”—or scrubbing bubbles, as it’s easy to think of them—pop up and go to work, running to edges of something, tasting around logos and text and figuring out what something is. Firefly can identify songs, movies and TV shows, grocery items, toys and more.
Amazon doesn’t let Firefly waste an opportunity. Here, an identifier popped up at the bottom, but because Amazon doesn’t have the Tom’s toothpaste I scanned, it offered me Tom’s moisturizer instead. Firefly, and the one-year Prime subscription included with Fire, make it easy to add things to an Amazon cart that one otherwise likely wouldn’t. Convenient? Yes. Something worth giving some thought to? Yes, again.
10A New Way to See Things
The Fire was rumored to be a 3D phone, and it does have an element of that. The Lock screens encourage a user to wobble them around, like a child’s hologram card, and sprinkled throughout the phone are bits that have extra motion and depth to them, thanks to a sensor-rich feature called Dynamic Perspective. The technology behind it will be as cool as developers can make it. In some instances, it’s already great, and in others, it’s nauseating. This game offers the option of using one’s head to control the snowboarder.
After I tapped on a dress, moving the phone subtly left to right shifted through the additional photos of the dress. Maybe practice helps, but sometimes I found it worked perfectly, sometimes it was too quick and sometimes the marching models refused to be still. It can be tricky to figure out what subtle movement yields what results. But, no doubt, there’s potential there.
Dynamic Perspective can also play a part in reading sites in the Silk browser. Tipping the phone more or less dramatically makes the story advance or retreat at different speeds, so you don’t have to scroll as you read. The sensors can also watch where your eyes are on the screen if you’d rather not use your wrist so much. In using the Fire, there’s a lot of: “Does that neat feature work here? No. How about here? Ah, yes.”
Amazon’s Mayday service—24/7/365 access to a pleasant person you can see but who can’t see you—is also included. And it’s great. While they can’t solve any problem, they can walk users through features on the phone and really work hard to address every issue. They also answer each call in an average of 15 minutes. It sets a new bar for customer service.