Amazon unveils Fire phone, bets on 3D

Firefly button scans objects so you can buy them.

Will 3D fly for Amazon Fire, Amazon's newly unveiled phone?

Four low-power sensor cameras on the phone track your vision, providing a 3D effect glued to your eyes, even when you move and tilt the phone around. Imagine a 3DS display that adapts to where your eyes are (and doesn't make your head hurt, I hope).

This "dynamic perspective" is what visually sets the Fire phone apart, and will allow you to peek around "corners, obstacles and other objects" in games, Amazon wrote on its website.

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Oh my god it's MASSIVE!

There's a gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor stuffed in. You can navigate the Fire phone by tilting it, and there's potential for game controls here too.

The other key invention for Fire is a dedicated Firefly button. This doesn't have anything to do with loading Joss Whedon's sci-fi television show, sadly - but it has everything to do with camera-scanning objects and matching them to Amazon's huge database so that you can buy them.

You can also scan pictures that have phone numbers or contact details on - business cards - and the Fire phone will pick them out for you.

Speaking of TV shows: each Fire phone comes with one year gratis Amazon Prime membership. That's the streaming film and television service.

Those two things - Firefly and Prime - suggest this phone is a portal to Amazon's already popular online business. Oh, and books, obviously.

Games weren't talked about so much, but Amazon said to look for "exclusive new titles from Amazon Game Studios later this summer".

There's no UK pricing or date yet. Amazon told TechRadar that Brits should "stay tuned" for information. Given that it took Amazon a year to bring Kindle to the UK, and that we're still waiting for Amazon Fire TV, I wouldn't stay too tuned.

The Amazon Fire phone is comparable in price to the flagship iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones in the US. With a phone contract it's $199 (32GB) or $299 (64GB). Solus it's $649/$749.

There's more detail on the bitty Amazon Fire phone features - unlimited photo storage! - on Amazon's website.

Here are the full specs:

  • Size: 5.5" x 2.6" x 0.35" (139.2mm x 66.5mm x 8.9mm)
  • Weight: 5.64 ounces (160 grams)
  • Processor: 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM
  • Display: 4.7" HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi, 590 cd/m2 brightness (typical), 1000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • Cameras: 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
  • OS: Fire OS 3.5.0
  • Storage: 32 GB or 64 GB
  • Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content, and photos taken with Fire phone
  • Battery: Battery size: 2400mAh. Talk time: up to 22 hours; standby time: up to 285 hours. Video playback: up to 11 hours; audio playback: up to 65 hours
  • Video recording: 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps (front- and rear-facing cameras)
  • Audio playback: Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio processing
  • TV and Video: Supports screen mirroring and Second Screen
  • Content formats supported: Audio: Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, PCM/WAVE, AAC LC/ELD, HE-AAC (v1 & v2), AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AMR-WB+, Audible Enhanced format (AAX); Video: MPEG4, VP8, H.264/MPEG4/AVC,MPEG4 SP, H.263,AVI,HDCP2.x, PlayReady DRM; Images: JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, GIF87a,GIF89a; Viewable docs: PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, DOC, DOCX, Kindle (AZW), KF8, TXT
  • Location: GPS, Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi/Cellular location, and Digital compass
  • Cellular: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz), Quad-band GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 9 bands of LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 20), supports carrier aggregation
  • Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, up to 300 Mbps with channel bonding; Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology; NFC enabled
  • Headphones: Premium, tangle-free headphones with remote and mic
  • Rating for hearing aids: M4, T4
  • SIM Card: Pre-installed Nano SIM card
  • Ports: Micro USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone
  • Warranty and Service: 1-year Limited Warranty included
  • Included in the Box: Amazon Fire Phone with Fire OS 3.5.0, Premium headphones with remote and mic, Micro USB to USB charging cable, USB power adapter (5W), Quick Start Guide

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