Jeff Bezos unveiled an Amazon smartphone today, appropriately enough called the Amazon Fire Phone. Nothing really surprising about that; analysts have been predicting the release of an Amazon phone for quite some time (I did a search, and found published reports from back in 2012), and, in the last week, AT&T leaked that they would be the exclusive carrier of this new device.
The Amazon phone will feature a 3D display (a benefit of two recent smartphones, the HTC Evo 3D & LG Optimus 3D, neither of which were successful) which, from what I’ve read, adds an effect behind the screen inside of “popping out”. According to Mashable’s live blog of the event, Bezos showed off the 3D display in the way he hopes people use it– to browse and shop online. Scrolling webpages can be done simply by tilting the phone, which features Gorilla Glass on both sides and will come with magnetic headphone to control tangling of the wires.
Amazon web services got a product tie-in, as Bezos told the crowd that Amazon Fire phone users will be given free unlimited storage on the cloud for their photos; however, videos won’t be included in the free plan initially. The Kindle Fire’s MayDay service will be given for free as well, and a new service called FireFly, which will enable smartphone users to scan any product, and even listen to music or TV (just like Shazam) to find them on Amazon’s site.
Though Amazon has had some tremendous successes as of late, I’m just not personally sure that this phone offers enough to convince Android or iOS users to switch. While no official OS was announced (scary in its own right), it is assumed the Amazon Fire will operate on a paired-down version of Android; while the company is trying to convince developers to port their products over to the Amazon Web Store, until more companies jump on this, Amazon phone users are going to be left with little in terms of apps. That leaves the Amazon Fire at a serious disadvantage; one that they’ll need to overcome in order to compete in the space.
If the press response to this product announcement is any indication, Amazon has an up-hill battle to fight.
Just an hour following the event (which was not LiveStreamed, either), the Amazon Fire Phone can’t be found as a top trend on Twitter. Unlike when the company previewed Amazon Fire TV, there’s no visible mention of the new smartphone on their website. There’s barely a mention on many popular tech sites, and for a relatively slow news-day, it’s not hitting the top of my Google News results.
Could that all be a sign of the future for this Amazon phone?
I won’t count out anything that Amazon does until some time as passed, as they do have a reputation for putting out solid products and services. However, with the rumored 5-year timeframe the Amazon Fire took to be developed, Samsung, HTC, Apple, and more have gained strong footholds in the smartphone market– ones that will be tough to break through unless the apps and exclusive content are soon to come.
What do you think about the Amazon Fire phone? Is it too early to tell, or do you think the company is too late with this product? Let me know below!