Most of us know Amazon.com to be one of the largest online shopping stores on earth. It is probably the best too and some of you might have done some purchases in it, I know I have. If you have done some shopping in Amazon.com and you have paid some attention to it you might find that they are into tech as well. They make the Amazon Kindle e-readers and the Amazon Kindle Fire 7-inches tablet. Both are great devices in their own right. There’s also, recently the Amazon Fire TV. All of these devices, though potent and great have one thing in common. They never made it to our shores, they never came to Malaysia. But this post isn’t to spread the good news that they are coming.
Last night Amazon launched a new gadget. Tablet? Nah. e-Reader? Nope. It is actually a smartphone. So let me introduce the Amazon Fire to you. The Amazon Fire phone is Amazon’s first ever smartphone and it was not much of a surprise really. It was really the next step for Amazon since entering the gadget foray. More about the phone starting with the processor, it is powered by the top of the mill Snapdragon 800 running at 2.3GHz with the support of 2GB of RAM. These two alone are already a popular combination in the highest ends of modern smartphones so it wouldn’t surprise us if this thing is snappy. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 is also supported by one Adreno 330 graphics processor, cutting edge stuff this device. Amazon decided to also fit the phone with a 13-MegaPixel camera at the back with image stabilisation and f/2.0 aperture, comparable to plenty of high end devices out there. The camera features doesn’t end there, it has a dedicated button to be used just to capture photos, not bad huh? They offer the phone with 32GB or 64GB of physical storage. If that is not enough you get an unlimited space of cloud storage at your disposal courtesy of Amazon too. Enclosing all these is a 4.7-inches IPS screen displaying at HD 1280 x 720 pixels. There is this thing called the dynamic gesture sensor on the device which is basically just four small cameras mounted on each front corner of the device. The device is juiced up by a 2400 mAh battery that is unfortunately non-removable. The rest of the hardware that is featured is pretty standard by now; Wi-Fi 802.11ac, NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, LTE support. Packed along with the phone is a tangle free premium headphones that are supported by the built in Dolby Digital Plus in the phone itself. All in all, pretty impressive hardware. Now lets take a look at what is interesting with the phone. It has, on top of the usual array of sensors on the phone and the camera at the back, there is four additional small camera point towards you from each corner of the phone. They call it Dynamic Perspective Sensor, what it does is detect movements of the phone. Why? The device runs on the Fire OS 3.5.0 on top of Android. The Fire OS has something called a dynamic perspective. It is basically motion control but based on how you hold the device. You can tilt your phone, swivel it, and peek at it in different apps to control your apps and phone without ever touching the screen. Pretty cool if you ask me but I am curious on the effectiveness of its implementation.
Amazon also took the time to fit the device with two extra buttons. While the rest of the competition wants to cut down the number or buttons, Amazon went the other way. The more ordinary and sensible button to add is the camera clicker. Makes sense, you can use it without touching the screen which sometimes can get annoying and inaccurate (you autofocus instead of snapping a photo). Another button is a unique one; the Firefly button. This button is truly a game changer I believe. Imagine while you are driving around town with the radio on and a song you like comes on. You don’t know the name, you don’t know the artist. First thing you do nowadays is you flip out your phone and then browse through your homepage or your apps list and then launch something like a SoundHound or Shazam or something similar. With this phone, all you do is flip out your phone, unlock it, press a button, done. Imagine going through a website to find contacts, address and things like that. Normally we need to highlight the texts then put it in notes or save it in your phone as a contact. With the Firefly button, you find the things that you want, press the button, save the number or whatever details you want, done. So much faster, so much more fluid, so much quicker. This feature packed phone sounds amazing in its own rights. Fitted with the top of the line hardware you find on the market today it would not surprise if it performs just as well as any other flagships out there. Price without contract starts from $649 (RM2077) for the 32GB version while the 64GB version is another additional $100 (RM320). Right now the device is AT&T exclusive, which means that the device would only be available for the American market. So when is it coming to Malaysia, this is the kicker; like other products from Amazon, we don’t know whether it will make it here officially or not.