(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. jumped into the smartphone market with a handset called Fire Phone that is closely tied to the Web retailer’s other services, ramping up competition with Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said at an event in Seattle today that Fire Phone, which is black with a rubber frame and 4.7-inch display, will give consumers direct access to other devices and services from the company. The handset features 3-D viewing and image-recognition technology to make it simpler for users to buy items from Amazon’s Web store. The phone will start at $199.99 and be available on July 25, with AT&T Inc. as the wireless carrier, the company said.
“You have to be patient, you have to work at it and you have to obsess about the smallest of details,” Bezos said at the event, referring to Amazon’s hardware approach. He said he had been asked for years when Amazon would have a phone, and waited until the company could roll out something unique.
The introduction continues Amazon’s evolution from online book seller to global technology titan with its hands in a growing number of businesses. The world’s largest online retailer has debuted a variety of consumer electronics devices, including e-readers, tablets and TV set-top boxes, as a way to get its online store and digital services more directly in front of customers.
It’s finally here: Fire Phone
The phone looks like any other full touchscreen smartphone, but the handset’s key differentiating features revolve around a unique combination of sensors and four front-facing cameras that track the user’s head in order to facilitate a variety of 3D effects and gesture controls – a custom-designed sensor system that responds to how you hold, view, and move your phone.
You can experience interactions not possible on other smartphones. Tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts with one hand. Dive into a new class of immersive apps and games—peek to see detailed views of clothing, shoes, and more in the new Amazon Shopping app for Fire phone, or take on a character’s viewpoint to see around corners and obstacles in games.
Firefly technology allows you to quickly identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products—simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover useful information and take action in seconds.
Fire phone features a custom-tuned 13 megapixel camera system, with a fast five-element wide aperturef/2.0 lens for crisp, beautiful images. With optical image stabilization, Fire phone keeps the shutter open up to four times longer for stunning shots, even in low light conditions.
Fire phone also featured hardened glass from Gorilla Glass both on the front and back for style and functionality.