Amazon’s 3D smartphone “Fire Phone” is here

At 13o pm Eastern time today, Amazon unveiled its new 3D smartphone, the “Fire Phone.”

You can order the Amazon Fire Phone, 64GB (AT&T) smartphone here (AMERICAblog will get a portion of the proceeds).

The phone has a 4.7 inch HD display, and a rubberized frame and Gorilla Glass on both sides, to help make it less breakable than the ever-fragile iPhone.

It has a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 2g of RAM.

The Amazon "Fire Phone" new 3D smartphone. (Image courtesy of Engadget.)

The Amazon “Fire Phone” new 3D smartphone. (Image courtesy of Engadget.)

And wow, a 13mp rare-facing f2.0 camera. That’s nice. Optical image stabilization.

Unlimited photo store on Amazon’s cloud drive.

Tangle-free cables on the earbuds!

And there’s a new feature called Firefly, which lets you identify objects with your camera and find them online to buy them. Here’s how TechCrunch describes it:

Firefly can detect phone numbers, movies, books, games, CDs, food just by pointing your camera at them.

I have to say that I’m impressed.  I will be needing a new phone soon, and still feel a lot of momentum to stay with my iPhone, but color me intrigued.

You can order the Amazon Fire Phone, 64GB (AT&T) smartphone here (AMERICAblog will get a portion of the proceeds).

Here’s some earlier reporting from BGR….

According to tech site BGR, the Amazon smartphone will run a version of the Android operating system, but with two big differences.


According to details from multiple sources, Amazon’s first phone will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and it will also include 2GB of RAM. It will run a heavily customized version of Google’s Android operating system similar to the version that powers Amazon’s tablets.

Our sources state that the phone’s display will measure 4.7 inches diagonally, making the handset’s screen a bit smaller than recent flagship offerings from Samsung and HTC. The handset also have comparatively low pixel density, featuring 720p HD resolution compared to 1080p HD resolution on many rival devices.

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 is also rumored to feature a 4.7-inch screen with Retina resolution that falls short of full HD.

First, the phone will offer a number of 3D effects. More from a separate BGR article:

Multiple trusted sources tell us that Amazon’s upcoming handset will utilize a unique combination of cameras, sensors and software to dramatically change the way users interact with a smartphone. As we detailed in an earlier report, the company’s first smartphone will feature four low-power infrared cameras on the face of the device that track the position of the user’s head in relation to the phone’s display.

This unique hardware combination of tracking cameras and sensors will facilitate a variety of 3D effects on Amazon’s smartphone, as we reported. These effects will be present in several stock Amazon apps as well as some third-party apps available for download from the Amazon Appstore.

Second, the Amazon smartphone will offer an entire new way to navigate the phone’s software, including new gestures such as tilting the phone in order to pull up more information. (This reminds me of how with the iPhone, for example, if you’re looking at the calculator, then turn your phone 90 degree, it becomes a rather complicated scientific calculator.)

More on tilting:

In the phone’s email and calendar apps where small icons are displayed with no labels, a slight tilt will reveal labels beneath each icon, informing the user of its function. If the user performs a tilt gesture after searching for a restaurant in the maps app, Yelp ratings will appear on top of the various results plotted on the map.

In Amazon’s video store, a tilt gesture displays IMDb ratings on top of movie thumbnails. And when viewing products on, gestures might cycle through images to reveal different product views.

BGR has a lot more on the various things that tilting the Amazon phone will do. It sounds cool, but remains to be seen.

This sounds kind of cool too:

Amazon’s phone includes a feature that will allow users to capture images of signs and other real-life objects with printed text using the device’s primary rear camera. The software will then automatically recognize the text and convert it into a note using optical character recognition (OCR) and other technology.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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44 Responses to “Amazon’s 3D smartphone “Fire Phone” is here”

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  3. GarySFBCN says:

    Yeah, I believe you over CNET, Droid Life, Yahoo News, etc.

    From CNET:

    Amazon’s big blind spot: Google

    While there’s no doubt you’ll be able to find nearly all of the apps you want in the Amazon Appstore, there is one big gaping hole — Google. There are no official Google apps available for the Fire Phone (or the Kindle Fire tablets for that matter), so you’ll need to find a third-party alternative for Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube. In their place, Amazon built its own email, maps, and calendar apps, which come preinstalled on the phone. You can sign in with your Google account to use them to manage your contacts, email, and calendar, but you won’t get the same experience that you would using an official Google app.

    If the lack of Google apps is a deal breaker for you, don’t despair quite yet. You can sideload Gmail, Chrome, and Maps apps on the Kindle Fire, and you’ll likely be able to do the same on the Fire Phone. We won’t know for sure until we can play around with the phone in the coming weeks.

  4. discus_sucks_ass says:

    repeating someone elses exaggerations and lies does not release you from guilt for lying…

  5. lucyboots says:

    Ugh, customized OS is a horrible idea. I was curious but now I’m not.

  6. THEferd says:

    It’ll be a laugh if a patent issues on the idea of tilting the phone to make it do something.

  7. GarySFBCN says:

    Go talk to the people at Droid Life – the linked article.

    And seriously, I don’t need multiple layers of data-collection apps on top of the Youtube channel.

    Anyone who thinks that this device is a good buy has no credibility.

  8. AdmNaismith says:

    Blocked or not, Amazon keeps too tight a hold on their devices to do me any good.

  9. discus_sucks_ass says:

    they are not “blocked” and in fact there are many Youtube apps in the Amazon app store and yes you can get to a “Newsstand” (not sure if it has all the same ones, but it’s not “blocked”) and it has it’s own browser so why would you install Chrome? Also Gmail clients you can install from Amazon…

    So what was your point again?

  10. discus_sucks_ass says:

    I have had 3 Kindles and never once had an app “blocked”, some of them do not work with Amazon’s version of Android or the sensors but not “blocked”

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  12. AdmNaismith says:

    My problem with amazon hardware is that Amazon knows my every move. I mean, tablets and smartphones already report our every move back to their corporate masters, but this is one level higher what with Amazon urging you to buy (from them, natch) every damn thing the phone sees.

    Amazon also blocks the use of any apps it doesn’t want you to use, pretty much the opposite of the way I use my computing devices.

    Stellar specs, but I won’t be Amazon’s bitch.

  13. GarySFBCN says:

    If you drive a modern car, data is going someplace. If you use your ATM, credit card, Safeway discount card or Sports Authority, Walgreens etc cards, your data is going someplace. If you order anything online, your data is going someplace.

    And if you post here or on any other blog, your data is going someplace.

    Using Linux may help conceal your privacy, but not if you do anything, including making phone calls.

  14. Dameocrat says:

    I care about privacy, and don’t want a consumerist device. I don’t want google, apple, microsoft, or amazon knowing when I eat, sleep, where I go on vacation, and what I buy. I would prefer and Linux or BSD based phone that respects my privacy, and isn’t just trying to sell me stuff. I get the sense you are a paid by google to defend google against a competitor.

  15. GarySFBCN says:

    OK, I bought a Nexus 5 and it doesn’t have MicroSD (I thought I would die) nor a replaceable battery. But it turns out that you can replace the battery, so it isn’t a ‘swappable’ battery when you are out of juice.

    As for the MicroSD, I bought one of these and it is fucking awesome. It is both portable power and a WiFi (it has it’s own WiFi) file server, for up to 5 devices, simultaneously:

    Here is how you replace your Nexus 5 battery:

  16. GarySFBCN says:

    Not even a close comparison. Firstly, you can’t install Windows, IOS, etc on the Amazon Fire phone. Actually, you can’t change the OS on ANY popular cellphone. I don’t know why you’d want to do that.

    And on any Android phone, you can have Google apps and not use them. My last Android HTC didn’t have a native Gmail app – I had to add one. But on the Fire, you don’t even have the option of using ever using Gmail, Google Maps or many other apps that many of us use a lot.

  17. Dameocrat says:

    I am not in the market for any kind of locked down phone, or tablet, but lets be honest here in android you are not allowed to remove google apps so it is locked too. Nor are you allowed to install any other OS but Android, on the Arm based Smartphones/Tablets. What I would like is an Intel based smartphone, or tablet, that allows me to install any OS I would like, whether it be Windows, Android, Linux, OSX, IOS, FirefoxOS, or BSD.

  18. Tatts says:

    That’s what I have too–$35/month with an HTC, and it’s more than I need.

  19. Jimmy says:

    It looks like a pretty cool phone. Unfortunately, the Amazon Appstore just isn’t on par with Apple or Google. They’ve certainly done a good job of getting some of the big names in apps to create for their Kindle and Fire products but it has a long way to go. I own a Fire tablet, but it’s strictly to read books and magazines, watch movies and play a small number of games that work good on their bastardized version of Android. Besides, some of Amazon’s recent dust-ups with content providers have forced me to rethink whether I want to keep feeding that beast.

  20. Tatts says:

    I have not had your experience at all, and I have all the capabilities of my friends’ iPhones for 20% of the cost–literally 20%–HTC on sale retail, no contract.

  21. Tatts says:

    I like to use the Sky Map to spot the Space Station as it orbits (and to see where it is even if it on the other side of the earth).

  22. Tatts says:

    “Firefly can detect phone numbers, movies, books, games, CDs, food just by pointing your camera at them.”

    I have that feature on my Android phone. It’s called Google Goggles, available in the Google Play Store. It will capture an image and find that same image online and link to it, or find prices online if you’re in a store shopping, etc.

    Scan the Sigur Ros white CD (no lettering, just abstract black/white/grey jumble), and it identifies it, links to the video, Wikipedia article, Amazon to buy it, etc. It found our department’s logo used on a university’s website. A 3″x5″ closeup of a 24″x36″ poster linked right to the Cirque Du Soleil show it was from. It’s cool to experiment with, and uncanny at times.

    But I find it has limited usefulness even though it works as claimed. I just don’t need what it does.

  23. Zorba says:

    Yes, Bec, I also live in the boonies and our choices are limited.
    OTOH, I love living out in the boonies. We have lots of trees, lovely scenery, it’s quiet, we do a lot of walking in the woods. We’re near the top of a mountain, a half-mile down from the Appalachian Trail. Couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place. ;-)

  24. BeccaM says:

    For me, the breaking “no way” point was the fact you can’t add memory via MicroSD card nor change the battery without sending it back to the factory.

  25. Zorba says:


  26. Number Six says:

    Maybe, but the upside is sooooooooooooooo nice.

  27. Number Six says:

    Yes, it is NSA free. I repeat, there is NO charge for the NSA on this phone. It is free.

  28. Number Six says:

    The problem with Android isn’t the OS, it’s the tiny piece of rat brain they use as the central wetware — no, wait, I’m thinking of Cyborg.

    Sorry, it’s not available on the open market yet. But the Village is working on it.

  29. GarySFBCN says:

    Same here. With their excellent design and approach Apple really forced the industry to develop some incredible products. But Apple’s “proprietary everything” approach keeps me from ever owning one of their products.

  30. GarySFBCN says:

    It isn’t just about getting messages right away. I camp a lot and am often star-gazing. Without using any of my phone’s minutes/data, I can enable the GPS, open Google Sky, hold my phone above my head and identify all the stars, planets, etc. See the first portion of this video to get an idea. There are thousands of other uses: Kitchen timer (good for the kitchen, but also parking meters), pay parking meters or add time to them remotely, convert metric, measure decibels, play music, navigate, etc. But this Amazon phone may block some of this free stuff.

  31. GarySFBCN says:

    While the camera specs are AWESOME, be advised that it appears that major Google apps are being blocked on this phone. Because of this, I can never use this phone:

    “What it doesn’t have, is access to any of Google’s apps. You will notice that Gmail, Google Maps, Hangouts, Google+, Google Calendar, Chrome, Drive, and YouTube are no where to be found. You also won’t see Google Play, meaning you won’t have access to Google’s own growing app ecosystem or media library through apps like Play Movies and TV, Books, Newsstand, or Music.

    And that, my friends, is the biggest problem with the Fire Phone or Fire tablets or the Fire TV, for that matter. If you want the Google experience, which means access to all of Google’s native apps, you won’t get it here.”

  32. kingstonbears says:

    I’m 63 years old and wonder if this would make a great “first” cellphone. Seriously, I could never figure out what was so damn important that it couldn’t wait until I got home to my land line phone.

  33. Max_1 says:

    Is it NSA free?
    Or is the NSA a “feature”?

  34. BeccaM says:

    Our choice here is Verizon and… well, that’s it. Verizon. And no 3G or 4GLTE or any of those other fancy acronyms. And inside the house, it’s 3 bars of reception, maybe 4 outside.

    There is a downside to living out in the boonies.

  35. I have Verizon, if only because AT&T doesn’t work well in the chicago burbs, not with the iphone 4s at least.

  36. Yep, I gave up AT&T because it doesn’t work well with the iphone in – get this – the Chicago suburbs! That distant far-off land…

  37. BeccaM says:

    Android is the OS for me. I loathe closed architectures.

  38. BeccaM says:

    AT&T network means it wouldn’t work where I live. Not reliably anyway. Looks like a cool phone though.

  39. nicho says:

    I had an Android phone. Worst two years ever. On the day the contract was up, I was standing outside the Apple Store before it opened, waiting to buy an iPhone. If you’re one of those people who like to stop your car every hundred miles or so and tinker with something under the hood or under the car, then Android is the OS for you.

  40. Naja pallida says:

    Sounds nice, but if I’m getting a new phone, I’d like one with… you know, phone service. Around here, I’d have better luck with two cans and a string than AT&T.

  41. pricknick says:

    Not me.

  42. Elijah Shalis says:

    I will stick with my iphone 4 I got for 39$ and Verizon. I would never go ATT. You might have had me if it was Verizon John.

  43. beergoggles says:

    I am tempted, but after having Nexus phones for so long that are the first to get android updates and only paying 35 a month with no contract for a plan with unlimited data, I don’t think I will ever be able to go to a multi-year subscription plan again.

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