Finally confirming months of rumours, online retail giant Amazon has revealed the Fire Phone, its own entry into the ultra competitive smartphone space, with a few unique strengths.
The Fire Phone packs mid-range performance specs, with a 720p 4.7" display, 2GB of RAM and a Qualcomm/Adrendo 330 processor and graphics combo, but its biggest hook is a 3D display technique that uses a combination of four-camera head-tracking and tilt-detection to allow users to see and navigate around in a new way in the phone's interface.
Tech blog The Verge
describes some impressions from Amazon founder Jeff Bezo's presentation, where the device was revealed earlier today:
Bezos showed how things change in Maps, looking for a restaurant and at the Empire State Building and changing the view every time he tilted his phone. It's also part of the navigation of the device — a tilt of the phone opens up a navigation drawer, or scrolls through options. It gives good demo, but we'll have to see how it works in practice.
As with Amazon's Kindle Fire range, and the Fire TV, the Fire phone is running Amazon's own custom Android fork as its OS, with heavy tie-ins to the company's online retail, and media services.
Another feature being heavily touted by Amazon is its "firefly technology" that allows users to "quickly identify", using the device's camera and microphone, things like movies and tv shows, songs, and, printed email and web addresses, as well as over 70 million retail products from their QR and bar codes.
The 3D navigation tech presents some unique opportunities for game developer creativity, with a game called Lili
described as allowing players to tilt their head to look around objects and obstacles in the game world in real time.
Move your head to look around a world or control a character's movement in popular games like Lili and Snow Spin. Use the peek feature to see more of the battlefield in Saber's Edge. Plus, look for exclusive new titles from Amazon Game Studios later this summer.
Like Amazon's announcements for its Kindle tablet products, there's been no mention of an Australian launch, and it's currently exclusive to AT&T's mobile network, presumably carrier-locking all devices due to launch on July 25th in North America (on a 2 year contract at US$199 for 32GB storage or $299 for 64GB).
CNET's recording of the section of the presentation demoing the 3D display with various applications, including games is embedded below. Head over to Amazon.com
for the full product overview.