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Amazon Launches Smartphone (GalleyCat)
Amazon has gotten into the smartphone business with the launch of the Fire, Amazon’s first smartphone. NYT Though the device is called the Fire phone, Amazon’s new gadget is less a phone than a pocketable cash register hooked directly into the retailer’s intelligent warehouses. And it’s not cheap. The Fire phone sells for $199 with a two-year AT&T contract. Although it also comes with a free one-year subscription to Amazon’s Prime membership, the Fire phone is essentially the same price as high-end phones made by Apple and Samsung. For Amazon, a company whose previous devices have had innovative pricing plans that often involved selling devices at cost, the Fire phone’s uninspired price tag is a surprising disappointment. The Washington Post / The Switch The phone lets you scan products in stores, so that you can buy things directly from Amazon, using a new service called “Firefly.” Users can even use the phone to “listen” to songs or videos, and link users to places to buy them. It can also recognize art, and scan text such as phone numbers and then immediately place a call. The Verge There’s one big difference here: the Fire phone’s interface changes based on how you’re looking at it and how you orient the device. Amazon calls the feature “Dynamic Perspective,” which basically means that some apps on the phone will have a three-dimensional depth to them, and tilting the phone will let you peer around edges, just as you can with real objects. Mashable The history of 3D-type screens in mobile suggests consumers aren’t interested in the feature. The two most notable devices, the HTC Evo 3D and the LG Optimus 3D, both flopped. The only real 3D success in mobile so far has been the Nintendo 3DS, which is explicitly a game console.