Amazon Unveils Smart Phone

In a long awaited announcement yesterday, Amazon publically unveiled its own proprietary cell phone—Amazon Fire. The Fire cell phone is a first for Amazon, which though gaining immense popularity as an online market place, has no experience in the cell phone market. However, Amazon is no stranger to providing consumers with what they desire, and this cell phone has the ability to deliver in the same way. Retailing at $649 (or $199 with a two-year plan), and using AT&T’s network, the phone offers many features that are comparable, if not better than, many of its competitors. BusinessWeek reports:

The screen on Amazon’s phone is larger than Apple’s iPhones but smaller than phones made by Samsung Electronics. The processors and chips are on a par with more powerful Android phones. Sure enough, the Fire Phone includes what Bezos calls “dynamic perspective,” a feature that uses four cameras to create 3D imaging that doesn’t require glasses.

But what makes the Fire Phone truly Amazonian is the Firefly Button. By pressing it, users can use the phone’s camera to recognize (and purchase) physical products or its microphone to listen to (and purchase) songs. Bezos says that the program recognizes more than 100 million items.

Though the specs are impressive, the Fire will still have to compete with phones made by Apple and Samsung, which currently account for approximately 70% of the marketplace. However, what sets Amazon, and the Fire, apart is the integration that the phone has with the rest of Amazon’s services. By offering consumers a free year of Amazon Prime with the purchase of the Fire, Amazon offering consumers services that other cell phone companies do not provide. This serves to provide mutual benefits for both parties. Consumers are able to benefit from the services of Amazon Prime, such as free music streaming, while Amazon itself is able to benefit by creating a more loyal (and more willing to spend) customer base.

While the popularity of this phone will have to be determined by the consumers themselves, the Amazon Fire appears to be an interesting new player in the ever expanding smartphone marketplace. It’s release in the upcoming days will be the true test of whether or not it can benefit the average consumer.

Read More- “Amazon’s Fire Phone: What You Need to Know” (Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

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A rising senior at Colgate University, John is currently working as a research fellow with Consumers' Research.

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