Amazon Releases First Smartphone

The Android phones market is large and crowded, but this Wednesday (18 June) looks like it’s getting more so, as we finally welcome Amazon to the jungle. The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is today launching the long anticipated smartphone in its hometown of Seattle, Washington.

By Phinias Shonayi

 

At first glance, Amazon’s upcoming flagship phone looks much like any other touchscreen phone out there. The company has, however, spent years creating a unique experience that has two main focuses:

–          To push their products and services

–          The custom glass-free 3D interface unlike anything we have seen before on a smartphone. A teaser video was released earlier in this regard.

 

Now, here are a few feature scoops concerning this flagship gadget:

1)     The Camera

Online retail giant, Amazon smartphone spots six, that’s right, six cameras! Along with the standard front and back camera, the phone has four, front-facing infrared cameras mounted at each corner. These track a user’s head to produce a 3D effect with a standard LCD screen.

A person is able to move their head or phone to reveal hidden panels and screens. Tilt the phone to the right, and the screen will shift to reveal more details.

Amazon is using ‘Omron’s Okao Vision face sensing technology’ to track the user’s head. This technology is also able to recognize faces and facial attributes to estimate a person’s gender, age and ethnicity.

amazon

2)     The Specs

The phone has been in development for some time and has thus seen several different hardware incarnations. Initially, Amazon was working on two versions, including a lower-cost version that did not feature the head tracking technology. That phone was discarded along the way; the single phone is now a mid-tier device with specs that match closely with last year’s flagship Android devices. It has:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 4.7 inch, 720pixel screen.
  • Along with the four infra-red cameras, the phone has a low resolution front facing camera and a 13MP rear-facing camera.

The gadget runs a modified version of Android, much like the Kindle Fire devices, which was developed in-house at Amazon.

This is Amazon’s first go at a smartphone, yet little is riding on the venture. For them, all roads lead back to selling more products and the Amazon phone is simply another means to that end. Talk about staying focused on the mark!

 

This will be one more market in which the online retailer goes head-to-head with Apple. The two consumer electronics companies already compete in the following products:

  • Kindle and the iPad tablets
  • the streaming video and television market with the Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV
  • the digital book and music retail markets

While it has never produced a smartphone before, the enormous success of Amazon’s Kindle range and Fire TV release prove that when the online retailer puts its weight behind hardware, it often tends to make an impact on its intended market.

So, let’s wait and see how this new “A-phone” will run against the established tech giants including Apple and Samsung. Will its holographic capabilities be enough to make it stand out?

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