Amazon has entered the smart-phone market, everyone. Please don't all yawn at once. The company unveiled their Fire Phone to journalists yesterday, most of whom went "Oh, cool," to a couple of the features, and then began asking why the world needs another smart phone that's priced in line with the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy but has a fraction of the apps available, it's own OS, and is only AT&T-compatible. Also: At least two of the proprietary features on the Fire Phone are just new, slicker ways to buy things on Amazon.

As HuffPo and CNN report, there's this Firefly feature which CEO Jeff Bezos showed off proudly in a demo. Firefly allows users to casually scan everything from an exotic piece of fruit to a phone number on a poster to a book or grocery item they might want to buy, and using image- and text-recognition software, it's able to identify items or songs (it also has a Shazam-like function), save them, direct you where to buy them, or give you back nutritional information and the like. The music-recognition piece will direct you to how to buy concert tickets, or how to buy the song or album (on Amazon).

There's also a 3-D-ish photo app called Dynamic Perspective which just sounds complicated. Per HuffPo:

Dynamic Perspective... makes some images appear in 3D and allows you to control the phone by tilting your head or wrist. The handset has four cameras on the front of it that can identify where a person's face is relative to the phone. It allows you to easily scroll down Web pages or page through books without flicking your thumb across the glass.


Since the four cameras follow the movement of your head, the phone can produce images that appear like they're in 3D, without special glasses. Renderings of New York City buildings look cool in the maps app — I could look "around" the Chrysler Building — but it wasn't immediately clear how this was more useful than Google Maps. The most impressive images I saw were of the phone's lock screen — they appeared to have a depth that's not possible on other smartphones.

The phone is about 40 percent heavier than the iPhone 5S, with a 4.7-inch display, and it's equally as expensive: $199 for a 32GB model and $299 for the 64GB with an AT&T contract, or $650 without a contract. Tech pundits have already pointed out that this runs counter to Amazon's strategy with the Kindle, which it initially sold very cheaply compared to the iPad.

So yes, pretty pictures, a gadget that helps you buy more stuff from Amazon, and that's about it.

[The Verge]