Amazon announces Fire Phone, $199 and coming July 25th

Amazon has finally announced its long-rumored handset and it will be called the Fire Phone. With a 4.7in display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2Ghz processor, Adreno 330 GPU, and a 13MP camera, the device is aiming straight for the top end of the market. Nonetheless, it is perhaps surprising that the device only offers 1280x720px resolution on its display, rather than the Full HD (1920x1080px) resolution that other flagships in its price range offer.

The device will also include all of Amazon's media services for movies and music - no surprises there, as Amazon's Prime membership is quite popular with those who use the online shopping site. Also, features like Kindle's WhisperSync will work with the phone too, along with 'ASAP', which anticipates your media consumption needs by monitoring your habits and pre-caches content so that it will be available when you want to enjoy it.

The device features a dedicated Windows Phone-style button on the side of the phone to launch the camera and if you press it again, it will take the first shot. Free unlimited photo storage in Amazon's Cloud Drive is also included.

The phone has dual stereo speakers that are Dolby Digital Plus certified; it also comes with tangle-free ear buds that are magnetic and come with a flat cable. The magnets are on the back of each ear bud and allows you to snap them together for easy transportation.

Customer support will also play a big role with the device and it will come with Amazon's 'Mayday' support. This is a service that is available 24x7x365 - in 15 seconds or less, you can reach out directly to Amazon customer support for free on-device help.

A major feature of the handset is 'Firefly', which allows you to scan any product - like a book, a DVD, a game or a grocery item - and it will be recognized by the device, allowing you to purchase it online. Think of it as an easy way to quickly price compare goods with Amazon's massive database and then quickly purchase them and have it delivered to your house. 

But the app can do more than just physical goods, it can recognize audio as well as tv shows and movies. So it's kind of like Shazam, but for everything and Amazon says it can recognize 100 million objects. There is a dedicated button for launching Firefly on the left side of the device, and for the developers out there, an SDK for the app will be available as well.

The phone will also support 3D effects with 5 front facing cameras. Four of the cameras are placed in each corner of the device and there is one at the top center for taking selfies. 

The 3D features are not forced upon the user but there are apps that support it, like maps. There is also tilting gesture support; one example of this in action is to tilt the device in a mapping app to see what is just off the screen. If you want to see what is at the top of the map but don't want to scroll off your current spot, you can tilt the phone to see just a bit further without moving your location.

Amazon quotes a standby time of 285 hours (compared with Apple's iPhone 5s which is 250 hours) from the device's 2400mAh battery. Its dimensions are 139.2 x 66.5 x 8.9mm, and it weighs 160g.

As for cost? The device will be available exclusively on AT&T, at two price points: $199 with a two-year contract ($649 off-contract) for the 32GB model; and $299 ($749) for 64GB. Both versions are available for pre-order now and will be available July 25th. For a "limited time", buyers will also get 12 months of Amazon Prime included, worth $99. 

images via Amazon

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Looks a lot like an iPhone 4. Interesting to see if Apple cares. Maybe because it isn't Samsung, they'll just leave it be.

The difference is that this device will be highly visible and constantly promoted at the top of Amazon's home page, just like the Kindle, from now until ever.

A lot of you who are expecting it to fail don't realize just how big of a boost Amazon (as a ginormous and popular shopping hub) will be able to give to their own device.

However, the Kindle Fire DOES have features that even other Android-based tablets (FireOS is a fork of Android) lack. And just because an Android device does not include Google Play, does not mean it can't be added - for example, Android Jelly Bean x86 supports Google Play, but does not include it. (Further, Google Play IS available in the Amazon App Store - hence, that lack is fixable.)

This is just a failure waiting to happen. As noted, it's lackluster hardware, really, and most certainly not worth the $650 asking price off contract, and barely the $199 on contract for that matter. Not even running a proper Android build either, so that's just another nail in the soon-to-be-closed coffin before this device even gets running.

Little late to the party, Amazon, if you had done this 2 years ago when the Kindle Fire was released, maybe you'd get some traction to some degree, but you're arriving to the party and all the beer, booze, and food is long since gone...

Wow. Terrible. No one is buying this under contract for the same price as the other top tier phones. This will not be successful. $199 no contract would be a day one buy for me but there is no chance in hell people will buy this by the masses. I can't believe they don't see that.

TheArgonaut said,
Wow. Terrible. No one is buying this under contract for the same price as the other top tier phones. This will not be successful. $199 no contract would be a day one buy for me but there is no chance in hell people will buy this by the masses. I can't believe they don't see that.

Who knows? Let the phone live. People use their phones mostly for WhatsApp anyways... so it's almost irrelevant which phone they buy.

TheArgonaut said,
Wow. Terrible. No one is buying this under contract for the same price as the other top tier phones. This will not be successful. $199 no contract would be a day one buy for me but there is no chance in hell people will buy this by the masses. I can't believe they don't see that.

It's not really $199 though -- it's only $100 beacuse you get one year of Prime for free. So for people (like me) who would already purchase Prime, it's a little more compelling.

In addition, I don't think the phone is catering towards the techie folks that frequent a site like Neowin... Same with the Kindle Fire. My wife and sister-in-law both LOVE their Kindle Fire tablets, so I think they're the target market for this sort of thing. Maybe?

BobSlob said,
First I was like.... Hmm $199, not bad at all! Then I continued reading. Already priced itself out of the game.

Remember that it includes a year of Prime, which is a $99 value. So not quite as bad when you take that into consideration.

What's the resolution on this phone?

I don't get it what's so special about this phone? If its base on android then why would I buy that when I can get a LG G3 and add all the apps from Amazon. Plus the phone is over price.

ACTIONpack said,
What's the resolution on this phone?

I don't get it what's so special about this phone? If its base on android then why would I buy that when I can get a LG G3 and add all the apps from Amazon. Plus the phone is over price.


Okay 720p

ACTIONpack said,
What's the resolution on this phone?

I don't get it what's so special about this phone? If its base on android then why would I buy that when I can get a LG G3 and add all the apps from Amazon. Plus the phone is over price.


Even the S5 is a better buy than this.

Big spelling error in the article! "Customer support will also play a big roll with the device and it will come with Amazon's 'Mayday' support. This is a service that is available 24x7x365."

It should be spelt R-O-L-E, and not R-O-L-L! Do Neowin not have "a grasp of basic english" as their No.1 requirement for being a tech journalist with them? Tut, tut ;)

749$ for a phone? no thank you

I must buy 4 phones when upgrading for everyone in the family, unless it is there for 300 max, a real 199 hopefully then it is OK, but 750 + tax (850$)? what? are you crazy?

Bah, my Icon tops this in almost every respect.

Also, not a good move going AT&T only, its hard to gain ground in this crowded market. This phone doesn't seem like something people would switch carriers over.

Interesting. Would seem though that since this is tied so closely to Amazon, you would have to use Amazon a lot, or really like them, to buy the phone.

Firefly technology? Isn't that what all Windows Phone have when you click Search and press the eye? It scan barcodes, bookcovers, listen to music etc. And that is since WP 7.0

I figure Amazon wants to sell enough to be profitable and drive more business towards Prime, Kindle, etc. I don't think they want to be #1. But, given their overall customer base and the success of their tablets? I think they'll do well.

I sort of hoped they were aiming lower down the price segments, but this is fine. Less threat to my Windows Phone if they're only high end. That said, I could see them threatening WP's #3 position easily, and blowing past Blackberry altogether.

Geoffrey B. said,
I am not entirely sure what market they are trying to aim this phone at...

I there there is a lot overlap with Windows Phone. The Amazon phone will do very well in the US.

I want to see what this feature is that those people in the ads said that its definitely something that they will use daily.

well one of the guys says he always gets lost, so being able to navigate with one hand will somehow be that much easier for him to find his way (rather than google maps)

One lady said she has a one year old, and said baby is always taking up one of her hands, so she needs phone for single handed operation. I don't think she realizes that her baby will grow up very rapidly, well before her 2 year contract is over.

The others were mesmerized by the lock screen. the only feature that looked remotely useful to anyone was the one where tech support helped them learn how to edit a photo or technical assistant.

bithush said,
The Firefly feature looks pretty cool.

I will use Firefly to order Firefly, then wait for the internet to cancel itself for being too cool.

Svggarden said,

Right? Just like iPhone 3S

There IS NO iPhone 3S, only ever was a 3G and 3GS. If it was a sarcastic comment you should have used [s][/s] tags.

That's exactly why the Kindle Fire isn't a good product. It's massively limited compared to the alternatives. The same will apply to this phone. One of the central functions of a smart phone are the apps, and this Fire phone will probably be below Blackberry in this department.

Nogib said,
I still don't see the point of an Android powered device that doesn't have access to Google Play.

THIS is another Facebook phone that will be shelved and collecting dust in 6 months. I just don't see what this phone does that other Android phones can't do. Hopefully, something else will differentiate this phone from HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony etc. But if not within 6 months, it will be DOA

If the rumors are correct then this phones defining feature will not be different either. Nokia supposedly has a phone coming out with similar tech.

majortom1981 said,
If the rumors are correct then this phones defining feature will not be different either. Nokia supposedly has a phone coming out with similar tech.

The Goldfinger/McLaren is the one that, based on the current rumors, will have some kind of 3D or Air gestures, kind of what MS envisioned for the abandoned Photon although just moving your hands in the air and not "shacking" the phone itself, and it is the one I am looking for to, hopefully, replace my 920 but it does not seem to be around the corner. Supposedly, again rumors, is scheduled by the end of the year or early 2015.

I don't get it. All of this is already available on the other platforms. What makes this a better choice than say an iPhone or a GS4/5?

#Michael said,
I don't get it. All of this is already available on the other platforms. What makes this a better choice than say an iPhone or a GS4/5?

I'd rather trust amazon over samsung/apple. Kindles are amazing devices, I owe Kindle ebook reader, well built and reliable.

#Michael said,
I don't get it. All of this is already available on the other platforms. What makes this a better choice than say an iPhone or a GS4/5?

Its for people that already use ALL of Amazons services. so it makes them more attractive. Just like a Kindle Fire would be over say a Tab, or Nexus 7.

Similar to how a Nexus Devices is great for people that are heavy environment Google users, and an iPhone for heavy environment Apple users.

If I used Amazons apps nearly exclusively I'd find this appealing.

#Michael said,
I don't get it. All of this is already available on the other platforms. What makes this a better choice than say an iPhone or a GS4/5?

Same reason the Amazon TV and Fire tablets exist. Get people to purchase content from Amazon.

I use most if not all of amazons services too. I have had a prime account for years. I have the amazon shopping app, kindle app, and the video app all on my ipad and iphone. What makes the fire phone so special?

The red laser app can use the iphone camera and detect qr codes, bar codes, and various other codes and then search the net. Again, nothing special on the part of the fire phone.

#Michael said,
I don't get it. All of this is already available on the other platforms. What makes this a better choice than say an iPhone or a GS4/5?

There is still a vast amount of people not locked to a platform (as in have lots of apps or platform specific services on subscription/data tied to its cloud service).

Amazon wants these and will tie them in as all its services are free on the device along with the mayday thingy.

Free photo storage is a big one, house long it will stay free is anyone's guess.

Free photo storage is interesting but not really a big deal anymore. My tie-in is to MS/Outlook and my free onedrive is up to 28GB. Even if I upload pics at full resolution I will never max out that storage.

CJEric said,
Yikes...seems like it costs as much as the iPhone does... not sure who this is aimed at then

Yep...not sure what the point is.

#Michael said,
Free photo storage is interesting but not really a big deal anymore. My tie-in is to MS/Outlook and my free onedrive is up to 28GB. Even if I upload pics at full resolution I will never max out that storage.

My camera roll folder is 18 GB now, I subscribe for 100GB extra on top of the 25+7 I get free and I have only 30GB free. The price is good though and I prefer the Ms ecosystem as it ties better with my laptop/desktop and tablet.

#Michael said,
Free photo storage is interesting but not really a big deal anymore. My tie-in is to MS/Outlook and my free onedrive is up to 28GB. Even if I upload pics at full resolution I will never max out that storage.

It depends how many pictures you have; the total size of my ones greatly exceeds 28GB... Not that I store them on the Cloud though.
And no, no porn. :-)

duddit2 said,

My camera roll folder is 18 GB now, I subscribe for 100GB extra on top of the 25+7 I get free and I have only 30GB free. The price is good though and I prefer the Ms ecosystem as it ties better with my laptop/desktop and tablet.

Main point, at least for me, is the fact that my 920, as well as any other phone I owned, was bought unbranded and unlocked; AT&T for two years.... no thanks.

What happens if I'm going west?

Also, wouldn't it have made more sense to report on this when they'd finished the announcement and you could just write one story?

jakem1 said,
What happens if I'm going west?

Also, wouldn't it have made more sense to report on this when they'd finished the announcement and you could just write one story?


Or you can just add, edit or update the original.

jerzdawg said,

Or you can just add, edit or update the original.

Plenty editing is needed judging by the spelling and grammatical errors...... :)

zhangm said,
I really hope that they thoroughly QC'd the battery and charging electronics before deciding on that name...

There are going to be legions of tech reporters waiting for one of these batteries to catch fire.

vanx said,
Your school called, it wants you to go back and learn how to use English punctuation correctly.

LOL Thank you!

$199, fully subsidized, with a plan? That is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn't appeal to business customers, because it doesn't have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.

Enron said,
$199, fully subsidized, with a plan? That is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn't appeal to business customers, because it doesn't have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine.
Did you even read the parent comment? Seems like you just replied here to leech off that fact that it's closer to the top of the comments... for shame! :p

Yes, they have patented rounded corners and a flat screen. Now everyone needs to make hexagonal edges and a bumpy mountainous touchscreen.

Reminds me of when Ford patented round wheels, and everyone else had to go square.

Mulsivaas said,
Did you even read the parent comment? Seems like you just replied here to leech off that fact that it's closer to the top of the comments... for shame! :p

I was responding to the parent comment that said this phone was like an iPhone. My comment was Steve Ballmer's original response to the iPhone, slightly edited.

Enron said,

I was responding to the parent comment that said this phone was like an iPhone. My comment was Steve Ballmer's original response to the iPhone, slightly edited.

Oh, you were commenting on the iPhone? I was under the impression that you were mindlessly bashing this new Fire Phone. Mah bad.