Amazon announcement: it’s a…phone!
I’m watching Brad Molen’s liveblog on
I’ll update this as things are revealed.
- 60,000 people asked for invitations (about 300 are there)
- Jeff Bezos looks relaxed in a “California suit” (suit jacket, dress shirt and jeans…also wearing non-business shoes)
- A LOT of talk about Prime, and how much membership increased when they added perks. I’m guessing they are going to talk about Prime Music before the hardware reveal
- They’ve been in the device business for ten years, since the first Kindle…but that was in 2007. Maybe since the first prototype?
- Shout out to Mr. Pine’s Purple House…ironically, since the text doesn’t appear to be part of the images, it appears that the publisher has deliberately blocked text-to-speech access in the Kindle edition
- There it is…the Fire Phone!
- 4.7″ HD display, ruggedly built with Gorilla Glass
- Ultrabright display (590 nits)
- Quad core 2.2 GHZ processor
- 2 GB RAM
- 13 MP rear-facing camera
- f 2/0 five element lens
- optical image stabilization
- Showing comparison pics to iPhone 5S and Samsung S5…no question, Fire Phone looks better (at least in low light)
- Physical camera button…even with the phone off, two pushes gets it going
- Unlimited online photo storage
- Dolby speakers with Surround Sound
- Some new weird tangle-free headphones (earbuds, actually)
- Big section on how cool video is…and you can do second screen and mirroring (you can fling it to a Fire TV)
- It will have the ASAP feature from the Fire (which I think is great…it pre-loads videos it thinks you might watch, like the next episode in a series, so they start right away)
- The apps screen includes HBO Go
- Prime Music (and the availability of apps for competitors)
- A shout out to books…yay! 🙂 Also the Newsstand
- Immersion reading
- Plugging customer service…might be Mayday! Yep, there’s the fake Mayday rep from the Kindle Fire commercials! Mayday is included free, available over both wi-fi and 3G/4G
- Just saw a Flashlight app in the settings part…I’ve always downloaded one to my phones, nice to have it as an onboard feature
- About to show off a feature called Firefly (go, Whedonverse!) ;)…requires props
- Firefly is object recognition (including scanning UPCs and tags, it looks like). Point it at a book or a videogame, and it finds it in the database. Gee, I wonder what they want you to use that for? 😉 Shopping, of course! It’s the ultimate super showrooming app! 😉
- Firefly can also do Soundhound like song recognition. As a cool feature, it can look at a TV show and identify it
- It recognizes paintings as well
- I didn’t know Jeff wears glasses…
- Point it at a sign (even a poster wrapped around a pole) and it can pick up a phone number or e-mail address
- 100 million items can be recognized
- Wow! It had a hard time reading a phone number because of glare (hard to tell if it was a 3 or an 8) so it checked which ones were possible in that position, given the rest of the number
- Heavy duty OCR (Optical Character Recognition)…hm, might lead to a lot of capture of books that way (which would be legal with public domain titles for sure)
- Dedicated button for Firefly
- I really like my Samsung Galaxy S4, but wOOt! (Want One Of Those)
- They are making an SDK (Developer’s Kit) available, so other companies can work with the recognition
- Hey, there’s MyFitnessPal…I’ve lost something like forty pounds using that!
- The SDK is available immediately
- Firefly is a game changer!
- Nothing on Amazon’s homepage yet
- Doing sort of an art theory lesson 3D (perspectives and such)
- I do suggest you go to the Engadget site to see their great pictures!
- There’s something about 3D images, and specifically using it in maps. They are using what may be the Empire State Building…maybe we’ll see Doc Savage walking around? 😉
- If we are finishing in an hour, should see the price and dataplans (?) soon
- Interesting approach to multi-tasking! You can look under one image to see another one (since they are in three dimensions)
- You can tilt the phone to make it scroll
- Looks like you can continuously scroll a book…some people have really wanted that, especially on a smaller screen. In other words, no page flips…just tilt the phone a bit to bring up the next “page”, and keep going
- The basic interface looks pretty easy to use
- About to demo a game called “tofu fury”. I eat tofu a lot…hopefully, this will mean that the speech recognition in Firefly will be able to spell “tofu” 😉
- A term we’ll all learn and use “dynamic perspective”…you tilt your head, you see different things…hm, maybe “dy-per” for short? 😉
- Lots of technical stuff about how the dyper works…requires four cameras, infrared so that it works in the dark…and the ability to tell the difference between a picture of a head and a head (so it doesn’t get distracted by Nic Cage’s t-shirt that has Nic Cage’s head on it). They used millions of images of faces to train it
- Dyper is available for developers: developer.amazon.com/firephone
- Many little interface touches, like canned messages you can send easily
- AT&T exclusive (I’m happy we are already on AT&T)
- AT&T rep is talking: four killer features…dyper, Firefly, Fire TV with Fire Phone, and Mayday (there will be a “hand-off” for Mayday to get AT&T help)
- The phone can be pre-ordered today
- It’s not on the homescreen yet, but here it is: Fire Phone at Amazon (at AmazonSmile)
- They are showing $199, or $27 a month (with a two year contract)
- Ships July 25
- You get a year of Prime included!
- Existing Prime members will also get a year free
I’m going to get one!
What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
Update: well, this is disappointing! I tried to pre-order it through Amazon, and it says I’m not eligible to do an upgrade until September…of 2015! =:o I called AT&T, and they said that they have the “Next” program which would allow me to get it…but we couldn’t get the Fire Phone to show up at the AT&T site, even though the rep could see it on the website. The AT&T rep, who was great, by the way, even texted me a link…it just showed up as a blank page. They thought Amazon might be able to switch it to the Next (monthly) plan…which they had mentioned during the launch events (that’s the “per month” plan). So, I Maydayed it…and they couldn’t do it either.
I’ll have to try the AT&T site again later, I guess, or go to one of their stores.
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