I ordered a Fire Phone…and why a lot of other people will, too
I like my
Every day I use it, I think it’s cool.
About a month from now, though, I’ll be trading it in for a
Why, you ask?
Well, first, I have a somewhat unusual use case. I write about this stuff. 😉 Now, that doesn’t mean I’ll write about the Fire Phone a lot…reading isn’t going to be one of its main features, although the “infinite scroll” ability is something that I see people wanting on Kindles. You’ll be able to do that without touching the screen, too, which could be a good thing. I suspect they may need to coin some new terms for repetitive stress injuries, though…and “Fire Phone neck” might be one of them. 😉
It will do audiobooks (including Immersion Reading and Whispersync for Voice).
They haven’t talked about text-to-speech, although it does have audible menus and such:
I’ll probably mention it sometimes, the way I talk about other things in my life (like jury duty). I haven’t written that much about my
although I did talk a bit about using mirroring to read books on the big screen.
It’s interesting, too, that this isn’t a “Kindle phone”, but a “Fire phone”. Amazon now has more lines with “Fire” in the name (Fire TV, Fire Phone, Kindle Fire) than with “Kindle” in the name (Kindle readers, Kindle Fire).
I’m glad they didn’t name it a “Kindle” phone…I would really have preferred that that be saved for EBRs (E-Book Readers)…I don’t really like that it is part of the tablet name, but that ship has sailed.
Knowledge of it is one reason for me…and that will be true for some other writers, as well. Even though it seems like there are a gazillion tech blogs, that’s not enough to make the phone work in the market.
I’m also attracted by some of the features.
Mayday is the best Customer Service thing I’ve ever seen, and having that on a phone is amazing! I do think it will be more challenging for them than for the Kindle Fire, but it will be nice to know it is there.
I think Firefly (object recognition) has some incredible potential. One thing they haven’t talked about: facial recognition (on individual faces). Oh, it knows where you are looking, and it can tell the difference between a picture of a face and a face, but I think there may be some apps in the future that really take advantage of its senses.
How about no password or thumbprint…it just recognizes you?
It looks at a photo on Facebook…and identifies everybody.
You are at a football game, and you know your friend is there…you tell Firefly to scan the crowd for that face, and it finds it.
Now, the last one may be impossible…probably too far away…but it got you thinking. 😉
One more: you go to the playground with your kid. Your phone is able to keep track of where your kid is at all times, out of the mass of other kids.
Again, that may be wishful thinking, but the capabilities Firefly will already have will be very useful!
I’m hoping I’ll be able to use it to put books into Goodreads (owned by Amazon)…books without UPCs (Universal Product Codes). I can already scan fairly recent books to put into Goodreads, but a lot of my books can’t be scanned.
Oh, and I’m hoping the Optical Character Recognition is great! We’ll see about that, though…I’ll be testing it pretty quickly (I should have the phone at the end of July when they first ship).
As for dyper (dynamic perception…I just am amused by calling it “dyper”)…we’ll see how much I like it. Might, might not.
As a t-shirt I have proudly proclaims, though, I’m “nobody’s target market”. 😉
Here is what I think a lot of the tech blogs haven’t been getting.
I’ve seen people ask, “Why would anybody give up an iPhone or a Galaxy for this?”
Amazon doesn’t need anybody at all to give up their current SmartPhones.
Only about half of the people in the USA own SmartPhones.
Now, admittedly, a lot of people (infants, for example) don’t own phones at all…but even if you only look at people with mobile service, something like a quarter to a third of them still don’t have SmartPhones.
That’s what will make the Fire Phone succeed (knock virtual wood).
How many of those people who don’t have SmartPhones have Amazon accounts?
A lot, I would guess.
Remember, they don’t have to unlearn the Apple interface, or the Google interface.
I was talking to somebody today, and I said that someone who switches from an iPhone or a Droid to a phone where you do a lot of flicking rather than tapping may have some trouble adjusting…but they’ll be able to do it.
If someone learns on a Fire Phone, they’ll have a tough time using a different phone.
These people will want to do e-mail, watch videos, go to websites, make phone calls (including videocalls)…and my intuition is that the Fire Phone will do all of that more intuitively than other SmartPhones.
“What about the price?”
It’s comparable with other choices…and this is Amazon, a familiar entity to them.
The cost actually wasn’t bad.
The phone was $200, approximately (although, and I knew this, the sales tax was on $650 about…so it was about $250).
I get a year of Prime. Even though we’re Prime members already, they still pay for it next time. That saves me about $100…bringing it down to about $100.
I’ll be able trade in my S3 for about $50…making my investment in this phone about $50…certainly doable.
Now, a newbie won’t have a SmartPhone to trade in, but they may be able to get something.
Yep…there will be some migration, and there may be quite a bit of gifting. Mayday means that your relative that could never figure out a phone can have tech support twenty-four hours a day…and it won’t be you.
I think the big audience, though, will be SmartPhone virgins.
I’ll write a bit about it when I get it, and I’ll be happy to answer questions.
Oh, one question which I’ve addressed already: reader Bob Anderson was concerned about battery charge life with all the fancy features…and honestly, so was I.
It actually has a great battery!
“Battery size: 2400mAh. Talk time: up to 22 hours; standby time: up to 285 hours. Video playback: up to 11 hours; audio playback: up to 65 hours.”
I would guess you could read for a few days on a camping trip without charging it.
I still have some unanswered questions. It does have a voice assistant, but I have a lot of fun with that, and I’ll be looking to see how well that works. We’ll see if the features live up to the hype. I’m interested in how someone with some disabilities will be able to use it…are there good alternatives to flicking your wrist? By the way…um…how to put this? Jon Stewart kidded Jeff Bezos when he talked about using the Kindle one-handed…and Jeff made a point of that again with the Fire Phone. I can certainly see the advantage (eat lunch with one hand, keep the phone clean), but it does seem a bit…odd. 😉
Update: I have a number of readers comment on the phone being AT&T only, and that’s also been a concern of the blogosphere, so I thought I’d address that.
Would they sell more Fire Phones if it was also available on other carriers? Sure, I think it would be very hard to say otherwise.
Does that make it a “mistake”?
Amazon doesn’t know for sure how successful a product will be when they launch it. Oh, I’m sure there’s some sense about it, but you can’t tell…and the biggest tech companies have had clunkers (Apple’s Newton, the Facebook phone, for example).
AT&T must pay them a lot of money to be the exclusive carrier (they did that with the Kindle Fire, too)…which I think of as “launch insurance”.
Let’s suppose it is a flat fee, not something per person who actually signs up.
That way, even if the Fire Phone was a flop, Amazon would have some of their costs covered, which helps make investors less nervous.
After the first year, Amazon can open it up to other carriers: that’s what happened with the Kindle Fire, now available for AT&T or Verizon.
If somebody really wants one now, will they want one less a year from now? Maybe (some people want that “first rush” feeling), but if Amazon is confident in the product, it may also be that more people want it a year from now when it has been proven.
I don’t think this is part of the argument, but 3G/4G is becoming less crucial, as wi-fi becomes more available. By the 2016 models, you are, I think, pretty likely to have a wi-fi hotspot in the next car you buy. If you can make phone calls and do navigation in the car, and you have wi-fi at the home, office, and stores (and increasingly, pretty much full city coverage), might it be possible to do it with no carrier?
Cutting the risk significantly buy getting an exclusivity fee might be worth reducing the amount you can make in sales.
Just my thoughts on that one…
Anyway, I thought some of you would want to know, and I’ll write about something else next time.
Have any questions about the Fire Phone? Do you think it won’t succeed…that people who haven’t gotten a SmartPhone so far aren’t going to do it for this one? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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