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Open Thread: Your Thoughts on the Amazon Fire Phone?

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Amazon has officially unveiled its first phone, the Fire Phone. The device sports decent specs (4.7-inch HD display, 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, 2GB RAM, 13MP OIS camera, etc.) and runs $199 or $299 on-contract with AT&T (exclusively) depending on how much storage you jump at. It launches July 25 and can be pre-ordered already.

The Fire Phone relies on features like “Dynamic Perspective” to stand out from the crowd, which is a 3D-like experience that utilizes front facing cameras to follow your every head-move. There is a feature called Firefly that can take text, audio, or video and present you with results for it on the phone, in hopes that you will buy them, more than likely. It uses Mayday for live support like Amazon’s tablets do, forces you into Amazon’s ecosystem, and even includes 12 months of Prime for free should you buy one.

But is it all just one giant gimmick to get you to buy more stuff from Amazon? The phone doesn’t scream “high-end” by today’s standards if you look at the specs, unless you consider a 4-camera 3D trick to be high-end. The price is insanely high if you compare it to what true Android or iOS devices have to offer (like the HTC One (M8), Galaxy S5, or iPhone 5s). The Amazon ecosystem isn’t great by any means in terms of apps or music. So what’s the play here? Why would you want one?

It’s time to sound off in the comments. 

  • Very cool phone to change the market. Can also see there aren’t much accessories for it yet http://www.amazonfirephonecases.net

  • johnpa2006

    Even Windows phone has more apps than that.

  • Knlegend1

    Looks like an iPhone

  • Michael ITDirector

    This is a Phone for Mom’s that have never had a SmartPhone.

  • Alain Lafond

    Overpriced and no Play Store… Sounds enougth for me…
    Jeff Besos could become the next Apple’s CEO… Would be a operfect fit for its vision…

  • Ryan Dunne

    til I saw the bank
    draft that said $7671 , I have faith that…my… best friend had been
    actually bringing in money part time on their apple laptop. . there dads
    buddy has done this less than 6 months and by now cleared the dept on their
    place and got a top of the range volvo . you can try this out

  • Benjamin Clay

    I think the UI and AMAZON experience with the phone will be flawless. I think it will work perfectly for those who have kindles and all their purchases via Amazon. However for the rest of the Android world, this will not be a good buy. Losing Google services is a huge loss for most and only having it on AT&T will discourage many others.

  • chadstone30

    If Fire Phone was $199 off-contract I’d buy it just to play with, as I did with the Kindle Fire. At $650, though, this thing is a non-starter. I’d rather buy an iPhone for that kind of money.

  • AaronS

    I’m a Prime customer so this phone is a great fit for me right? Except I love my carrier T-Mobile so that’s a NO and I love my Google Services so that’s a NO. Way to go Amazon you nailed it.

  • glennbowman8

    uptil I
    saw the draft saying $5001 , I be certain that…my… mom in-law woz like
    they say truly earning money parttime on their laptop. . there mums best
    friend haz done this 4 only about six months and resantly paid the dept on
    their place and purchased a great Honda . go right here



  • Sebastian Lundgren

    Android without Google is just crap!

  • M3D1T8R

    Honestly I don’t even get the how the are thinking they can sell this thing. All those regular Amazon purchasers/users who still don’t have a smart phone? What’s that, 2% of them maybe, generously? Of that 2% the number who were not willing to drop $200 with a new two year contact for any phone up until now, who will suddenly want to jump at the chance because this one is from Amazon? Can’t be a lot of people. That leaves Amazon users who do have smart phones but who have an upgrade for a new one available and are willing to go with this for $200 on contract vs a One M8 for $100 or S5 for $100 whatever they’re going for on the various regular sales (certainly well under $200) or Moto x for a penny, or even an Iphone if they like Apple stuff for $100 or so, or maybe a Moto G contract free for under 200? No, they’re going to choose this weird Walmart phone – sorry Amazon or whatever vendor it is – over all those other options. Yeah…

    And yet they must have done some market research to determine this is a viable product, right? Or could it be they just figured they don’t have a lot to lose selling it at this ridiculously expensive price, so that if they sell some, cool gravy, it will further establish/entrench their wannabe ecosystem for a few people, and if not no big loss, right? Yeah, probably something like that.

    Lool for it free on contract within two months of launch, forgotten and left as a footnote of jokes – cough Facebook phone cough – within another couple months.

  • M3D1T8R

    They really forked Android with this one.

  • Tyler

    This is what confuses me: Why didn’t Amazon just produce these software features (Firefly, Instant Video) for open Android? What are they trying to accomplish by not properly serving the Android community and producing an extremely limited and overpriced phone? I’m no Elon Musk but I just don’t understand it at all.

  • Rick O’Shea

    Total waste. There will be a 75% off Fire-sale in less than 3 months.

    It’s apparent now why Amazon didn’t video stream their press release – there was nothing interesting to say, and even Amazon knew it.

  • Kizaru Hiruko

    Much of what I’m going to say may already be repeated in the comments already, but I don’t want to sift through them. Anyway, here are my thoughts:

    – For a “sales platform” device, it’s overpriced. I understand that the Fire’s Dynamic Perspective tech breaks new ground in the mobile industry, and Amazon may see its inclusion as justification for the higher-than-expected price, but $199 on contract (over $600 without) is too much to pay for a device that was foremost intended to deliver Amazon’s content to consumers.
    – In the current mobile landscape, carrier exclusives don’t work. At the very least, Amazon should have tried to get T-Mobile to support the device as well. In the future, Amazon would be wise to make a version that works on all four carriers.
    – The 720p display is a disappointment on paper, but I’ve been swayed before. (Precedent: the Moto X.)
    – I’d like to try out the Dynamic Perspective features, but some of the aspects described sound too similar to several Samsung features that I don’t use on my Galaxy S4 as it is.
    – Considering the price, I think that more traditional Android competitors, such as the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5, and LG G3, will be better buys. Considering that Amazon typically undercuts carrier pricing on these devices, paying the traditional amount for, basically, an Amazon storefront portal may be too much to swallow when one could install the Amazon app onto any of the aforementioned alternative devices.

  • TeeJay1100

    DOA and there will be a fire sale, within 3 months of release.

  • dm33

    Lame. Sales vehicle to get you to buy Amazon stuff. Doesn’t provide enough (any) advantage over current leading phones with no price advantage and only on AT&T. Doesn’t sound like a success to me.

  • JoshHenry

    From the carrier, to the gimmiky tech, and the design of the software. Nothing about this phone is appealing to me.

  • RoboCop

    Absolutely would buy it for $99 for my parents. Super easy to use, mayday for when it isn’t, and it goes with their kindles they already have….I’m holding off for that magical quad HD, waterproof, fantastic camera, touchless control, all day battery android unicorn in the clouds.

  • Havoktek

    Garbage…a service oriented gimmicky phone…..However people that live by amazon will love it…and that’s where the target buyer is for them so, mission accomplished.

  • Justme

    No Google Play, no way. Fail.

  • JoeTi

    I don’t and wouldn’t ever recommend this product. Just buy a 2nd tier phone outright for any network over this ungodly bastard of a phone.

  • R

    socialist pos

  • Donald Motley

    I’m not buying a tiered data plan for this

  • puzzledface

    Legere was right. It’s the Facebook phone over again. Facebook and Amazon need to learn one thing; consumers participate in their environments…and that participation is voluntary and free. Amazon would’ve been better off cornering the budget phone market (a la Moto) and bundling decent hardware for free with paid memberships, or the other way around. $650? Ummm…whaaa? I’d rather buy $650 worth of items off of Amazon. Then go purchase a free, subsidized phone of equal/better specs/quality. And only AT&T? When was the last successful exclusive device they sold?

  • Zach Cline

    I think it sucks but I’m sure Kindle owners will love it

  • Bingo

    To make users give up on google core services this phone has to be sub 99$. and amazon needed to also offer alternatives to gmail not just maps.

  • Kayonesoft

    I wanted to see what the whole Dynamic Perspective feature thing was all about and while it’s a neat feature, it’s not really a major selling point.
    All of the other features the demo people in the video were excited about were all features of current apps that I’ve been using for years. Google Goggles (and other apps like it) do the while Firefly picture search thing while Soundhound and Shazam do the audio search. The auto-scroll feature looks more annoying than useful.
    “I’m constantly holding a baby in one hand so it’s nice to be able to scroll with one hand.” -That’s why you use your thumb to scroll. Who uses two hands to scroll?
    “I move around a lot more while playing games. It feels like I’m really snowboarding.” -No it doesn’t. You don’t know what you’re saying.
    And my concerns with the Mayday feature are the same, if not greater than that of the Kindle Fire version. I don’t see it as an assistant on call, I see it as a backdoor into your device that can be exploited for spying. Even more so since you take your phone with you more places than you would a tablet. While it’s true that any device capable of recording audio and video can be exploited in this manner, Amazon is the first company I know of to advertise it as a feature.
    This phone offers virtually nothing unique and in fact actually takes away from the Android experience.
    The only thing I can truly appreciate about the Amazon Fire phone is their efforts to make 3D a thing, which I’d like to see more of as a standard in phones, however it is still nothing unique.
    The fact that the phone is released ONLY on AT&T further seals the deal. You’re intentionally limiting your consumer base for a phone that is already shipping out on shaky grounds.

  • TC Infantino

    It looks like a nice phone….If the bootloader can be unlocked, rooted, and an actual Android ROM installed that allows access to Google Play apps.

  • Taylor Abrahamson

    There is NO reason to have 4 cameras on the front for eye tracking. You can do this exact same effect easily with an accelerometer and gyro. The only reason it would need even two cameras is for depth perception and 3D video.

  • yummy

    The FIRE phone???? Seriously??!!?? I give up. It is not POSSIBLE to have a worse name, but it wont be ling Im sure til someone names a tech product with an even stupider name. I just cant imagine what it will be, but that is the wonder of the universe, at any given moment there are way more stupid people being born than smart people. Fire. Yeah. Good one.

  • jer85008

    So…my incentive to buy a phone more proprietary than cough…iPhone…cough is a year of Amazon Prime? Wow. Like I said before, I already though Bezos was nuts. Now it’s confirmed.

  • compnird

    As someone immersed in the Amazon Ecosystem I was very excited about the Fire Phone’s potential.
    The features are cool but not ‘can’t live without’ for that price point. I’m exceptionally happy with Verizon as my carrier but I buy my devices outright so even if it WAS on VZW the price is far too high for what it is.
    So, I’m left with being very disappointed with what was released and since I am the poster-child for their key demographic I see failure in this phone’s future.

    When these features hit the next Kindle Fire I’ll be on it like white on rice.

  • William_Morris

    Not worth my time or money.

  • David Dudovitz

    Looking at the UI, it looks like what Android would have evolved into today had it stuck with the Gingerbread UI design philosophy (haha).

  • rickneworleansla

    No Google Play. Not interested.

  • sagisarius

    Sounds like a dud. It has one interesting feature, which everyone and their brother may or may not just copy. Otherwise seems expensive and uninteresting.

  • MichaelWiebe

    My biggest issue is that one of the main features is to sell more Amazon products, thus bringing in more revenue to Amazon through their services, i.e. Prime, and looking up items for sale. The event started by talking about how Prime users are more loyal and buy more things, and that a big spike occurred when they released the Fire tablets. Considering this I am assuming that they see the phone as being similar; that the phone is a means to pull more people into their ecosystem to purchase more non phone items on Amazon.

    If that is the case then charging the price that they are is just greedy. It is not a premium phone by any means. The SOC is now old (though just fine), the OS is watered down and IMO not appealing, the app store is severely lacking, and it is missing the Google/Apple services that most people use in
    smart phones.

    If you are releasing a loss leader to bring in money from other sources then you usually take a loss, hence the name. The Fire tablets achieved this perfectly according to Amazon’s slides this afternoon. This will most likely fail.

  • Matthew Mascarenas

    No chance I would even consider this phone… Even if those prices were off contract… Good luck amazon

  • Trempest

    I hate Amazon’s app store. I hate their music store, video store, and every proprietary media application they push. Now they’re trying to make a phone that is solely focused on Amazon content with low specifications, all with AT&T exclusivity as the cherry on top.

    No. Pass. Big pass.

  • B Brad

    Open boot loader? Looks decent if you can flash it yourself.