|By Shelly Palmer||
|June 22, 2014 03:01 AM EDT||
Amazon finally unveiled its long-awaited smartphone, the Fire Phone. #epicfail #at&texclusiveareyoukidding #tooheavyandawkward #toolate #seenitbefore #wherearetheapps #shouldhavecalledzuckandaskedfirst #jeffwhatwereyouthinking
Built around the Amazon Prime experience, the Fire Phone runs the same heavily tweaked version of Android found on the Kindle Fire. That means it’ll have access to the 240,000+ apps in the Amazon Appstore, but not every app in the Google Play store (which is roughly five times as big as Amazon’s Appstore). What’s missing? Most notably Snapchat and YouTube.
Firefly and the Amazon Experience
The phone is a market leader in one category: helping you buy stuff from Amazon. That’s thanks to the phone’s “Firefly” feature, which is “basically an everything-scanner.” Once you open up the Firefly app (via a dedicated button on the side of the phone), you can point your phone at just about any item – a DVD, a bottle of water or any number of 70 million other products – and the Fire Phone will display it on Amazon. Firefly can also scan text like phone numbers, restaurant signs and QR codes, then identify that text to make calls, create contacts, send emails, go to websites and more.
Firefly also recognizes a quarter of a million movies and TV shows and 160 live TV channels. It taps into Amazon’s X-Ray feature to show you relevant info about what you’re watching, like the cast and plot. Like Shazam, Firefly can recognize songs, then let you download those songs or add them to a Wish List. Unlike Shazam, you can then use that information to buy concert tickets on StubHub or create an iHeartRadio station around that song.
Inside, the phone has a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a battery that Amazon says should last “all day” and a 13 MP camera (that can also shoot 1080p video).
The standout hardware feature is the phone’s four cameras positioned at the four corners of the phone’s 4.7-inch screen. These cameras create “Dynamic Perspective,” a custom-designed sensor system that responds to the way you hold and look at your phone.
What’s that mean? If you’re buying a Yankees ticket on Stubhub, you can look 90 degrees to the left and right of your seat like you’re in the stadium. It also means that the phone can access hidden panels or perform shortcuts based on the way you tilt your phone. The feature also helps you read books or long web pages without ever touching the screen.
Odds, Ends and Nice Features
Amazon’s 24/7 tech support feature, “Mayday,” is also included in the Fire Phone. First included in the most recent wave of Kindle Fire tablets, Mayday offers free, live, on-device tech support where Amazon’s experts will guide you through any issues you’re having on your device. Amazon also says you can get Mayday help in 15 seconds or less, with no waiting in line and no appointments required.
Amazon’s also offering some nice free perks with the device. The big add-in is a free year of Amazon Prime (normally $99) with every phone purchase. If you’re a Prime customer already, Amazon will tack on 12 months to your subscription. Amazon’s also including 1,000 Amazon Coins (a $10 value) for apps, games and in-app purchases with the phone. Finally, for photo fanatics, Amazon is offering free unlimited Cloud Drive storage for pictures you take with the Fire Phone.
The Fire Phone will be an AT&T exclusive (at least to start), and is now available for pre-order (to launch on July 25). It’ll run you $200 for the 32GB version and $300 for the 64GB model along with the standard two-year contract.
Should You Buy One?
If you live in the Amazon ecosystem – if you’re a Prime customer, addicted to Amazon Instant Video, newly-launched Amazon Prime Music and the Kindle Owners Lending Library – this phone was made for you. It’s the best parts of Amazon condensed into a device small enough to fit into your pocket.
For everyone else, the phone is good, but not a must-own device. While the hardware is acceptable, the app offerings will leave sophisticated users wanting. The phone also doesn’t have Bluetooth LE, which is bad news for wearables. It was also rumored that Amazon might offer the phone for free or underwrite service costs, but neither of those happened, which is a big relief to other Android manufacturers. More importantly, the Firefly technology will undoubtedly end up as an app, or be given away free to other manufacturers, when Amazon realizes that it cannot sell enough phones by itself.
While I’m hugely impressed with the nascent image recognition software and I am sure it is the beginning of a new era in mobile assisted living, for all but the biggest Amazon junkies, it may be early to jump into the Fire.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:15 AM EST Reads: 1,436
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 6,335
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Dec. 9, 2016 03:00 AM EST Reads: 378
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Dec. 9, 2016 02:15 AM EST Reads: 6,229
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
Dec. 9, 2016 02:00 AM EST Reads: 3,046
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 9, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 1,660
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 1,210
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 887
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 9, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 717
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,246
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 8, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 970
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,733
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 8, 2016 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,827
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 2,260
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,860
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 8, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 2,325
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 8, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 1,250
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
Dec. 8, 2016 03:00 PM EST Reads: 540
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 8, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 958
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 8, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,203