API Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Ruxit Blog, William Schmarzo

Blog Feed Post

Amazon Fire Phone: An #EpicFail

Amazon Fire Phone

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.

Amazon Fire Phone's Firefly

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.

Amazon Fire Phone

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.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

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...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and 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.
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), sponsor of the IoTivity open source project, and AllSeen Alliance, which provides the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework, today announced that the two organizations’ boards have approved a merger under the OCF name and bylaws. This merger will advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups, enabling the full operating potential of IoT and representing a significant step towards a connected ecosystem.
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...