Today Amazon unveiled
their long-expected new smartphone in Seattle, and as rumors suggested, it will be an AT&T exclusive. According to AT&T's website
, Amazon's new "Fire Phone" won't be quite as cheap (or as, oh, free
) as many news outlets predicted, the 32 GB version costing $200 and the 64 GB version costing $300 -- both prices requiring a two year contract.
Those same phones will be $649 and $749 off contract
when the device launches July 25, 2014, so Amazon's certainly not revolutionizing smartphone pricing. The phrase "AT&T exclusive" isn't exactly an exciting sales pitch in 2014, either.
On the plus side, Amazon's offering unlimited cloud storage for Fire Phone users. They're also offering phone owners one year of free Amazon Prime, which should help with the high price tag slightly.
As for specs, the new Fire Phone has a 4.7-inch screen, 2.2GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It also sports a 13MP camera with a f/2.0 five element lens and optical image stabilization. The most hyped feature is the 3D effect created on the screen, powered by four front-facing cameras that track your head movements.
Not too surprisingly, the device runs a variation of Amazon's Fire OS, and heavily pushes users toward Amazon services. Functionality like Amazon's "Firefly" allow users to scan nearly any object and immediately be directed to either information on the object or a place you can buy it (usually Amazon's website, of course).
Missing from the announcement was the rumor
that Amazon would partner with AT&T to become the first company to experiment with AT&T's controversial "Sponsored Data," program, which lets companies pay AT&T to bypass AT&T user caps. It's quite likely Amazon didn't want to immediately wade into a neutrality minefield with their first foray into smartphones, and that this concept could take root later.
The full product is now listed on Amazon's website
for pre-order, though there's nothing here that appears to revolutionize the sector, and the 3D gimmick likely won't be enough to differentiate Amazon's first effort.