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Amazon announces the Fire Phone, powered by a Snapdragon processor

Today, Amazon introduced the Fire Phone, the first phone ever designed by the retail giant. Featuring a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 processor, the Fire Phone aims to make a name for itself with innovative technologies, including a highly customized interface powered by a small army of cameras and sensors.

Scattered around the device is a total of six cameras. Two of them are what you’ve come to expect from a high-end smartphone: a 13 MP f/2 rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization, and a 2.1 MP one on the front — both are capable of recording 1080p video. The others, though, are all eyes on the user.

The Fire Phone’s interface is controlled by four cameras each with a 120 degree field of view that specifically track user movement, and an accelerometer. This technology allows the device to simulate 3D effects, providing a sense of depth to images on the phone, which changes in relation to the viewing angle and conditions.

That many sensors running in tandem generates a lot of data in need of processing, but thanks to the Snapdragon 800’s dual image signal processor, the Fire Phone is designed to adjust the UI quickly in response to the multiple streams of data.

The low-power Qualcomm Hexagon™ DSP and Qualcomm RF360™ Solution help keep the Fire Phone’s battery usage low, with Amazon promising 285 hours of life on standby. The first phone to adopt all three tenets of RF360 technology, the Fire Phone can take advantage of the reduced power consumption and improved radio performance technology for superior battery performance.

Like the Kindle Fire tablets, the Fire Phone will sport Amazon’s Fire OS, including access to Amazon’s exclusive app store and their 24-hour free help center, MayDay, as well as free unlimited photo storage on Amazon’s cloud service.

Central to the phone’s features, though, is Firefly. A dedicated button on the side of the phone launches Amazon’s new feature, which allows users to scan items in the world around them, identify them, and then purchase them.

Owners of the Fire Phone will get the most out of the device if they have an Amazon Prime account. Fortunately, a year comes free with the phone. Apart from several shipping benefits at Amazon.com, the $99 a year membership includes access to video streaming and rentals, as well as Amazon’s brand new music streaming service, Amazon Prime Music.

And on your Fire Phone, media quality is designed to match your living room’s, with help from Snapdragon 800 processor’s support for 5.1 surround sound and an advanced display. At 4.7 inches, the 720p resolution gives the display a pixel density of 315 ppi — just about the same as the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HDX’s 339 ppi.

For those times when you are sitting in front of your TV, the Fire Phone can fling content to a paired Fire TV, and will then provide supplementary content to whatever you’re watching, such as actor information on IMDB, through their X-Ray feature. What’s more, Amazon ASAP attempts to predict what you’re going to watch, and will pre-cache it for immediate play.

The Amazon Fire Phone comes with either 32 or 64GB of storage, and is available exclusively at AT&T for $199.99 and $299.99 respectively. Pre-orders begin today with devices shipping on July 25.

Topics: Amazon, Smartphones, Snapdragon 800

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