Soon there’ll be one extra shiny, black touchscreen to choose from when you’re considering your next cell phone purchase. Amazon just unveiled their bid to enter the mobile market, testing its mettle against the likes of Apple and Samsung, and hoping that a few gimmicks and some heavy integration into your shopping life is enough to set its product apart from the rest of the field.
Amazon’s offering is called the Fire Phone, piggybacking on the success they’ve enjoyed from their line of Kindle e-book readers, specifically the full-fledged tablet Kindle Fire. While the Fire Phone doesn’t look much different from other phones on the market—it’s a sleek black pane of glass—it has a few neat tricks up its sleeve that you won’t find in Apple or Samsung’s gear.
Chief among those are the Fire Phone’s simulated 3D screen. No glasses required here; the phone uses high-end telemetry and sensors to recreate a visual 3D effect. The result is an impressive and futuristic-feeling operating system, though it’ll take some heavy daily use before we figure out if there’s really any extra function to be had from the veneer of 3D.
The rest of the unique aspects of Amazon’s Fire Phone stem from a tight integration with a slew of terrific services that only Amazon offers. A five-camera array doesn’t just shoot 13 megapixel images, it stores an unlimited amount of them in Amazon’s cloud. Those same cameras enable the brand new Firefly service which can view products, listen to music, or watch video that you can then instantaneously and automatically search and buy on Amazon.com. All of this is being powered by the Fire Phone’s 2.2 GHz quad-core processor and 2 gigs of RAM running on top of a specialized version of Android named, you guessed it, the Fire OS.
If you need any help navigating the Fire Phone, from its typical phone functions to its unprecedented Amazon-centric features, it also includes Amazon’s May Day service, a built-in, interactive tech support app where experts can instantly fix a problem or walk you through instructions on how to make the most of all the Fire Phone can do. It’s like carrying a coach around in your pocket.
Amazon has partnered with AT&T to bring the Fire Phone to the masses beginning on July 25th. They’re also including a free year of premium video streaming service, Amazon Prime, with every purchase. If you’re due for an upgrade, it might be the time to burn it.