Amazon has finally released its Fire Phone, starting at $649 retail ($199 with a plan) for 32 GB storage space, and $749 ($299 with a plan) for 64 GB storage. It will be available July 25. The phone doesn’t yet offer much in the way of apps as other smartphones do, but it does show promise in that some of its best features are available to developers. The phone also comes with some great perks, but only for those who are already Amazon customers.
A free year of Prime
Although the phone is quite expensive, it has a few outstanding free features. The best of these is probably the free year of Amazon Prime, which normally costs $99 per year. Current users of Prime get a free year added to their service. For those who do much of their shopping from Amazon (which includes almost any product you can think of, including groceries, along with Sunday delivery of certain items in some areas), free two-day shipping with Prime is a great bargain even at the $99 rate. A host of free TV shows, movies, and songs is just an added bonus.
Free 24/7 tech support
Another fabulous free feature is Mayday, which promises just about the best customer service one could hope for. Amazon’s goal is for an expert to appear live on your phone within 15 seconds of requesting help. A user can see the specialist live on video, while the specialist cannot see the user. The expert will even have the ability to circle items to show how to complete tasks, or even complete some tasks themselves, when required. That’s beyond helpful.
Free unlimited photo storage
The Fire Phone also offers free unlimited cloud storage for photos. Some phones have similar options, but having the Fire make copies of all photos on the phone automatically without any need to ever upgrade storage space is very handy. The only downside is that any files other than photos do require an upgrade when the cloud space is at full capacity, and videos will not be backed up once the storage limit is reached.
Firefly allows users to scan images and audio with a specially dedicated button on the side of the phone. The information is then processed and fed through software that will identify contact information, products, movies, TV shows, and songs. Most of the information stays within the Amazon ecosystem, allowing users to buy or price-compare anything related to a product.
Contact information from a business card or elsewhere will allow users to make calls, add contacts, visit sites, and send emails without having to type anything. These features are already available within various apps, but the dedicated button on the Fire Phone makes Firefly an easy-to-use integrated feature. Best of all, Firefly is available to developers, which means more features will be available in the future.
The Fire Phone has a feature entitled Dynamic Perspective, which is a bit like 3D-capability without glasses. The best thing about Dynamic Perspective is the four specialized eye-tracking cameras and other sensors that allow users to control the phone without touching the screen. For example, a user can scroll down a page by simply tilting the phone. As with Firefly, Dynamic Perspective is available to developers, which means that there will be many new capabilities coming soon.