What Amazon Should Have Done

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The Amazon Fire Phone has been getting a lot of buzz lately, especially since reports indicating that the phone might not be doing so well started circulating the web. The amount of advertising put into this phone has been pretty substantial, especially if you are involved with Amazon. The retailer has branded all shipments from their website with “Fire Phone” tape, and placed ads on their main website as well as on television, Hulu, and YouTube. Despite their best efforts however, recent reports claim that the new smartphone has sold less than 35,000 units. There are people for and against the phone, but all in all no one is incredibly excited about it. A recent post here on Geek Brain Dump concluded that on average the phone rated “well” about 50% of the time. Did Amazon make the right choice when they got into the smartphone business, or should they have done something different with the key features their new phone brings to the tech table?


Features

Dynamic Perspective is actually a pretty cool feature; four cameras located on the front of the phone track your head movement simulating a 3D experience in the home menu as well as in various games. It is essentially just an exaggerated version of the feature Apple offered a year ago in it’s release of the iPhone 5S. If you can get over your phone having four cameras recording your face every time you turn it on you just might enjoy this cool little feature.

Firefly is probably the best feature the phone has to offer, allowing you to take a picture of an object and have your phone identify it and pull it up on Amazon. This includes music, games, and even grocery products. Pretty handy.

Mayday is a feature Amazon has installed on all of its latest tablets, offering users 24/7 support free of charge. The company claims that with a tap of the Mayday button, you can open a live video chat with a tech expert within 15 seconds. Definitely the best customer support on the market.

Hardware

  • Gorilla Glass on front and back
  • 4.7 inch display
  • 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 2 GB Ram
  • 2.2 GHz CPU
  • 13 MP camera + LED flash

Software

  • Android-based Fire OS
  • Dynamic Perspective
  • Firefly technology
  • Mayday support

An unboxing / review of these and other features can be found here.

Reviews

So, does the Fire Phone hold its own against Galaxy and Apple smartphones? According to recent reports and product reviews, it doesn’t. Although many of the features are new, unique, and very practical, they don’t appear to justify the release of a brand new smartphone. The exterior is similar to the iPhone 4, and the hardware is nothing to brag about. It’s not really Amazons fault, either. Samsung released it’s first smartphone in 1999. That’s 15 years of development that Amazon must now compete with. If your going to break into the smartphone world against competitors like Samsung and Apple with a product that only offers special software (that could easily be integrated with an application) and charge just as much as your top competitors, you shouldn’t expect to sell more than 35,000 units.

What Amazon Should Have Done

All things considered, the most convincing reason to buy the Fire Phone is it’s connection to Amazon.  Dynamic Perspective, Firefly and Mayday carry the phone, which is why I think an exclusive deal with Amazon and a top smartphone company would serve to benefit both parties. So many tech companies are trying to expand into areas they simply don’t belong just to increase profits. It’s like Google Wallet; just because Google created a great search engine doesn’t mean I should use their services to make purchases online. Paypal is far superior. Everyone wants a monopoly. Just stick with what you do best. Tech companies should collaborate and work together to collectively provide a service that works well among all platforms.

There are many ways these features could have been implemented within one (or many) of the existing major smartphones. If these features are enough to make people want to go out and buy a smartphone, what would Apple have to gain from integrating Firefly into Siri? “Hey Siri, buy these chips for me.” “Okay David, the chips will be shipped out tomorrow!” Freaking awesome.

Author

David J Pfeiffer

Student, Computer Science Major, Aspiring Developer. Over the next 4 years I want to create programs, applications, and be a part of projects that use technology to benefit the world.

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2 Comments

  1. Mark Sweeney September 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Some excellent points, but for me the most convincing reason not to buy this phone was it’s link to Amazon, Me personally i don’t want a bar code reader that makes a phone call, this phone is just not sexy enough. Phones our a fashion accessory for a lot of people, they wanna look cool.

    Amazon should have went for a cheap phone to entice people to there Eco system then maybe down the line start to bring out more expensive phones with better feature’s .

    I’m sure Amazon will bang away with there phone’s as they seem to have a lot of backers who don’t mind losing money.

    PS

    Gone from Amazon junkie to Amazon free for nearly a year now,” And feels great to support local shops “.

    • David J Pfeiffer September 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Interesting thoughts. I personally find Amazon very helpful, but thats mainly because I hate doing shopping myself. Anything I can order online, I do. I just think the bottom line for the Fire Phone is that they should have made better hardware if they were going to try at all. That, or just have partnered up with one of the smartphone giants already out there.

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