Larry Magid: Amazon Enters Smartphone Market

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- CEO and founder of Amazon.com Inc., Jeff Bezos

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos showed off his company’s first entry into the smartphone market with features like a 3-D display, tangle-free flat-cord headphones, and it’s own operating system, sort of.

Amazon’s Fire smartphone actually runs on Google’s Android, but you wouldn’t know it. They’ve modified things and have Amazon apps based on Android.

Depending on if you get the 32 or 64 GB version of the AT&T plan phone, Fire should cost either $199 or $299 and comes with a one-year Amazon Prime subscription.

The big deal are the relatively unique features like Firefly, which is a service that identifies products using the phone’s camera. Of course, since it’s an Amazon phone, the idea is to compare prices on Amazon and they hope you’ll buy the product from them and have it delivered.

Larry Magid: Amazon Enters Smartphone Market

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Another feature is called Dynamic Perspective. I’m not sure how practical it is, but it looks cool and lets you see in 3-D. If you’re looking at the Empire State Building on the screen, it almost seems to pop right out at you.

Other highlights include, hands-free scrolling. If you tilt your phone you can manipulate apps. Obviously this is an attempt to compete with Samsung, Apple and all the other Android vendors.

It’s hard to say if these features will bring them customers. I have a feeling it’s really about the Amazon ecosystem. They’ve got great content with video, Kindle books and their newly-announced streaming music service.

It’s a good phone, I’m impressed and I think it will get market share, but it’s not going to dominate.

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