After months of rumor and speculation, Amazon has jumped into the smartphone market with the launch of its eagerly-anticipated Fire Phone.
Most of the hype over the last few months has focused on the device's 3-D capabilities, which Amazon duly delivered at the launch event in Seattle. Shrewdly, though, the online giant has also built a host of features into the Fire Phone that will pull users further into its vast retail empire.
Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the Fire Phone has a 4.7-inch screen and will be available exclusively on AT&T when it ships on July 25. Pricing starts at $199 for a 32GB version of the phone with a two-year contract. A 64 GB version will be priced at $299 with a two-year contract. The 32GB and 64GB versions will also be available with zero money down from $27.09 a month and $31.25 a month, respectively, on AT&T's Next 18 plan.
The device's Firefly feature offers image, text and audio recognition, letting users scan QR and bar codes, Web and email addresses and over 100 million other items, according to Amazon. This includes movies, TV shows, and song recognition in the style of the popular Shazam app. When Firefly recognizes a song, for example, it taps into the Amazon Music catalog. The retailer says that Firefly can identify 35 million songs.