The quick facts: good camera: 13MP, a unique "Dynamic Perspective" mode that displays maps, for example, in a visually pleasing way, and - Firefly. Firefly is supposed to enable users to identify things (even with a special button for it!) and act or "instantly and take action on..." as it says on the box. Most probably it is meant to help you identify products while showrooming around, and you'd take action in the form of buying stuff from amazon. Would be interesting to hear how much artificial intelligence is in there, and/or how much mechanical turk...
The selling point for smartphones, with amazon's latest addition, would be summed up as this, according to Bloomberg TV today:
- You are a creative/genius/interesting/world-embracing person, or all of the aforementioned at once, so you naturally buy an iPhone.
- You don't need to show off or reveal yourself as being an Apple fangirl/fanboy, and in a pragmatic way save some bucks and buy a Samsung Galaxy.
- You are a customer, living is shopping and shopping is life - so you buy an Amazon Fire with the one-click checkout hard-wired in.
Well, I think stating this would be the only selling-point for the Amazon Fire Phone is too negative. There are a number of good reasons to join the Smartphone market if you were amazon.
First, you can scratch your MEE-TOO itch. Why not? After all, any marketing stunt you do will end up in the news and beat the drum for amazon. Second, even if the Firefly button is 70% for driving additional buyers to amazon - it's still a new feature in the smartphone sector. Google Goggles, the other app that was meant to identify products/ search by picture/ lets people buy stuff by pointing their smartphone somehow disappeared - so it's good to see Amazon pick that up. And as it seems, they made it work! And if the other 30% of the functionality actually work just as well, for example dial by pointing your phone on a printed phone number, or identifying tracks by recording a bit from radio/tv/whatever - like with Shazam - great as well! And I hear it works as well with TV: Shazam for TV, not bad! Although identifying things on TV is probably more about finding short clips/ news segments/ people, and not so much about identifying a movie/episode/etc... As most people know what they currently watch on TV, or they fire up the EPG. That said, it might be interesting for keeping your "watch-log"/ your episode tracker up-to-date...
So if this new feature is another gamificationt of our everyday life: great. I'm in. And, Amazon, you say, is trying to squeeze some bucks out of their customers?, but for that, is giving away a great smartphone at a discounted price-point? Well, sounds fair!
After all, all of us need to generate some revenue from what we do (in case you didn't notice the referral links above.). And it's great to see a very capable smartphone with an alternative OS, fire OS that is, and new ideas. Only seeing Android and iOS grabbing market shares is no good (cheering for you, Firefox OS, here...).