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The Amazon phone is finally here: Amazon unveils the Fire Phone

Updated Jun 18th, 2014 3:37PM EDT
Amazon Fire Phone Release Date

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We’re not even going to suggest that you pretend to act surprised, but Amazon on Wednesday finally took the wraps off of one of the worst kept secrets in the industry: the Fire Phone. The phone has been in development for years and rumors have been bouncing around since 2012. Then, BGR blew the lid off the handset beginning in April, when we gave the world its first look at the device and reported several key specs.

BGR then exclusively shared a number of key details surrounding the phone’s custom software, shortly before reporting that “Prime Data” would be one of the smartphone’s key selling points. Finally, we gave the world an unobstructed look at the handset for the first time last month.

Now, the Fire Phone is finally official.

FOR MORE: Amazon just unveiled the most innovative smartphone of 2014 – here’s its biggest problem

During a special press conference in Seattle, Washington on Wednesday, Amazon unveiled its first of several planned own-brand smartphones. As expected, the phone features a heavily customized version of Android that is similar to the operating system on Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet lineup, and apps are made available through the company’s own Amazon Appstore.

The phone looks like any other full touchscreen smartphone, but the handset’s key differentiating features revolve around a unique combination of sensors and four front-facing cameras that track the user’s head in order to facilitate a variety of 3D effects and gesture controls.

Pictures and other on-screen elements shift their position as the user’s head moves, creating a glasses-free 3D experience. Similar technology allows users to scroll, launch menus and display new information simply by tilting the phone.

More information on theses nifty features can be found in our earlier report.

Amazon’s handset is powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and it features a 4.7-inch 720p HD display that Amazon says is bright enough to be visible in outdoor lighting. It also includes 2GB of RAM, dual stereo speakers, a 13-megapixel rear camera and front-facing camera for video chats.

The phone will include unlimited cloud-based photo storage, which is certainly a nice value-add.

Amazon’s handset features six individual camera modules in total, which is a first for any smartphone. Four of the camera modules are low-power units that track the user’s head in order to help facilitate the 3D effects and motion gestures that make up the most novel features Amazon’s phone has to offer.

The phone will feature deep integration with Amazon’s various Prime services, including its video service and the newly unveiled Amazon Music offering. Needless to say, the device will also include dedicated Kindle software for eBooks.

Also on board is Amazon’s fantastic Mayday service, which provides a direct line of communication to Amazon’s customer support team via video chat. Reps can help users diagnose and resolve any issues, and they can also take control of the phone to help, if need be.

Another key feature on the Fire Phone is Firefly, which uses the camera to scan barcodes on products and pull them up in Amazon’s store. Firefly can also listen to music or TV shows using technology similar to Shazam to recognize them and pull them up in Amazon’s digital shop.

Phone numbers and email addresses are recognized by Firefly as well. Once they are, they can be added to a new contact or used to initiate a call or email.

The phone has a dedicated Firefly button that pulls the feature up in one second, according to Amazon.

The Amazon Fire Phone will start at $199.99 on contract with 32GB of storage, and a 64GB version will be available for $299.99. Off contract, the phone will be priced in line with the iPhone, starting at $650. With any purchase option, the phone includes 12 months of Amazon Prime service for free.

Amazon’s Fire Phone will be available exclusively from AT&T in the United States, and it will launch on July 25th. Pre-order availability begins today on Amazon’s website and AT&T’s site.

SEE ALSO: Fire Phone specs and features: Everything you need to know

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.