01
Apr
wm_amazonblaze (1)
Last Updated: August 1st, 2012

Update: If you haven't caught on yet, you should probably check out the date on which this post was published.

This special Android Police project was brought to you by:

Amazon's been making waves in the Android blogosphere recently with such new products as the Appstore and the Cloud Player, but it looks like they're not done yet; in fact, they're only just starting. According to the same source who tipped us about the Appstore a few months back, the company will be launching the Blaze, which looks to be a smartphone of pretty high caliber, come August - and in a sentence, there's a lot to look forward to.

Up to now, Amazon's forays into Android territory have been purely software-related. With the Blaze, however, the company is adding formidable (and seriously lust-worthy) hardware to the mix - have a look at the phone's spec sheet:

  • 4.3-inch Mirasol display
  • 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8660 processor
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage
  • 8GB microSD card included
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 5MP rear camera
  • MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) port for both microUSB and microHDMI
  • DLNA connectivity
  • Possible NFC chip - we haven't been able to confirm this, but given recent rumors, it's a strong possibility 
  • Bluetooth 2.1/3.0
  • GSM/HSPA+ on AT&T and possibly a Verizon variant, but we're not sure yet
  • 9.25mm thick
  • 120g weight
  • 1700mAh Lithium Ion battery
  • Solar panel on battery cover (hope you get a lot of sun in your area)

It's not just figures, however; if you're not convinced of that, even the briefest of glances at the following product images should be enough to change your mind:

wm_amazonblaze (1) wm_AmazonBlaze_front wm_amazonblaze_back

As you can probably tell from the images above, Amazon has really gone all-out on the Blaze's design - a significant departure from previous products. It's all very streamlined, with a black matte visage and an aluminum battery cover that reportedly "feels just right when held against your face, situated in your pocket, or placed in your hand."

But form hasn't triumphed over function; quite the contrary, as Amazon has made good use of the Blaze's rather large footprint. Unlike most other manufacturers, Amazon hasn't abandoned non-touchscreen navigation - the Blaze will feature a roomy D-pad as well as two pairs of previous-/next-page buttons that should come as a welcome addition to avid readers.

We're told the smartphone's rear 5MP camera isn't anything to write home about, though video chat quality with the 1.3MP front-facing imager is apparently quite impressive. What's really mind-blowing, though, is what lies below the cameras - on the front, a 4.3-inch Mirasol display; on the rear, a solar panel. While solar panels on phones past were ugly copper strips, the Blaze's is made of an entirely new material that is - or at least appears to be - as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional when it comes to charging your phone.

As for the Mirasol screen, our tipster said that while it's not exactly the crispest or brightest mobile display he's seen, it is unique in its own right. For example, Mirasol doesn't require any sort of backlighting to display text/images, meaning that it is extremely energy efficient. Additionally, performance in direct sunlight is outstanding, and even tree-huggers have something to rave about - Mirasol significantly reduces carbon dioxide equivalents.

But as intriguing as the Blaze's hardware may be, software is also involved to some degree - the handset will serve as the debut device for Blaze UI, Amazon's answer to the HTC Senses and Motorola MOTOBLURs of the world. The version our tipster played with was strictly beta firmware and therefore full of bugs, crashes, and barely functional software. Nonetheless, we were pleasantly surprised by what our source did manage to see - for example, one of Blaze UI's highlights will be its excellent integration with Amazon services. Everything, from documents on your Cloud Drive to products you've recently purchased from Amazon.com, is accessible from the Blaze in one form or another - in fact, Amazon accounts are said to be as key to the Blaze's user experience as Google accounts are to a regular Android phone.

Amazon also plans to spice up Gingerbread's (already appealing) user interface with Blaze UI - page turning animations, for example, are visible throughout the experience, and the whole operating system now has a more orange look about it. Finally, we have some good news for those of you concerned about fragmentation: Amazon plans to be much more expeditious with software updates than competing manufacturers, and as you've seen so far with the latest product unveilings, they can move quite fast.

Excited? Don't hold your breath - while Amazon engineers are working around the clock to get the device out ASAP, it isn't expected to go on sale until August. On the upside, we're hearing that its price tag will be "highly competitive." Expect to see a press release and more official details later this month; in the meantime, a leaked product page and a gallery of Blaze-related images lie below:

wm_IMG_4095

wm_AmazonBlaze_gaming wm_AmazonBlaze_ad

wm_AmazonBlaze_MSM8660 wm_amazonblaze_solar

Jaroslav Stekl
Jaroslav Stekl is a tech enthusiast whose favorite gadgets almost always happen to be the latest Android devices. When he's not writing for Android Police, he's probably hiking, camping, or canoeing. He is also an aspiring coffee aficionado and an avid moviegoer.

  • Adam

    It looks like a nice phone and all but can we go a week without someone dropping yet another iteration of Android into the market?

    • Frank Zermeño

      Nope! Aside from falling for the joke, your late for the Android Takeover!!

      • Djkoz78

        I searched the web & I found that it's not an april fools joke.

        • Javadude

          Searching for the end of this post might have sufficed.

      • Adam

        Aww there's egg on my face :(

  • Frank Zermeño

    APRIL FOOLS!!! Mua ha ha. Did any of you really think Amazon was releasing an Android phone??

    • Shorty

      I did, right up until the solar panel nonsense.

      • Aaron Gingrich

        Tried telling Artem the solar panel bit was stupid.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl/ Jaroslav Stekl

          Hater.

      • oic

        why would the solar bit be nonsense. Mirasol screen use very little power, unlike screen found in typical mobile phones

        What I found nonsense was the page turn buttons on the side. Why would you need one of those on a phone that have touch sensitive screen. Not only would those button be so fragile while holding it as a mobile phone, its seem redundant

        • http://about.me/GrantGarrison Grant Garrison

          Redundant? totally :)

  • ZZ

    I thought you already did your April Fools story? Don't get greedy. :P

    • Kane

      They did. The AOL buyout. Looks freaking nice if true.

    • Frank Zermeño

      The more the better! Lol.. it helps people fall for stuff like this. I did for a whole 1.5 minutes. Then I thought, "Amazon.com, really?"

      • http://androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl Jaroslav Stekl

        Yep, that was the idea: first do one no one will fall for, then post another - that way, the April Fools' aspect is much less obvious.

    • Artem Russakovskii

      This is not an April Fools story - we did do ours in the morning (and damn Phandroid who did the same one earlier!).

      • http://UdellEnterprises.com String

        April Fool from your tipster to you, then?

      • http://androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl Jaroslav Stekl

        You liar. :) Yes, it's an April Fools' story, albeit an extremely elaborate one that literally took days to put together.

  • John J

    I like the idea of an Amazon phone, but I'm not really into the d-pad / 4-button thing it has going on.

  • http://trueacu.com acupunc

    If true it looks interesting. If not. . . maybe someone should think about it lol

    • Frank Zermeño

      Well if the reduced carbon dioxide emissions isn't a dead giveaway... the thing is, if Amazon were really going into the smartphone business we would have heard about this 3 months before an article on a solid Android phone would be written.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl/ Jaroslav Stekl

        You came to the right conclusion for all the wrong reasons. :-)
        It's true - the Mirasol display really does reduce carbon dioxide equivalents (by 94%, no less), at least according to Qualcomm's website.
        Your second point isn't necessarily valid, either. While Amazon might have pulled an HP and told us about their plans to go into the mobile business months before revealing an actual product, they could also have followed in Apple's footsteps by not revealing their smartphone project until, you know, something had been manufactured.
        Again, however, the conclusion you came to is 100% accurate - it was an April Fools' prank, as stated by the update I just posted.

  • Frank Zermeño

    I give this guy credit! This is a solid looking article.

    Funny thing is that there really is a company that is trying to implement solar panels in smartphones.

    • Artem Russakovskii

      Solar panels and color e-ink, both. There is nothing yet to say it's not real.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl/ Jaroslav Stekl

        Except the update, of course [you liar]. :)

  • Phil

    Hell you got me.

  • http://www.toughcell.com/ Bob

    Funny. Speaking of non-hw players entering the market, what happened to the facebook phone?

    • Artem Russakovskii

      There is no facebook phone made by facebook - there are many phones with facebook deeply integrated, such as the HTC ChaCha.

  • TareX

    The square screen gave it away. Happy AFD.

    • Artem Russakovskii

      Square screen? I just used my on-screen ruler and verified that it's most definitely not square and the aspect ratio checks out.

  • John J

    I guess I should've read the article. I just saw the headlines and glanced at the pictures. :P

  • Asphyx

    April fools joke aside isn't a solar panel a decent idea if it could work? LOL

  • annoynamous

    EVERYTHING IS BETTER THAN VERIZON... VERIZON IS A BIG EPIC FAIL!!!

  • http://OMGrant.com OMGrant

    I think its real.

  • boriqua2000

    the Thunderbolt could definitly use a solar panel.....or 2.

    • Bigtex

      HTC would probably get it wrong and use the battery to power the solar panel somehow for the first few updates.

      • Jonny D

        I lol'd. Hard.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/thegreenjacket rhY

    There should have been solar panels on cell phones 8 years ago!

  • Eg

    Guys... why should it be a april fools joke? It is not funny in any way. To me, it does look real! Solar panel - i mean why not? They definetly need something that makes this phone unique, dont they?

  • wirbly

    I want to believe.

  • Mono

    If it's a joke then is a bad one. I would buy this thing in a heartbeat. :-|

  • qakgob

    It would be nice to have confirmation of if this is an April Fools joke or not. I would think that it is, but for the fact that one would normally reveal the joke by now. It's been a whole day since this went up with no change.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl/ Jaroslav Stekl

      See the update. ;)

      • qakgob

        Aw man. Missed that. Such a shame too, seemed like it would be pretty awesome.

  • Lorenz

    Imaginary be damned, do want :)

  • Andre

    Who 'shopped the phone? It's a great design that some manufacturer should actually implement.

    • http://GrantGarrison.com OMGrant

      Guilty :P

      Thanks man, I can't tell you how much I appreciate that!

      I've gotten so many mixed reactions sending this around to all my friends whom all pretty much fell for the bait, shrugging it off saying "Big Whup, just another phone in the smart phone market" which in one hand, is exactly the reaction I want, haha... But on the other... I secretly want to jump up and say, "DAMNIT, I designed that, like the hell out of it!"

      Anyway, love the comment, thanks!

  • jenny

    what update are you talking about Jaroslav?

  • jenny

    That makes me sad, i've been had :(

  • Richard Yarrell

    I wish this was true. This would be a great option for android. Who knows maybe one day we will see something like this.

  • Xcom923

    Hey this wouldn't really surprise me if Amazon did something like this. Maybe not a handset but coming out with a kindle running android doesn't seem that to far fetched. I really hate real-looking stories like this on april fools it makes it so hard to tell the difference between what's legitimately news and what's not.

    That being said, good job AP this post was epic AND believable, and isn't that the point?

  • HearMyVoice

    I know this was a joke, but I wish it was real, seems like a great phone.

    Incidentally you caught both Phandroid and Andronica who posted articles based on this.

  • Koala

    Why waste my time this way? I read you for facts not for fun - I spent way too much time reading this before I realized its a lie. Not a joke, not April Fools, just a deception and like I said waste of my time. Not funny and I will never be looking at your stupid childish blog again. Stupid kids, grow up.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl/ Jaroslav Stekl

      Wait, how is it not an April Fools' post?

    • Chris

      Maybe take 5 minutes to just chill out and remember what its like to smile?

      Grumpy old bastard. :-P

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Kthxbai

  • Matt

    You should design phones because so many people would love it if this was real. I did see a story about a solar cell built-in to a screen. The prototypes are out there and should've been done long ago.

  • Larry

    You guys need to make the APRIL FOOLs part of this post more explicit. So far today, April 3rd I've ran across 4 different posts from other Android sites talking about your "Amazon Phone" rumors & tips. Check out Android Community. To your credit, even Phandroid phell phor it!

  • Steve

    All jokes aside this actually sounds like a pretty sweet phone. If keyocera can make a garbage duel screen phone that sells, why not implement something beneficial like solar panels in/on phones? Once again i know this was a joke, but it sounds almost crazy enough to work!

  • Erik

    This April Fools Joke might have backfired. It's not funny, it's just an elaborate prank.

    The joke can end up being on you when all the blogs that reported on your story and linked back to Android Police hesitate to link back here in the future. After all, you made a fool out of them.

    • http://about.me/GrantGarrison Grant Garrison

      Its hard for me imagine anyone getting bent out of shape over something clearly posted on April 1st.

      You're right, it was a prank, some people get it, some people obviously didn't, and now that its past that time when it was funny, people are getting pretty huffy about it. That I can't explain.

      In the end, We all got a kick out of it, and its not our fault people reported it as truth, however damaging that may be. We know of a slew of sites in the blogosphere that 'got it' and went along for the ride.

      They didn't retract their article either, they posted an update like we did and rolled with us, unlike some other sources.

      In the end, its done and over with. We love the response we've gotten, and we love the dialog it has created in the community, not only over its legitimacy, but of its concept and opportunity.

      I personally tried to give the android community a vision of what we all want (Blaze UI aside) and I feel so accomplished in reaching so many Android enthusiast with that.

      Sincerely,
      Grant

  • Asphyx

    You know even when it is NOT April 1st you can only believe 25% of what you read on the internet!

    I don't see why people are getting so bent out of shape over the fact that something that was not true was posted especially on April 1st!

    GET OVER IT FOLKS!
    If your that gullable to believe everything to read on the internet the problem isn't the poster it is the reader!

  • 3Dimensia

    You ruined my life Grant! :P

  • http://www.profitperspectives.com Steve

    The Amazon phone may or may not be real, but read on as to why I think an Amazon "kPad" may on the drawing pad http://www.profitperspectives.com/2011/03/meet-amazon-kpad.html

  • http://lansmith.com Pino

    Design/graphics - superbly done! Good job Grant!

  • http://about.me/GrantGarrison Grant Garrison

    Thanks Pino! Glad you liked it

  • http://bitsofjoy.com Space Indaver

    I don't get where the joke is though. Aren't April Fools' jokes supposed to be funny? Maybe the solar panel aside, the specs are realistic, and why is it so preposterous that Amazon would lend their name to an Android phone? Upon reading, I didn't assume Amazon themselves would be manufacturing it, just that they would be putting their logo on it and possibly having the Kindle app installed as default.

    I don't see a prank or a joke here, just a believable made-up story. Maybe I'm getting old but "Ha! I said a thing that could quite easily be true and you believed it!" doesn't constitute a joke in my opinion; it needed to be far more ridiculous and incredible, otherwise what's the point?

  • ensoniq2k

    I hate you for that one, dude...

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    So the Kindle Fire's internal codename is "blaze" - remind you of anything?

    What I would give to find out if this prank actually had something to do with it.

  • Spydie

    Why are you bringing this back 8 months later? While we'd all like to see Amazon with it's large pockets get into the game and introduce the next generation of android phone, reading this "Enquirer" story, and 8 months old with no updates? was pretty stupid.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Not sure if trolling.

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