The Fire Phone is a tough sell when there are so many great Android devices available with Google services, and it looks like AT&T agrees. After just a few months of (reportedly) poor sales, the Fire Phone has dropped to just $0.99 with a new 2-year contract. I'm seeing shades of the HTC First here.
Amazon's first smartphone isn't that great, but the company is already moving to improve the experience with the device's first OTA update. This bumps the FireOS version up to 3.5.1, and includes a slew of new features and improvements:
By now, you've probably heard a lot about Amazon's Fire Phone. I figure that most people aren't really curious about what the overall phone is like – if you've used a Kindle Fire/HD/HDX then you already know. It's about Amazon services and a weird launcher layout thing. Most people are curious about the four front-facing cameras and Dynamic Perspective. I'm with you on that – that's exactly what I was curious about before getting this phone for review.
The Amazon Fire phone is interesting for a number of reasons. It's the company's first attempt at a smartphone. It crams Fire OS into a smaller form factor than it's had to accommodate before. It has five - yes, five - front-facing cameras, four of which serve as the backbone for what Amazon calls Dynamic Perspective. One thing the phone is not interesting for, however, is being a good deal (more on that below).
Amazon wants you to buy its shiny new Fire Phone, and one of the biggest selling points is that fancy head-tracking camera system. So naturally, the first two games to come out of the company's home-bred Amazon Game Studios for the Fire Phone feature functionality that can only be done with that specific hardware. Unfortunately, both platformer To-Fu Fury (available now for $2) and Match 3 RPG Saber's Edge (free) exhibit classic signs of Kinect Syndrome.
Amazon is hoping the Fire Phone will be a hit with consumers despite the higher than expected price and AT&T exclusivity. To make its case, the retailer is looking to ensure there are plenty of apps and games that take advantage of the device's unique features. Developers can get up to $15,000 in Amazon coins to give away to users if they go along. There are some caveats, of course, but that's a lot of free money.
Jeff Bezos took to the stage earlier today to announce Amazon's first entrant into the highly competitive smartphone industry, the Fire Phone. Not only was the presentation loaded with some of the shiny new features of the handset and Fire OS, all meant for the press to disseminate to potential buyers, but there were also a few unusually blunt efforts to attract developers. In the midst of demonstrating Firefly and Dynamic Perspective, portions of the presentation were focused on explaining that developers would be able to extend these platform features in their own apps.