Last week Google released a sizeable update to Google Wallet that finally let you carry loyalty cards in digital form. Now Amazon has released its own version of... pretty much the same thing, minus all the other stuff that Google Wallet does. Amazon Wallet is currently in beta on both the Google Play Store and Amazon's own Appstore in a rare simultaneous release. Compatibility seems to be limited to phones at the moment, and since it's labeled as "for Fire Phone" on this promo page, it may be pre-loaded on that device.
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.
Google Glass hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but it wasn't meant to. It and other projects under the "Google X" team were designed to be experimental, and we're still months away from seeing it hit a retail market at the very least. Even so, the news that one of the original architects of Glass is leaving for the distant shores (if not the greener pastures) of Amazon is a little disheartening.
We've been talking about Handy Apps' newest app, Expense IQ, and how it can help users be more aware of their finances, budgeting, save money, etc. But we haven't yet looked at one of EIQ's best features: Cloud Sync. This is an extremely important feature, as it not only makes moving data to a new device easy, but it also keeps a backup safe in the cloud (in your Dropbox account) and makes all info available across multiple devices.
Amazon's Android Appstore always has at least one paid app featured for free every day, but for whatever reason, they've decided to make a whopping 31 apps free right now. Taken together they're worth over $100 USD. Most of them are barely notable, but there are some worthy games and apps in there as well. Plex, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, The Room Two, AccuWeather, Root Explorer, Ravensword, Dungeon Village, and Splashtop are all worth it even at the paid price.
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.
Update: Here's a video of the full press conference.
We've been hearing about Amazon's potential smartphone for what seems like years, but today it's finally real. At a super-exclusive Amazon event, Jeff Bezos talked about Prime, Kindles, FireTV, customers, some other stuff, and took wraps off of the company's first go at a phone. It is, as you may have guessed, an interesting one. It's packing some rather unique features, as well as top-notch hardware:
- 4.7" IPS LCD HD display "optimized for one-handed use" – 590 nit brightness, Gorilla Glass
- Quad core 2.2GHz processor
- Adreno 330 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 32/64GB storage
- 13MP f/2.0 rear shooter, OIS – instant access button, even with the screen off
- Four front-facing cameras for dynamic perspective and a wider field of view
- Unlimited photo storage (cloud)
- Dual stereo speakers
- Ships with non-tangle headphones with flat cable and magnetic buds
- Glass back
- Aluminum Buttons
- Nine-band LTE
- $199 on-contract, AT&T Only
Oh, carrier exclusives, how we have missed thee. In this enlightened age when the flagship phones from Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola are all available on the Big Four American carriers, it's so easy to forget that some devices aren't. And just in case you needed reminding, it looks like the Amazon phone expected at tomorrow's press event is going to be an AT&T exclusive. So sayeth the Wall Street Journal, which tends to be spot-on with Amazon news.