As the final piece of the puzzle seems to have fallen neatly into place, it’s time we stopped being so skeptical. Granted, the rumor mill churned out credible Amazon Phone-related gossip a bunch of times in the past, but nothing like this.
This time, we have an abundance of intel, mostly divulged by BGR, high-res photos of the looming device, both in a protective case and in loose, unobstructed form, plus the cherry on top, a teaser video which sets the announcement date in stone while flaunting the covert handheld for a split second.
I know, I know, the promo clip below is cheesy, poorly acted, cringe worthy at times and welcoming of sexual innuendos. Ha-ha, look at the geeks getting excited about… the palm of their hands, which they say they’d use a lot.
But knowing Amazon, it’s safe to assume Jeff Bezos & co. are pretty confident of this gadget that allegedly “moves with you”. I mean, try to remember a similar buzz-building campaign for Kindle Fire tablets. Nothing comes to mind, right?
Of course, confidence doesn’t always equal success, but for the time being, let’s see exactly what makes Amazon so cocky:
Reimagining 3D mobile technology
Designing your first ever smartphone around 3D tech after the HTC EVO 3D and LG Optimus 3D lemons isn’t gutsy, it’s outright crazy. But let’s face it, today’s major mobile players are in a rut, unable to come up with the next legitimate “big thing” and engaging in pointless spec wars by adding two extra processor cores that don’t make a difference, or a bunch of pixels you can only see through a magnifying lens.
So maybe insane visionaries is what the scene needs to move forward. Besides, this “Kindle Fire Phone” (just an alias, don’t get your panties in a bunch) is a unique breed of 3D smartphone. It’s still a gamble, that much is obvious, but if the existing camera and software speculation pans out, it could actually work.
In a nutshell, the gizmo’s four front-facing infrared cams will be tracking your every movement and gesture and thus enable touch less controls like you’ve never seen before. Forget Samsung’s “Air Gestures” or Moto X’s hands-free supervision.
This little bad boy might allow you to forget entirely about tap or swipe, and instead communicate almost telepathically. I’m exaggerating a bit, sure, but again, we may be looking at tech history in the making here, so let’s not be afraid of words.
Viewed by many as the fatal flaw of Kindle Fire slates, Amazon’s unique Android fork, Fire OS, is likely to get a smartphone-dedicated counterpart. One just as opposed to Google services and proprietary apps, including the Play Store, GMaps, Gmail, Drive and so on.
Android purists will naturally be pissed, but for us regular folks an exclusive Prime Data plan is being prepped to assuage some of the frustration. Now, the specifics are slim, so the jury is still out on this particular gimmick, but if the name is any indication, we’ll probably get free limited Amazon Prime memberships or data.
Add that to the increased diversity of the Amazon Appstore, and personally, I might just be tempted to discard Google Play.
It’s not about the specs, it’s about affordability
Well, technically, it’s about the gesture-based interface first and foremost. But the second main selling point shall probably be the Kindle Fire Phone’s “sensible” price point. Don’t ask me to pinpoint a number, however one thing’s for sure – this can’t cost as much as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8.
Not with a 4.7-inch 720p display, 2 GB RAM, 13 megapixel main camera (used for taking photos and recording video, not other shenanigans) and, presumably, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. An S800 clocked lower than 2.5 GHz, at best.
Spec wars be damned, yet I’m positive many power users will turn their backs on the Amazon smartphone before giving it a shot. If not for the heavily modified OS, then definitely because of the “tiny”, “low-res” screen. And while I can’t blame them, I can’t agree with them either. HD res is plenty in my book, and 4.7 inches is ideal. Not too large, not too small.
Timing and distribution
Aside from marketing, where Amazon excels, and the element of surprise, which Amazon clearly is in possession of, two make-or-break fundamentals are the release schedule and availability spread. Unfortunately, the Kindle makers are on the brink of making a huge strategic mistake by striking a partnership with AT&T for the phone’s exclusivity.
A limited-time exclusivity, we’re guessing, but damaging nevertheless. We realize producing the 3D slab in enough volumes to satisfy worldwide demand could be problematic, time-consuming and money-exhausting at first, but surely Amazon can handle a simultaneous launch on all of America’s four leading carriers.
Of course, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile need to show their interest too, and if they don’t, that’s a big, big problem for Amazon. Also a major reason for concern, some insiders claim the Kindle Phone will only start selling in September.
Which isn’t just bad timing on account of the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 announcements, it’s bad timing because it’s three months after the expected June 18 unveil. Oh, come on, Amazon. The world is genuinely excited, or at least curious, about your take on the whole 3D smartphone concept. It’d be such a shame to screw up these little but oh so important details.