Amazon Firefly in action on the Fire phone
Amazon X-Ray in action on the Fire phone. Image obtained with thanks from Amazon.

Amazon recently released their Fire phone, the latest in their line of mobile devices. This is Amazon’s first smartphone, and they got off to a very good start. However, like everything else, there is room for improvement.

I read a Fire phone review on Technology Review this morning, and overall, the reviewer (Suzanne Jacobs) was not impressed by the phone. She commented on unique features such as Firefly, the dynamic perspective, the Mayday service, as well as a high quality camera, and a fast internet connection.

Amazon Firefly in action on the Fire phone
Amazon X-Ray in action on the Fire phone. Image obtained with thanks from Amazon.

Firefly Enables The Fire Phone To Identify Almost Anything

This enables users to point the Fire phone camera at anything and it will usually recognize it, according to the Technology Review article. The Firefly feature is amazing. However, there is a saying that goes: Execution is everything.

A brilliant technology idea can be put to good use, or go to waste, and I agree with Suzanne’s statement that it wasn’t put to good use. The Fire phone’s Firefly technology can detect songs, people, among many other things. However, it responds by encouraging you to purchase the items.

I am sure that most people would greatly appreciate the ability to point their phone at something they aren’t familiar with and have it recognize it. However, users would likely prefer if it also had the ability to take you to a Wikipedia page (for example) which would explain what it is.

Amazon’s advertising techniques may be annoying to some, but they are an important, and effective part of Amazon’s mobile business model. They could continue to display offers, but preferably in a more discreet manner underneath the Wikipedia article mentioned above.

Mayday Brings Advanced Customer Service To Your Fire Phone

This caught my eye because it is the most convenient online customer service technology i’ve ever seen. It starts a video chat with a customer service representative which can’t see you, but they can see your screen, take control of your Fire phone to correct the problem for you as you speak, and you can see the representative’s camera.

Suzanne commented that both of the times she used the service, the representatives apparently struggled to find a solution, which is unlike the quick, reliable Amazon customer service i’ve come to know.

Amazon has clearly been learning and listening to customers’ and reviewers’ suggestions, as each successive generation of Kindle Fire devices addressed most of the issues that customers and reviewers complained about most, such as the awkward power button on the first Kindle Fire, the lack of volume buttons on the first model, and poor performance. This means that the Fire phone is likely to improve soon.

Apart from that, the hardware is top of the line, with a 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The screen is a 4.7″ HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi, 590 cd/m2 brightness (typical), 1000:1 contrast ratio (typical).

The rest of the features are listed here.

Main Sources: Amazon and Technology Review.

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