Amazon has finally launched their very own smartphone, thus completing the whole ecosystem with the Kindle e-reader, Tablet, TV box, even grocery delivery service in the US, all on top of their dominant presence in the online shopping world.
The smartphone itself is a bit bigger and bulkier than your average iPhone or similar. It does however come with a decent 13MP camera and four front-facing infrared cameras that allow the phone to track facial movements and a feature that Amazon calls ‘Dynamic Perspective’ (for a video demonstration click here).
Despite this and other gesture controls that remind us of the Samsung Galaxy 5, Amazon’s new smartphone appears to lack the ultimate WOW!-factor that would differentiate the device from key players such as Apple or Samsung. It nonetheless has one feature that we find particularly interesting: Amazon Firefly.
The Firefly app can best be described as an ‘everything scanner’. By pointing the camera onto anything from book covers, video games, cans of soup, phone numbers, restaurant signs, UPC or QR codes – essentially anything that you would like to identify, know more about or (of course) to buy on Amazon. And Amazon wants you to use it a lot – that’s why it features its very own button on the inside of the phone that will send you straight to Firefly.
For us, this may very well be the one defining feature that can, at least help if not fully position, the Amazon Fire phone with the established players. This very smart feature lets the phone support all of the services Amazon has to offer and its ability to deliver anything from groceries over TV and music streams, to the small or odd items that many of us order from the online retail giant.
Amazon may have well redefined window shopping as we know it. For one, it is a very hard hit for brick-and-mortar retail stores as it offers consumers even faster ways of checking product reviews and, most importantly for Amazon, compare prices. It thus seems likely that we will soon see a standalone version of the Firefly app, making the ‘everything scanner’ available to everyone (similar to the Kindle app), allowing Amazon to reach even more consumers.
The smartphone has already led to a new wave of consumer empowerment, as an increasing amount of consumers use their smartphone to enhance their in-store shopping experience through price comparison apps and online customer reviews amongst many others. And with more information at their disposal, the modern consumer has all it takes to make an informed decision which is ultimately expected to lead to more diverse market competition … if Amazon doesn’t come first.