Digital life reporter Katie Humphrey covers all things Internet and culture, from apps and social media to goofy memes and studies proclaiming tech will doom/save us all. Chat with her on Twitter: @HumphreyKatie.

Amazon's Fire Phone is made for shopping

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: June 18, 2014 - 3:35 PM

Amazon jumped into the smartphone world today with Fire Phone.

Here's a rundown of all the tech specs and tricks, including a 4.7-inch display, unlimited cloud storage for photos and the much-rumored 3D effect called "dynamic perspective." Nifty stuff, but is "dynamic perspective" enough to send people scurrying for a new phone? Unlikely.

So why, in a market that's already dominated by Android and Apple phones, would Amazon build it's own phone on a modified Android platform? Shopping, shopping and more shopping.

Business Week points out that it's all part of Amazon's scheme to sell us everything. Just ask a Kindle user. It's dangerously easy to buy a book from Amazon when you're using an Amazon gadget.

Fire Phone is practically a pocket Amazon store. A feature called Firefly that lets users scan or take a picture of all sorts of products and find them to order via Amazon. No need to open an app, Firefly has a dedicated button on the phone.

In a demo during the Fire Phone unveiling, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos showed Firefly's wide-ranging recognition skills -- books, Game of Thrones episodes, Nutella. The company says Firefly can recognize 100 million different items in seconds. Showrooming on steroids.

Even more shopping incentive, the price of Fire Phone (starting at $199 with a two-year AT&T contract) includes a year of Amazon Prime membership, which means free two-day shipping.

So, yes, Fire Phone is a phone. It texts and takes pictures and has apps and games. But Amazon is sure hoping users go shopping.

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