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6/19/2014
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Amazon Fire: Here's The Rub

Amazon's new Fire smartphone makes sense for Jeff Bezos, but not for us. The "ultimate" shopping experience should be made available as an app, not as hardware.

Amazon finally unveiled Wednesday its long-anticipated smartphone. So what's the verdict?

Dubbed Fire Phone, it incorporates a couple of differentiated technologies such as Firefly and dynamic perspective. I find them impressive.

Yet I don't think I'm alone regarding Amazon's strategy -- pushing its own hardware, not the app, so closely tied to its own store and services -- somewhat puzzling and even a little offensive. With so many smartphones to choose from, why would any consumers opt for a Fire Phone, which is blatantly self-serving for Amazon and doesn't even include the Google Play store?


Database of coded objects

First, let's talk technology. Integrated into the phone is Firefly, a feature that's designed to recognize over 100 million items, according to Amazon, from the information Fire Phone captures through its cameras and microphone.

Read the rest of this article on EE Times.

Former beat reporter, bureau chief, and editor in chief of EE Times, Junko Yoshida now spends a lot of her time covering the global electronics industry with a particular focus on China. Her beat has always been emerging technologies and business models that enable a new ... View Full Bio

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Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
6/23/2014 | 8:41:19 AM
Re: Agree?
I agree the benefits that Amazon is aiming towards, could easily be gained by an app. I like the idea of database of coded objects, but only if the database can reach a scale that it becomes useful for purchases of highly technical objects/products.

For instance, today if a consumer owns a S4 and becomes interested in a S5. A consumer can go to a search engine and compare the two, read a few reviews, specification and decide. But all this requires a point of reference or first-hand product experience, or at least identifying a product's name/model. A database can help in the identification process, but 100 million objects is not a huge figure, considering that just the internet is expected to communicate with 50 billion objects by 2020. Imagine all the products that already exist.
ANewNickname
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ANewNickname,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/20/2014 | 6:50:50 PM
Re: Self-serving to a fault
I wouldn't mind so much if the apps were critical to basic phone functions. But when they're solely to harass you to buy extra services, or (in Google's case) even to foist unwanted services on you for free, I'd rather have the opportunity to choose those functions in the marketplace.
Laurianne
100%
0%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/20/2014 | 11:58:52 AM
Re: Self-serving to a fault
You'd think phone makers would learn from the pre-loaded PC clutter -- aka crapplications -- that users came to hate. if you're going to load them, please make them easy to delete.
Shane M. O'Neill
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50%
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/20/2014 | 10:20:55 AM
Re: Self-serving to a fault
I hear ya. Non-removable default apps are annoying. I just got a Galaxy S5 and there are Verizon apps on there, only one of which - My Verizon Mobile - is actually helpful. The others are just clutter. But that doesn't seem like enough of a reason to return the phone. Mine didn't come with any Samsung bloatware that I can see.
ANewNickname
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50%
ANewNickname,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/20/2014 | 10:02:05 AM
Re: Self-serving to a fault
This phone takes unwanted, non-removable software cluttering up your phone to new heights. I'm returning my new Galaxy S5 for the same reason. Looking for a phone that does what I want, not what the manufacturer(s) and carrier want.
Shane M. O'Neill
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50%
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/19/2014 | 6:38:28 PM
Re: Agree?
Yes, an advanced Amazon app would serve customer needs. An entire phone is overkill. But not for Bezos, as the story says. He clearly got tired of renting an apartment in a building owned by Apple, Google, or Samsung, when he could buy his own building.
Shane M. O'Neill
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50%
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/19/2014 | 6:15:05 PM
Self-serving to a fault
She makes a good point. The Fire Phone features are cool but they feel like window dressing, added to distract you from how truly self-serving the phone is. I want to like it, but I get an icky feeling. It feels like Wal-Mart released a phone. 
Laurianne
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50%
Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
6/19/2014 | 3:40:38 PM
Agree?
Who agrees with Junko that Amazon should have done an app, not a phone?
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