Amazon Fire phone to ship in US on 25 July

3D smartphone includes high-end specs and exclusive Amazon services

Amazon has launched its first smartphone, which is packed with high-end specifications, a host of exclusive services and a unique interface.

CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the Fire phone' at an event in Seattle, finally silencing mounting speculation that it was about to get into the smartphone game. 

Amazon debuted the rumoured 3D interface known as "Dynamic Perspective" on the device, which also sports four cameras (using two at any one time) to provide a 120-degree field of view.

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However, it's not the pop-out 3D interface, which has been tried by firms like HTC. Instead, Amazon's application subtly provides depth to maps and images.

The cameras recognise human faces, allowing users to scroll down web pages by tilting the device. Gestures can also be used to control the size of images.

Fire phone specifications

Display: 4.7in IPS LCD HD with Gorilla Glass 3

Brightness: 590 nit brightness

Processor: 2.2GHz quad-core processor with Adreno 330 graphics

RAM: 2GB RAM

Rear camera: 13-megapixel rear camera, with optical image stabilisation

Storage: 32GB

Other: Magnetic earbuds aim to provide tangle-free headphones

Services included with the Fire phone

Amazon was expected to differentiate its smartphone from competitors via its dedicated services. And it didn't disappoint in that respect. 

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There's a dedicated Firefly' button on the left-hand edge of the device. When activated this feature allows the camera to scan items such as books, CDs, DVDs, games and then point to a listing on Amazon.

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Bezos claimed Firefly can recognise 100 million items and can also identify songs and TV shows. Amazon will be making an SDK available so third parties can incorporate this feature.

In addition, a feature called MyFitnessPal will give users nutritional information when food is scanned.

Other features/services included:

- Users get free unlimited photo storage via Amazon Cloud Drive.

- The ASAP feature predicts what video you might watch and pre-caches it.

- Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and ESPN apps have already been confirmed.

- Free music streaming with Amazon Prime music with no ads.

- Amazon's Mayday support feature is included. The firm aims to respond to customer in 15 secs or less (24/7/365)

Amazon will be hoping the Fire phone proves as popular as its Kindle Fire tablet. This was introduced in 2011 and has gone on to sell "tens of millions" of units, according to Bezos.

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The Fire phone costs $199 with a two-year contract on AT&T or is available for $27 per month for the 32GB edition and 12 months of Amazon Prime included (worth $99). If you're already an Amazon Prime customer you will still get a year free.

Pre-orders are open now and the device will ship in the US on 25 July. There's no word as yet on when the device will be released in other markets.

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