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Liveblog: Amazon's New Mobile Play

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Jun 18, 2014, 11:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jun 23, 2014, 8:09 AM

Amazon is announcing something big today, widely rumored and assumed to be their first phone. We're in Seattle to cover the event live. Tune in!

Jun 18, 2014, 2:05 PM: And we're done!

Jun 18, 2014, 2:04 PM: Showing a wrap-up video now, highlighting all the features.

Jun 18, 2014, 2:01 PM: Amazon giving buyers of Fire Phone 12 months of Prime for free. Will give existing members 12 months of free Prime, too.

Jun 18, 2014, 2:01 PM: The Fire Phone will cost $200 for 32GB ($27/mo with Next) and $300 for 64GB. For sale in July. Ships July 25.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:59 PM: Ugh, AT&T didn't announce pricing (yet).

Jun 18, 2014, 1:58 PM: Can be purchased with a Next program if you want ($0 down, no activation fee, etc.)

Jun 18, 2014, 1:58 PM: Fire Phone can be preordered starting today.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:57 PM: AT&T says the MayDay feature will also tie into AT&T's customer service.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:57 PM: He says he uses the FireFly feature all the time on everything and that the phone will probably result in him buying more stuff from Amazon.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:56 PM: AT&T's CEO is really excited about the Fire Phone.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:53 PM: AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega is on stage now.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:52 PM: Fire Phone to be AT&T exclusive.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:52 PM: Bezos says there are dozens of small touches throughout the phone to make using it better.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:51 PM: The Fire Phone allows users to set almost any app "one swipe" from the lock screen.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:50 PM: For example, the ability to turn off the ringer for 2 hours (while attending a movie) and then automatically turn it back on after the movie is over.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:50 PM: Amazon is talking about "small touches" it built into the Fire Phone.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:47 PM: Video about how excited developers are to work with Dynamic Perspective.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:46 PM: Amazon is offering a Dynamic Perspective SDK to developers so they cane come up with their own cool 3D-style stuff.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:45 PM: Basically, Amazon spent years working on this technology.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:44 PM: "We got really good at tracking faces and finding heads."

Jun 18, 2014, 1:42 PM: Amazon also used millions of images from thousands of faces from around the world.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:42 PM: Amazon used robots to provide the data points.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:41 PM: Facial variety is really, really hard for computers to learn in depth. So Amazon needed tons of data to get what it needed.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:39 PM: Amazon made special cameras that have a 120-degree field of view so the user's face can always be tracked. Four cameras so stereo vision can always work. They also work in extreme low-light using infrared lights that help in the dark.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:37 PM: Bezos says Dynamic Perspective is made possible through "Computer vision."

Jun 18, 2014, 1:36 PM: Amazon has been working on Dynamic Perspective for four years. It relies on knowing where the user's eyes are at all times.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:35 PM: Bezos is demoing a game on the phone, which also has the dynamic perspective for looking around.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:33 PM: The UI uses a three-panel design. Left panel offers basic controls, central panel offers the main app, and the third panel offers extra details, lyrics, etc. He is tilting the phone to get the panels to shift inane out.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:31 PM: Active widgets are actionable, allowing users to dismiss or reply to emails, for example, or interact with their calendar.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:30 PM: The Fire Phone allows users to pin not just apps, but content to the app grid, such as books or videos.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:29 PM: Users can set the Fire Phone to automatically scroll at a constant speed for easier reading. It will stop when the screen is touched.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:28 PM: The feature is called Dynamic Perspective. Amazon claims it is more robust than simply tilting the device back and forth to get a reaction. It is more responsive to fine motions.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:27 PM: The gesture can be used throughout the UI to interact with content on the screen.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:25 PM: Bezos is now showing how you can use accelerometers to interact with on-screen elements, such as items you might buy.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:22 PM: Oh, 3D maps, too!

Jun 18, 2014, 1:21 PM: The demo looks craxy impressive.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:20 PM: The Fire Phone has a dynamic perspective tool that adds depth to images seen on the phone. In other words, 3D!

Jun 18, 2014, 1:20 PM: "What if there were 1000 artists to redraw the picture every time you move your head."

Jun 18, 2014, 1:19 PM: Uh oh, here we go. Talking about the 3D tech built into the phone.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:18 PM: Bezoes is talking about art and how it changed once geometric perspective was added.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:17 PM: Amazon is offering the SDK to developers to see what other app writers can come up with.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:17 PM: Firefly SDK allows other developers to create custom actions with the Firefly search tool. MyFitnessPal, for example, will search the health data for food images.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:14 PM: The Firefly search feature has a dedicated button on the phone for instant object searching.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:14 PM: Amazon is talking about how it has fine-tuned its object / optical recognition when it comes to text to more accurately get the data correct.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:07 PM: Amazon is showing off a feature called Firefly. Looks like an object recognition tool. Shopping tool. Like a barcode scanner for discovering/searching for stuff.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:05 PM: Fire Phone comes with Mayday, 24/7/365. Live, instant customer support, same as the Kindle tablets.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:04 PM: Customers "hate" having to use forums to find answers, also dislike going to stores.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:04 PM: Amazon is showing a video showing how hard it is for people to adjust vital settings on their smartphones, such as turning off intentional roaming.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:03 PM: Customer support? Amazon customers "care deeply" about customer support, says Amazon.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:02 PM: Kindle Store, good reading experience, millions of ebooks and Kindle-owners loaning library.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:02 PM: Includes Prime Music, as well as third-party apps such as Pandora, Spotify, etc.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:01 PM: Bringing over FireTV services, such as ASAP. Predictive cashing, yes smarter over time, personalized based on time of day.

Jun 18, 2014, 1:00 PM: Second Screen and X-Ray for Movies. Can fling movies to Miracast devices, such as Xbox or Fire TV.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:58 PM: Premium, flat-cord earbuds are packaged in the box.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:57 PM: Dual-stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus for virtual surround sound.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:57 PM: Unlimited online storage for photos thanks to Amazon Cloud Drive.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:57 PM: Dedicated camera button!

Jun 18, 2014, 12:56 PM: Amazon claims the faster lens and OIS result in pictures that are better than Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s. Bold.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:55 PM: Quad-core 2.2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, Adreno graphics.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:55 PM: 13mp camera, f/2.0 lens, optical image stabilization.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:54 PM: Amazon obsessed over outdoor viewing. 4.7-inch HD screen. a polarize so it can be used when wearing sunglasses.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:53 PM: Amazon just announced the Fire Phone!

Jun 18, 2014, 12:52 PM: Can we build ab ether phone for our best customers?

Jun 18, 2014, 12:52 PM: But we ask ourselves "How would it be different?"

Jun 18, 2014, 12:52 PM: It is the number one question he gets. "It makes sense to me that looking at our skills and assets that that would be a natural question."

Jun 18, 2014, 12:52 PM: Bezos says he is asked ALL THE TIME when it is launching a phone.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:49 PM: With customers in the crowd, there are a lot of cheerleaders initiating applause for everything Bezos says.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:49 PM: Customers notice when you do things right, says Bezos.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:49 PM: Trust is hard and needs to be earned, not given/asked for. 1. Do hard things well. 2. Repeat.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:48 PM: Best thing we've done in the last 20 years is to earn trust with our customers.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:48 PM: "Reputation is a trailing indicator of excellence ... as it should be." - Bezos.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:47 PM: Amazon claims to have 10s of millions of Kindle owners, in addition to 10s of millions of Prime customers. (see a theme here?)

Jun 18, 2014, 12:46 PM: Bezos is talking up the virtues of its hardware, such as the Kindle Paperwhite and Fire HDK.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:43 PM: "Patience, persistence, and obsessive attention to detail" -- Bezos.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:42 PM: Amazon says the increase in usage was tied to its tablet and several other online content deals.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:41 PM: Amazon has 10s of millions of Amazon Prime customers.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:41 PM: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is on the stage. More than 60,000 people wanted to attend this event. There are 300 here.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:39 PM: Video is of a customer saying how much he wants to attend the event.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:38 PM: OK, looks like this is it! Video time!

Jun 18, 2014, 12:36 PM: The music keeps pausing as if the event is about to start ... and then another song kicks in. Amazon is running a few moments late here.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:27 PM: Venue isn't very large but it is packed tightly. Amazon took an unusual approach to this event in that it allowed average Amazon customers to attend in addition to the media.

Jun 18, 2014, 12:22 PM: We're seated in the venue awaiting Amazon's big reveal. Things are scheduled to kick off at 10:30/1:30. Stay tuned for live updates!

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Jun 18, 2014, 11:58 AM


What time does the even start? I can't hardly wait to see what this phone will do. I'm a huge Amazon fan and love all their products. This one will hopefully be a much welcomed addition to all my other Amazon gadgets!
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