Amazon has recently made big waves when they released a new smartphone on Wednesday called Fire. Amazon hopes to challenge Apple and Samsung’s years-long dominance in the smart phone market. The device is packed with a collection of futuristic features that are anticipated to make it easier for people to navigate apps, shop and use Amazon services like video and music streaming.
Fortune tested out the Amazon Fire phone to see if it really lives up to its hype. Fortune stated that it didn’t really live up to the hype. While it is clever, the futuristic features didn’t entirely convince that the phone is absolutely necessary – or that it is better than the iPhone some of the Fortune testers own.
Fortune says that the Fire feels light but solid. It seems well built and has an understated look that differs with Apple’s meticulously polished aesthetic.
What sets the Fire Phone apart from other phones is its several new features, starting with the “Dynamic Perspective,” Amazon’s take on 3-D. It’s not the kind of 3-D most people are used to. Images and video don’t pop off the screen. Instead, the Fire has four built in cameras that keep track of a person’s head movements and adjusts the angle of what ever is on the screen accordingly. Tilt your head a few degrees to the left or right, and the phone subtly angles what’s onscreen to create the illusion that you’re peering around it. Tilting the phone to the left brings up a window with categories like “apps,” “games,” and Amazon Prime
Amazon Fire Phone
Amazon wants users to do less finger swiping and a lot more tilting and motion movement to navigate around the phone’s menus and apps. Tilting the phone left brings up a pane of shortcuts to categories like apps, games, photos and the Web browser. A tilt to the right brings up another pane that presents different functions based on what you’re doing, like email attachments in the email app. If you are surfing the Web or reading a message, you can tilt the phone down to slowly scroll down the page. The phone also recognizes subtle flicks of the wrist, or gestures Amazon calls “peeks.” A peek to the left or right in the Maps app while searching for nearby restaurants brings up small pop-up windows with restaurant names and star ratings.
The tilting is something that users will have to get used to, although it’s not much of learning to do or take time – however tilting doesn’t come as naturally as learning to swipe like on iPhones and Androids. Fortune is convinced that the tilting method accomplishes anything materially better or feels any more comfortable than a finger swipe or tap.
As an iPhone user myself I think I would always have a yearning feeling that I’d want to go back to swiping instead of tilting my phone every which way. However I think it’s good that Apple, Samsung and other Android phones are getting more competition – keep competitors on their A game always.