Did Amazon, the company that can do no wrong, finally do something wrong in the development of their first smartphone? The collective sigh of disappointment across the tech media space is not unwarranted.
Don't get me wrong, I'm as close to an Amazon fanboi as those irritating Apple geeks who hang in an Apple store in order to pick up envious passing looks from mall shoppers on their way to the food court. I think my Amazon purchase list goes way back to 1998 or so (when they were a book store), I buy ALL my digital music from them (take that iTunes!), I have two Kindles, a classic and an HD Fire, and if I can't find something on Amazon, I seriously reconsider whether I will buy it online at all.
I think they did an amazing job on the Kindles, giving them full street cred in hardware and product development, showing they can not just run an e-commerce store but actually build good overall products for consumers. So why is everyone dissing the Fire Phone?
I think people feel they relied on some gimmicks here as opposed to making a killer phone to compete with the big boys. The specs are all pretty ho-hum, the look is not very new or modern (it ain't no HTC One), and they really seemed to rely on two key features to sell this to the masses and distinguish it from competitors.
First is they are trying to use the phone to put the nail into brick-and-mortar stores so you can scan products on the shelf and just buy them through Amazon. Nice guys. Is that really a user service or is it just another way to line the deep pockets of Jeff Bezos? Kind of transparent wouldn't you say?
Second, and I think this feature is cool and is getting unwarranted bashing, is the Dynamic Perspective. Ok, maybe this isn't so critical for a smartphone UX, and in this particular product it is not going to set the world on fire (Fire, get it?). But people for a long time have been saying how all 3D needs to take off in the home is a display technology that gets rid of 3D glasses. Well, imagine for a minute this type of technology installed on your TV for movies, and I think there are some real interesting possibilities there.
People are calling this thing more of a prototype than an actual ready-for-market product, and I think that is a fair comment.
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