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A closer look at the new technologies in Amazon's Fire smartphone

Matt Hamblen | June 20, 2014
Firefly, Dynamic Perspective could be the next steps in the evolution of online shopping.

The hardware behind Dynamic Perspective incorporates four low-power cameras in the corners of Fire's display, each equipped with an infrared LED and tied to a dedicated processor and real-time vision software. It promises to give users the ability, for example, to see closeup front and back views of a dress in Amazon's new Shopping app for Fire.

Zillow, a real estate shopping app, used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to let a potential buyer tilt their head to zoom into a bedroom or peek around the kitchen corner, Amazon said in a statement. With Dynamic Perspective, a customer can use one hand to tilt and control moves through a book or Web page or to check out 3D-like maps that have added information on locations with Yelp ratings.

Llamas said Dynamic Perspective seems to go much further than what Apple offered with its parallax view, a 3D effect introduced a year ago in iOS 7. Apple's illusion let icons seem to float above the home screen, but the function apparently didn't go over well with many users,who turned off the function or didn't know how to use it for other parts of the iPhone experience, Llamas said.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos presents the company's first smartphone, called the Fire phone, at an event in Seattle. (Photo: Amazon)

Both the Android-based HTC Evo 3D and LG Optimus with 3D offered 3D-like experiences, but didn't last long on the market because of a lack of 3D content, Llamas said.

Another technology, called Firefly, is activated with a simple, dedicated button push on the side of the phone. Users are connected to image, text (through imaging with the 13-megapixel camera) and audio recognition (through the phone's microphone) capabilities to be able to quickly identify Web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and barcodes and also 100 million other items like movies, TV shows, songs and products.

While Firefly sounds like the ultimate way to get Fire users to buy Amazon products, it could also work when a user goes into a physical store with a Fire phone to see what Amazon has to offer that's similar to the showroom products. Research shows that when smartphone users enter physical stores to comparison shop, in what's been dubbed "showrooming," they are more apt to buy what's in the store, Ask said.

Still, Firefly will reduce the typical problems associated with shopping on a mobile device (searching for an item, opening an app to buy it) by quickly jumping to Amazon to make the purchase, Llamas said.

"That's Amazon's main strategy with this phone, and they clearly want to capitalize on impulse buys to make it so gosh darn easy for you to buy," Llamas said."They've removed a lot of pain points and tried to make buying as delightful as possible."


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