Amazon is now in the smartphone biz. Not a huge leap seeing as how Amazon’s original Kindle made ereaders cool and their new generation of tablets is slowly eating up the iPad’s territory. So, an Amazon branded smartphone isn’t as far out as it seems. But a smartphone isn’t a tablet and folks are used to having a wide selection of apps that they’re not going to find on the new Amazon Fire Phone.
What they will find is a nifty new Firefly Button that lets you search for items you’re interested in buying with a single touch.
Here’s the skinny from Amazon:
Firefly combines Amazon’s deep catalog of physical and digital content with multiple image, text and audio recognition technologies to quickly identify web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products. Simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover helpful information and take action in seconds.
35 million songs: Firefly recognizes music and uses Amazon Music’s rich catalog to show information about the artist—play more songs, add them to your Wish List, or download instantly to your Fire. Developers, such as iHeartRadio and StubHub, used the SDK to build Firefly-enabled apps, so customers can create a new radio station based on the song or find concert tickets for the artist.
70 million products, including household items, books, DVDs, CDs, video games, and more: Access product details, add items to your Wish List, or order on Amazon.com.
But Amazon wants you to know that Firefly isn’t just a magical shopping button (or a cult favorite Joss Whedon series), it has other uses, too.
Printed phone numbers, email, web addresses, QR, and bar codes: Firefly identifies printed text on signs, posters, magazines and business cards—make a call, send an email, save as a contact, or go to the website without typing out long URLs or email addresses.
This is a great tool for marketers. With Firefly, a customer can see your web address on a flyer, scan it and be there without having to type it in. That’s huge and much more intuitive than a QR code.
Here’s the reason I need a new Amazon Fire Phone:
245,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels: Firefly recognizes movies and TV episodes, and uses IMDb for X-Ray to show actors, plot synopses, and related content—add titles to Watch List or download and start watching immediately.
If you’re a retailer who doesn’t sell on Amazon, this new phone could be a problem if it catches on. A woman scans her friend’s cute purse and instantly gets hooked up with your competitor who sells the purse on Amazon. You might also sell the purse at a store in the neighborhood but that’s not going to matter. Click. Click. She’ll have the purse before she goes clubbing on Saturday night.
To sweeten the deal, Amazon is throwing in a full-year of Prime for free when you buy a phone. That’s a $99 value which includes free 2-day priority mail shipping and access to Amazon’s enormous catalog of streaming video and music.
And all I have to do is give up some of the apps on my iPhone. . . . And did I mention the 3-D interface? The Mayday button? The fact that you can make it do things by just swiveling your hand? (Take that Siri!)
Oh, and there’s the $199 on contract, $650 off contract price. . . Yikes. This from a company that was all about making tablets affordable? Seems like Amazon should have come in on the low side, knowing they’ll make up the price in additional customers and product sales on the other end.
Bottom line: if you’re an Amazon retailer and this thing catches “fire” it could mean a boost in your business. If you’re not and / or it doesn’t, then we won’t even be discussing this phone a year from now.