Amazon Fire smartphone may not be for everyone

Online retailer giant marked its foray into smartphone development when it launched Fire on June 18, but some Gainesville techies say the device isn’t for everyone.

The Fire smartphone boasts six cameras and a sensitive sensor system that can recognize a wide variety of items such as phone numbers, addresses and QR codes – and millions of products.

In fact, according to an Amazon press release, the cameras are linked to Amazon’s website and enable a user to purchase a product recognized by the device with a couple taps.

“Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand—instant access to Amazon’s vast content ecosystem and exclusive features,” said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a press release.

The Wall Street Journal likened the technology to “a mobile cash register.”

Additional features include a 3D-like screen intended to give users the perception of more depth and sensors that enable hands-free scrolling.

The Fire is sold exclusively through Amazon and AT&T. It’s now available for pre-order through both AT&T stores in Gainesville, at 3626 SW Archer Rd and 6110 NW 4th Place, and will roll out in-store July 25. A 32-gigabyte model sells for $650 without a contract, or for $200 under a two-year AT&T contract.

Jim Dufek, the owner of GatorTec at 3600 SW Archer Road, said the phone is most likely to appeal to “someone who’s really big in the tech community,” “someone who’s going to ‘nerd out’ on it,” and “someone looking for the latest and greatest.”

He likened it to a computer that is beautifully crafted and has lots of artistic capabilities but lacks Microsoft Word.

“It may be beautiful but not functional,” he said, noting that the Fire smartphone “may not give an average user the experience they’re looking for.”

He also noted that the Amazon phone lacks app infrastructure.

“Even though the product is great, it’s only as good as the apps that are available for it,” he said.

Van Thai, an associate at Re-Tech Smartphone Centers at 3634 SW Archer Road, said the Fire smartphone has “some great features,” but he expects it to lag at first.

“I think it’s going to still be fourth behind Apple iPhones, Android phones and even Windows phones because it’s so new to the market,” he said.

As far as features such as the phone’s sensor scrolling capabilities and Amazon product integration, Thai said individual preference will drive the phone’s success.

“It really depends on the person,” he said.

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