Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) became the latest tech company to throw its hat into the crowded smartphone market ring when CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the Fire Phone at a media event on Wednesday. The device features a 4.7-inch high-definition display, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, along with 2GB of RAM. Some of the unique hardware features of the Fire Phone are the front-facing cameras and infrared LEDs that enable the device’s “Dynamic Perspective” functions. This allows users to interact with displayed content by using just one hand to tilt or otherwise change the orientation of the phone.
Not surprisingly, the Fire Phone emphasizes Amazon’s content and services. A full year of Prime membership is included with the purchase of a Fire Phone. The Fire Phone also features Firefly, a tool that can instantly identify any images or music that the device sees or hears. Another feature called X-Ray lets users access extra information about content they are watching. In many ways, Amazon appears to be taking an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)-like approach to the smartphone business by emphasizing the Fire Phone’s ease of use and its close integration with the e-commerce giant’s services. While it remains to be seen if the Fire Phone will ignite consumers’ interest, the device appeared to impress Amazon investors. The company’s stock closed up 2.69 percent at $334.38 on Wednesday.
Despite the market’s positive reaction to Amazon’s entry into the smartphone business, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White doesn’t see any reason for Apple to worry. “Although we expect the Fire Phone to receive plenty of media coverage, we do not anticipate any impact to Apple’s iPhone franchise,” wrote White in a research note issued Wednesday. “With a long history in computing, we believe Apple is unique in its ability to develop hardware, software and services that work together seamlessly.”