UK & World News

  • 19 June 2014, 8:05

Amazon Takes On Apple With 'Fire' Smartphone

Amazon has unveiled its first smartphone, with the online retailer's eye fixed on tapping into a market already dominated by Apple and Samsung.

The company's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, demonstrated the new Fire Phone device at an event in Seattle.

Taking the stage on Wednesday, Mr Bezos said: "It's time to whip the crown from Apple."

The Fire comes equipped with "Dynamic Perspective" - a feature that uses four cameras to create depth in the screen and create the perception of 3D, following head and hand movements.

The much anticipated device measures nearly 12cm diagonally and includes a 13 mega pixel camera - a higher specification than on the latest iPhone.

It also comes with a new application called Firefly, which uses the camera and visual recognition to identify objects ranging from books to CDs as well as listen to music before looking for it on Amazon.

Mr Bezos said the Fire provides unlimited photo storage via the Amazon Cloud, and permits users to sync with Amazon's nascent Fire TV set-top box.

The release of the Fire Phone follows on from Amazon's success with the Kindle eReader and Kindle Fire tablet.

Stuart Miles, the chief executive and founder of technology website Pocket Lint, said: "Amazon's move into the smartphone arena is a logical one, but one that will be challenging as it tries to compete with established bigger brands like Apple and Samsung.

"If Amazon can capitalise on its huge user base it should have a chance at success, but it will be a tough road to travel."

The Fire will be available in the US on July 25, where the base model with 32 gigabytes is priced at $200 (118), while the 64 gigabytes version runs to $300 (176)

The company did not confirm a release date for the UK.

The launch will be closely watched by investors who have grown increasingly hostile to Amazon's strategy of spending big at the expense of banking profits.

Its share price has fallen 18% during 2014 to date - largely explained by frustration among shareholders.

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