Rumors have become fact, Amazon announces its first smartphone, the truly unique Fire. It’s in no way surprising that Amazon wants to sell stuff, therefore much of the phone’s technology is developed for this very purpose with quick identification of and access to products, music, movies, etc. Quite interesting is the phone’s advanced camera system with some solid innovations:
It’s no coincidence that Amazon announces the Fire with own Android OS right when Apple starts production of the iPhone 6, to be announced sometime this autumn. Because, honestly, this Fire packs some truly ingenious technology into the phone.
Active widgets, such as for email, let you look at last couple messages and take action without opening apps. Similar with camera, which includes recent photos. Spectacular is the 3D “Dynamic Perspective” — see for yourself on the Fire microsite. Apple must be green with envy, but too late to adjust iPhone 6 production.
What the Fire means for photographers? You get optical image stabilization, 1080p video and free unlimited photo storage in the cloud — quoting Amazon:
- 13MP camera with optical image stabilization: Fire phone features a custom-tuned 13 megapixel camera system, with a fast five element wide aperture F2.0 lens for crisp, beautiful images. With optical image stabilization, Fire phone keeps the shutter open up to four times longer for stunning shots, even in low light conditions.
- Stunning 1080p video: Capture all the action in stunning HD. Fire phone records in 1080p at 30 fps from both front and rear-facing cameras, for great-looking video whatever you want to shoot.
- Never miss a moment: No more fumbling to take a photo. With Fire phone’s dedicated camera button, you can launch the camera in just about a second — even when the screen is off.
- Free unlimited cloud storage: Get free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken with Fire phone (in full resolution). No more worrying about what to delete.
- Automatic backup to Cloud Drive: Fire phone can automatically back up your photos and videos to Amazon Cloud Drive. Access anytime on Fire phone, other Amazon devices or Cloud Drive apps.
- Panorama, lenticular and burst capture: Capture even the widest scene with the panorama setting, hold down the shutter button to capture a burst of shots in a fast-moving scene, or combine multiple images in lenticular mode.
- Intelligent HDR: Fire phone automatically suggests when to turn on High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR merges multiple exposures into a more detailed, vibrant image — even in back-lit conditions.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos promises an “incredibly natural” experience using the phone — part of this is the camera and related functions. For instance:
You get the 13MP rear camera — and four front cameras allowing to change perspective. Doesn’t work if you tilt a 2D drawing. With parallax, however, you can, by knowing where the viewer is in relation to the image. Hence the front facing cameras.
Makes for some cool visual effects. All of these front cameras are needed to create depth information. With four corner cameras, no matter how the phone is being held, there are at least two cameras needed for stereo vision. An infrared light sensor on each front camera lets them see in the dark. They are turned on only as needed to save battery. Makes great stereo images in any light possible.
Trained algorithms recognize and track products, heads and faces — even phone numbers! — no matter how complex the backbround is. A face on a mug or T-shirt? No problem for the Fire, using depth cameras to reject heads that are too small or large to be human heads…
Or in messaging, a flick to the right brings up most recent camera photos. Try the same thing in your current smartphone and see how many taps it takes… Oh yes, tilting can also be used to control browsing, pull up menus and perform other navigations. It’s a way to click and scroll without touching the phone. Add the gorilla glass on the front and back — and you get free access to Prime for one year.
But remember, every image is just one click away from a order with free 2-day shipping.
+++ You can order the Fire directly from Amazon. The phone will be released on July 25, 2014. No word yet about availability outside the U.S.