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Amazon Fire Smartphone Opens New Possibilities for Shopping Apps

Amazon launched a new smartphone on Wednesday called Fire that offers an immersive experience to users. The Fire’s Dynamic Perspective technology enables shoppers to “peek to instantly see close-up front and back views of a dress in the new Amazon Shopping app for Fire,” Amazon explained in a press release.

The technology uses an entirely new sensor system that responds to the way a customer holds, views and moves the phone. That, along with a new Firefly feature, means mobile apps can provide new types of shopping experiences to users.

Third-party developers who create mobile apps for Apple iPhones, iPads and Android devices now have another platform for which to adapt their apps. However, Fire is based on Android, so if an app runs on Android it can run on Fire with little to no work, Amazon said.

“For a developer who just wants to get started with Fire they can submit their existing apps to the Amazon Appstore,” Amazon explained.

Developers can then use SDKs for the Fire’s new technologies to optimize their apps. And Amazon is giving them a reason to do so: developers who enhance their existing Kindle Fire app to include the immersive new features in Fire phone can qualify for a special 500,000 Amazon Coins offer through the Appstore Developer Select Program and create campaigns where customers earn those Coins when they purchase apps and games.

The Dynamic Perspective SDK gives developers access to algorithms that identify the X, Y and Z coordinates of the head, “enabling a whole new class of apps and games.” For example, real estate site Zillow used it to bring a new photo experience to the device “so users can use their head to zoom in on a bedroom or peek to see what’s around the kitchen corner.”

The Fire’s Firefly feature quickly recognizes things in the real world including web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, movies, music, and millions of products, and lets the user take action in seconds with the press of a button. For example, Amazon said the Vivino mobile app will be using the Firefly SDK to add a new recognizer, database and actions to let customers learn about wine from wine labels. Customers will be able to just point Firefly at a wine label and find out the wine’s origins, its rating and food pairing suggestions.

Amazon has not responded to our request for more information and screenshots of its Shopping App for Fire.

The phone ships on July 25 and is available exclusively on AT&T. Customers can pre-order Fire at Amazon.com/Fire-Phone, att.com and in AT&T retail locations. Fire with 32GB is available for $199 with a two-year contract or with 64GB for $299 with a two-year contract or starting at $31.25/month from AT&T on Next 18.

Apps and games submitted and approved by July 18 will be in the Amazon Appstore when Fire ships on July 25. More information about the phone is available on the Amazon website. More information for developers is available at Developer.amazon.com/firephone.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.