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Is Amazon's first smartphone going to blow away the competition?

Is Amazon's first smartphone going to blow away the competition?

Amazon's much-anticipated reveal of its first-ever smartphone just wrapped up. In keeping with Amazon's trend of incendiary gadget names, it's called the Fire Phone.

On the outside, it looks a lot like an iPhone 5, but underneath the hood, it's all Amazon. The Fire Phone includes some hardware and software features never before seen in commercial phones.

Software features

The first things you'll notice are the four front-facing cameras at the corners of the screen. You're going to need them for the marquee feature of the phone: Dynamic Perspective.

Dynamic Perspective uses the four cameras to identify and track the location of your eyes. It uses this information to give everything on the screen a 3-D perspective much more advanced than the iPhone's Parallax View.

It also makes gesture controls like tilt, swivel and autoscroll possible - just move your phone to move around webpages and more.

We've seen gesture control on other phones such as Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, but it never worked very well. However, the four cameras will allow the Fire Phone to pinpoint your face and the phone's location with regards to it in three dimensions. In theory, this feature will be one of the most amazing and cool tricks in the Fire Phone's arsenal.

Firefly is a software feature that really plays to Amazon's strengths. It's a lot like Google Goggles, which is Google's real-world search engine.

Firefly uses the phone's camera to look at real-life objects and find relevant information about them online. As you can probably guess, that relevant information will almost always include a link to purchase that object on Amazon.

Firefly doesn't just include books, toys, groceries and other physical items. It can listen and identify songs and it can even decode written language.

The third feature Amazon is touting is called MayDay. It's basically a 24/7 panic button. It gives you instant tech support on video chat with just the push of a button. On the Kindle Fire tablet, response time is less than 10 seconds.

Next page: Let's talk about hardware
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