Amazon's Fire Phone could have been a potent mid-range challenger had the retailer opted to leave out the 3D interface gimmicks, teardown analysis suggests, with the polarizing quad-camera system an outlier in what's otherwise an exercise in cost-cutting. The final bill of materials for the Fire Phone, released last week, comes to around $205 in components according to IHS iSuppli's calculations, undercutting what Samsung is believed to spend on each Galaxy S5, but more expensive than an iPhone 5s.
Amazon may have just launched its first smartphone ever, but it might already be busy with a refresh to its existing tablet line. Coming by way of benchmark site AnTuTu is a reference to a certain Kindle Fire HDX, with an 8.9-inch screen and bearing, quite surprisingly, a fast and new Qualcomm Snapdragon 805.
Amazon has already turned the retail world on its head, showing just how much scope there is when you stock vast quantities of products in equally vast warehouses, and now it's dipping its toe into on-demand 3D printing. The new 3D Printing Store offers a range of jewelry, tech accessories, and home decor, which shoppers can customize before they have them delivered.
Though it is clear in some cases where you can't fly drones (avoid those military bases, folks), it isn't quite as obvious in other places, particularly if you're doing so as a hobbyist. This issue was demonstrated yet again when one Amazon worker flew his drone near the Space Needle in Seattle, and was later visited by the police as a result.
Amazon's Fire Phone is a lot of things, but easy to repair isn't one of them. So say the folks at iFixit, who have completed their teardown of the handset, which took place live today. Though not everything about the smartphone was a hassle, there were enough issues to give it a low score: 3 out of 10.
Amazon can't be too pleased with the first batch of Fire Phone reviews. The smartphone's more outlandish technology works, certainly - Dynamic Perspective tracks your face; Firefly snaps and searches for your products - but the takeaway nonetheless has been "so what?" Amazon can't complain too loudly, however: it only has itself to blame.
Microsoft isn't letting any grass grow under Amazon's Fire Phone, pushing out a version of Skype for the face-tracking smartphone in time for its public release. The new app, already available in Amazon's Appstore, has been tweaked to take advantage of the Fire Phone's enhanced carousel as well as its quad-camera Dynamic Perspective system.