The Battle of the Tech Ecosystems

Long rumoured and long delayed, Amazon's Jeff Bezos finally announced a smartphone: the Amazon Fire. The Fire phone joins Amazon's growing tech lineup including Fire HD tablets and Fire TV. Amazon? The book store company now sells a full line of tech products? What's next, the Fire PC?

Back in 2007 when Amazon started selling the Kindle book reader we all sort of scratched our heads and wondered, but over time we quit buying paper books and now buy more ebooks than print. The Kindle (meaning to start a fire) not only was a success but was transformational and has completely disrupted the book business.

A fire? More like a conflagration. Bezos is a modern genius - with a goofy laugh - but someone to watch carefully. He has inflicted massive change on us all with his online shopping mall and tech devices hanging off of it. And the phone is his next move.

So take a step back for a moment. We now have Apple, Google, Microsoft and yes, Amazon. Each has a full range of devices to meet every personal tech need. Each has their own operating system, app store, media store (music, videos and books) and each has a legion of faithful customers and developers. These vertically integrated companies each have their own 'ecosystem.' And now there are four. And I won't be betting against Bezos. His track record is just too good. 

You can dig into the details elsewhere, but everything in modern life needs a unique sales proposition. So what are Amazon Fire's USPs? There are three: Mayday, Firefly and Dynamic Perspective.

Mayday: Run into a problem with your Fire and confused what to do? Press the 'Mayday" button and connect in seconds to a Fire tech support person that can help solve the problem. An awesome feature for new smartphone users. 

Firefly: The raison d'etre for Fire. In a store, see something you like but don't like the price? Point your phone at the item, and press the Firefly button (literally a physical button). The phone will identify the item, pop up the Amazon price and ask, "would you like to purchase?" Say yes and two days later the brown UPS truck will be dropping it off at your house. Press to buy – this could destroy what's let of the high street.

Dynamic Perspective: This is kind of odd actually, but "uses a custom-designed sensor system that responds to the way you hold, view, and move your phone. It opens up a new class of immersive apps and games not possible on other smartphones, as well as one-handed navigation and gestures like auto-scroll—read long web pages and books without ever touching the screen." I will withhold judgement until I can demo the phone myself.

Initially available in the US only and ATT only at $199 with a contract, I fully expect the footprint to expand in the coming year. Amazon operates in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France,Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, and Fire will like roll out to all their markets.

Apple, Google and Microsoft... look over your shoulders. The Amazon wildfire is hot on your tail.


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