Amazon Fire Phone: 'Showrooming On Steroids'

Jul 23, 2014

The Amazon Fire boasts Firefly, a feature that allows you to easily compare box store prices with Amazon.
The Amazon Fire boasts Firefly, a feature that allows you to easily compare box store prices with Amazon.
Credit Courtesy GeekWire

Go to a box store, hold your phone up to an item, and – ding! – your phone tells you how much the same item would cost on Amazon Prime.

It’s a new phone from the online retailer called the Amazon Fire, which GeekWire’s Todd Bishop brought to KUOW on Wednesday. It will be available for purchase on Thursday.

Bishop and his coworker, Taylor Soper, took the phone with its Firefly function to Fred Meyer in Ballard to test out its showrooming function. Among many deals they found was the Black & Decker toaster – $49.99 at Fred Meyer, $39.99 on Amazon.  

“This is showrooming on steroids,” Bishop said. “It makes it extremely simple. If this thing catches on, it’s a potential nightmare for retailers out there.”

The phone has four sensors – one on each corner – which measures in real time the distance of your head to the phone. Tilt the phone, and the interface will change. Tilt the phone while reading an ebook, and the text will scroll down – no need to touch the screen. In tech parlance, that’s dynamic perspective.

Bishop said he has mixed feelings about the device. Although the call quality was sound, he said he found texting clunky. And he said that the phone overall is a little too gimmicky for basic operations. He suggested that people who aren’t hardcore Amazon customers wait for the next model.  

The phone costs $199 with a two-year subscription to AT&T. A phone purchase comes with a one-year Amazon Prime subscription.

GeekWire reviews the new Amazon phone:

Produced for the Web by Isolde Raftery.