June 20, 2014
Earlier this week, Amazon unveiled its new Fire phone. “The hard part starts now,” according to Re/Code, which recently interviewed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the iPhone competitor, which goes on sale July 25 in the United States. Here are some of the highlights from that interview, followed by some perspective.
About the phone’s 3-D effectThe Fire phone arrived after four years of development. From day one, Amazon was committed to creating something different. The result was a technology that enhances depth perception called dynamic perspective. With dynamic perspective, images on the screen appear nearly three-dimensional. For this to work, the Fire phone has four cameras around the edges of the screen, which provide illumination with infrared lights. This was a difficult process, according to Bezos, who notes:
We had prototypes early on using just the front-facing camera. It doesn’t work for so many reasons. It wouldn’t be power-efficient enough. You can’t leave your front-facing camera on all the time. The field of view is too narrow. You can’t do it with just one camera — not robustly.Dynamic perspective isn’t just there to grab headlines. Instead, Amazon hopes that developers “are going to find wonderful things to do with” it. Bezos says:
For the team that built the phone and the [Dynamic Perspective software development kit], this is kind of like a child graduating from college — you can’t wait to see what they go off and do in their life.