Today Amazon announced its first ever mobile phone, called the “Fire Phone” (Amazon’s line of tablet’s is simply called the Fire as well). Although the Amazon phone is a standard Android phone with some nice specs; the most interesting part of the phone is what makes it special. Besides a new feature called “Firefly” which allows users to instantly search for almost anything and everything from a product they need at home, to a specific episode in a series, Firefly will of course give you a link to purchase it from Amazon’s multiple stores.
However the really interesting fact is on the front of the phone, notice the four cameras in each corner of the phone; which are essential to what Amazon are calling Dynamic Prespective. Which allows the user to communicate with the phone without actually touching the screen, instead it relies on the physical position and angulation of the phone.
Amazon calls the feature “Dynamic Perspective,” which basically means that some apps on the phone will have a three-dimensional depth to them, and tilting the phone will let you peer around edges, just as you can with real objects. It’s miles away from the accelerometer-based gimmicks we’ve seen on older 3D phones. In fact, it’s not really even fair to call it 3D in the traditional sense. You’re looking around objects, but there’s no attempt to make stuff pop off the screen. It’s refined, but we’ll have to really use the phone for a long time to know if it’s something we’d actually want to use.
The phone also uses tilting to do a whole lot more. Just by moving the phone, you can pull up menus in Fire OS or scroll through text in an app.
Using these multiple sensors users can navigate the phone’s menus and apps without touching the screen, instead they can simply tilt the phone up or down to scroll and pan right and left.
It’s interesting to see Amazon’s take on interactions with the phone that don’t involve direct contact with the screen, especially since Nokia’s rumored upcoming flagship codenamed Mclaren, which is said to also include Kinect like and 3D features, such as interacting with the phone by sliding your finger across the side of the phone, or simply putting the phone down on the table. It seems that interacting with your phone beyond the constrains of a touch screen is the new “thing” that companies will work on till someone gets it right (or it goes away, like 3D screens on a phone).
All in all I’m very excited to see what Microsoft and Nokia are bringing to the table with the McLaren phone. Good times are coming.