Amazon enters smartphone market with Fire phone

The phone has a 4.7-inch screen and 13-megapixel camera

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless, Fire Phone

Amazon Fire Phone

Jeff Bezos with Amazon's Fire phone

Image credit: Amazon

Amazon unveiled its highly anticipated entry into the smartphone market Wednesday, a handset called "Fire."

The phone, announced by CEO Jeff Bezos at an event in Seattle, has a 4.7-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and a quad-core processor.

Amazon's entry into the crowded smartphone space could increase competition if consumers buy into its vision. Unlike other phone makers, Amazon has a compelling service to offer alongside its hardware in the shape of the Amazon Prime music, e-book and video service.

However, success is not certain. Facebook attempted to get in on the market in early 2013 with a customized handset from Taiwan's HTC called the HTC First. The phone was a flop and just a few months later carrier AT&T was offering it at a discount.

Founded 20 years ago, Amazon has grown from an online seller of books into one of the world's largest e-commerce sites. It also sells its own e-book and tablet hardware, has become a publisher of electronic books and is a major supplier of cloud computing capacity. In the last few years, it has been building up its Prime annual subscription service adding video streaming, e-books and, most recently, streaming music.

(More to follow.)

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