Look out, iPhone: Amazon Fire Phone could be a market game changer.

Apple's iPhone and the Android have been competitors in the smartphone market. But the Amazon Fire Phone could be a game changer for smartphones, writes Louis Ramirez.

Ted S. Warren/AP
The new Amazon Fire Phone, displaying a dynamic perspective effect lock screen image, is posed for cameras after the official launch event, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Seattle. The Amazon Fire Phone could potentially be a game changer in the smartphone market, writes Louis Ramirez.

Amazon has joined the ranks of Google and Apple with its just-announced, AT&T-exclusive Fire smartphone. But before you dismiss this handheld as just another smartphone competitor in an already-crowded market, you may want to take a closer look. The Fire phone packs features that could put some of today's best handhelds to shame.

1. It comes with a free year of prime

Freebies can make any deal seem sweeter. For a limited time, anyone who purchases the Fire phone will get a free year of Amazon Prime. Even better, current Prime subscribers get a complimentary year when their membership expires. Considering how essential a Prime account is to the overall enjoyment of this phone, we think this is a freebie that's actually useful and — because it now offers both movie and premium TV and music access — it's similar to receiving a free year of service from your favorite music and movie-streaming service.

2. It's the first smartphone to offer built-in live help

Amazon launched its Mayday service with the release of the Kindle Fire HDX. With the push of a button, users were instantly connected with a customer support rep who could take remote access of the consumer's tablet to troubleshoot any problems. Now Mayday is making its debut on the small screen, making this smartphone a huge draw for non-techies who need the extra assistance.

3. It features a powerful shopping assistant

One of the Fire phone's most interesting features is a built-in program called Firefly. Scan a book, DVD, or any device with a QR code and Firefly tracks that object for you, pulling up relevant information along with a link to that object in Amazon's storefront. And it doesn't end there. Like Shazam, a popular app that recognizes media playing around you, Firefly can also listen to music and TV shows making it easier than ever to buy songs or shows on Amazon. It's creepy, cool, and futuristic all at once.

4. It has 3D-like capabilities

They may not be holograms, but Amazon's smartphone offers a unique interface among its peers. Thanks to its four front-facing cameras, the Fire phone can conjure up images in 3D, or what Amazon calls, Dynamic Perspective. This gives the phone's screen a 3D-like effect, letting it render 3D images based on how you view or hold the phone. Alternatively, the phone's Web browser can also utilize Dynamic Perspective, letting you scroll through pages with the tilt of the phone. Amazon says this 3D-like feature can also be used for upcoming games.

5. It includes unlimited cloud storage for photos.

Amazon is betting users will snap plenty of pics with their Fire phone, which features a 13-megapixel lens. To keep the phone's storage in the green, Amazon is offering its phone users unlimited photo storage via the company's Cloud Drive. It's a small gesture, but it sets them apart from the likes ofApple's iCloud and Microsoft's OneDrive, which have a 5GB and 7GB cap, respectively.

6. They're giving you double the storage capacity for $199

While the Amazon phone didn't come with the sponsored data plan the Internet buzzed about, itdoes offer something most smartphones don't — a better starting price. The $199 price tag buys you a 32GB handset, whereas typically $199 buys you just 16GB.

Despite the crowded market and the AT&T exclusivity, Amazon's debut phone still manages to impress. Unique features, useful freebies, and an intriguing app that showcases the Amazon ecosystem all combine to make this a sure-hit phone for the Seattle giant. Now all we need to see is if consumers are willing to buy.

 Louis Ramirez is a senior features writer for DealNews.com, where this article first appeared: http://dealnews.com/features/6-Reasons-Why-the-Amazon-Fire-Phone-is-Different/1080306.html

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.