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Amazon launches first ever smartphone – the Fire

After cracking the tablet market with the Kindle, online retail giant Amazon has announced the launch of the Fire – its first attempt to grab a slice of the increasingly lucrative smartphone market.

Amazon will no doubt face stiff competition from established handset manufacturers, but it's hoping "two new breakthrough technologies" will win people over.

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One of the Fire's two innovations is Dynamic Perspective, which uses four ultra-low power specialised cameras and four infrared LEDs built-into its front face, plus a dedicated custom processor.

Its features include 3D visuals that changes the perspective of an image when you move your head; a part of the one-handed gestures feature that reacts to actions such as tilting and swivelling.

Dynamic Perspective also promises immersive apps, games and an enhanced carousel that will provide real-time updates from the home screen and allows apps to respond to the actions you make.

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Meanwhile, Firefly combines Amazon's extensive catalogue of analogue and digital content with audio, text and image recognition to identify addresses, phone numbers and 100 million+ products.

Amazon says that means you can make a call using a number printed on a physical poster, or draw up information about an artist based on what track you're listening to and much more.

In terms of its specifications, the Fire houses a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2GHz processor; a 4.7in HD display; 4G connectivity; and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus.

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Fire will be available from July 25th exclusively on AT&T in the US, with the 32GB handset coming with a $199 (£117) price tag on a two-year contract. The 64GB model will cost $299 (£176).

A quick look at what AT&T has to offer reveals that, at $199, the 32GB model will be the same price as a 16GB Samsung Galaxy S5, 16GB Apple iPhone 5S and 32GB HTC One M8.

And if you pre-order now, you will get a 12-month subscription to Amazon Prime as part of a limited time offer – meaning unlimited streaming from the Prime Instant Video and Music services.

We're still waiting to hear when the Fire is coming to the UK – and if it will be priced just as competitively here, as it appears to be in the US.

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by Pete Hayman

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