Live Blog Recap: Amazon Unveils 'Fire Phone' -2-

By Dow Jones Business News, 

Bezos now demoing the use of dynamic perspective beyond cool lock screens: On maps, nothing is is blocked by a pin or a sign. "You don't have to teach anybody how to do that" Bezos says.

2:24 pm

Looks like Fire phone will be $199.99 with a two-year contract at AT&T

--- Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) June 18, 2014

2:23 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

I really just want to know if we're at "Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" technology yet, or not.

2:22 pm | by Greg Bensinger

The effect is like a hologram. Images appear to float in front of, and behind other images on the screen.

2:21 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Now the big reveal: the phone has "dynamic perspective" that makes the lock screen move around when you turn your head.

2:21 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

What if there were a thousand artists standing by to redraw the picture every time you moved your head, asks Bezos?

2:20 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Amazon is now showing a video about how complicated it is for a picture to represent 3-D.

2:20 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Now we're getting to the big reveal: Bezos is giving a short history of how art moved from flat to 3-D.

2:19 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

The idea of "showrooming" -- when you go to a brick-and-mortar store to check out a product, and then go home to buy it online -- really gets amped up with Firefly.

2:18 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Firefly is open to third-party apps, Bezos says, which allow others to automatically recognize bottles of wine, and more.

2:15 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

There's also a dedicated Firefly Button on the phone -- never more than one button away from buying something from Amazon, of course.

2:15 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

No mention yet of what operating system the Fire Phone runs, but the screen looks like it might be a modified version of Android like Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets.

2:14 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Bezos is explaining how technically hard it is to make Firefly work in the real world, where there are wrinkles and bends and other problems. Much of that hard work happens in Amazon's growing cloud service.

2:14 pm

Bezos demos a service called Firefly for Fire Phone that recognizes objects, songs, TV shows & art. Technically hard.

--- Geoffrey Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) June 18, 2014

2:12 pm | by Greg Bensinger

And there's more: Firefly also works for art, identifying pieces and then pulling up Wikipedia info. (Now if only museum guards would let you use your phone camera.)

2:11 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

(Of course, "Game of Thrones.")

2:11 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Firefly also recognizes TV shows, Bezos says, demoing how it identified a scene in "Game of Thrones."

2:10 pm | by Greg Bensinger

Amazon's "Firefly" feature has Shazam-type song identification.

2:09 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Bezos is now demoing a new service called "Firefly" that can recognize products just with the phone's camera, and then add them to your shopping cart. (Amazon added a similar service to its iPhone app earlier this year.)

Firefly can also listen to songs and add them to your shopping cart, or start a playlist on a music app.

2:08 pm

Amazon also including its "Mayday" online help service on the Fire Phone.

--- Geoffrey Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) June 18, 2014

2:07 pm | by Photo: AP

Any announcement should involve holding the product triumphantly in the air.

2:06 pm

The Fire Phone will also have Amazon's "Mayday" support service free.

2:05 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

We're hearing about Amazon's tight integration of its own services in its new Fire Phone. That tends to annoy some in Silicon Valley who prefer open ecosystems. But dedicated Amazon customers will undoubtedly love it.

The idea: Fire Phone is just another reason to be an Amazon Prime faithful.

2:05 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

So far, the unlimited photo storage is the thing I want to know more about. That should send all others on their heels. The idea that we were heading toward free/unlimited has been out there, but this puts it front and center. What are the conditions? Is this just for Prime people ...

2:02 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Now on to services: Bezos says the Fire Phone comes with apps for video and music, both the native Amazon ones and others like Pandora.

2:01 pm

The headphone de-tangling wars are on: Amazon goes for a flat design of the set that comes with its new Fire Phone.

--- Geoffrey Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) June 18, 2014

2:00 pm

The GBP FirePhone has a 4.7 inch screen, 2.2 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 13MP cam. GBP Amazon

GBP LIveblog:

--- WSJD (@WSJD) June 18, 2014

1:59 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Addressing headphone tangles, Bezos says the earbuds come with flat cables and magnetic earbuds that clasp together.

1:58 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

And the first reference we've seen to Amazon's existing capabilities: free unlimited storage for photos on Amazon's cloud service.

1:58 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

There's also a dedicated phone button on the side of the phone.

1:57 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

The Fire Phone's optical image stabilization helps gather more light in dark conditions, Bezos says, zooming in on a sunset picture compared to an iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.

1:56 pm

Say hello to Amazon's 4.7-inch Fire Phone.

--- Geoffrey Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) June 18, 2014

1:56 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Camera: 13 megapixel sensor on the back, and optical image stabilization to counteract natural hand tremor.

1:55 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

The phone is 4.7 inches, a size Amazon settled on after trying many different sizes. (I agree with them on that.)

It has a 2.2 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM.

1:54 pm

It's the Fire Phone.

--- Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) June 18, 2014

1:54 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Now on to the phone: Bezos asks, can we build a better phone? He answers his own question: Yes. It is called Fire Phone.

1:53 pm

Just like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos is talking up his company's strengths. Unlike Jobs, he speaks kind of slowly.

--- Geoffrey Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) June 18, 2014

1:53 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

Makes sense to me that Bezos is building the case for why Amazon should not only be in the hardware business, but why it should keep releasing new products. So many people still think of it as an online e-commerce business. (And it is.)

1:50 pm

I don't need to tell you how excited I would be if the Amazon Kindle phone has this keyboard. i9JWTjpBiJ

--- Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) June 18, 2014

1:50 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Amazon earns trust, he says, by doing hard things well.

This is starting to sound to me like a motivational speech for Amazon employees. Let's get to the new stuff!

1:49 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Bezos asks: "What's the most important thing Amazon has done in the last 20 years?"

His answer: "The most important thing we've done over the last 20 years is earn trust from customers."

1:49 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Also, there are tens of millions of tablet owners today, too, Bezos says. (Amazon has always been tight on real sales numbers.)

1:48 pm

Amazon now has tens of millions of Prime members, thanks to addon services like video and lending library, says Bezos

--- Geoffrey Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) June 18, 2014

1:48 pm | by Greg Bensinger

Bezos is building a case for Amazon's hardware prowess, noting the Kindle e-reader has overcome skepticism.

1:47 pm | by Geoffrey Fowkler

Bezos says today there are "tens of millions" of Kindle owners.

1:46 pm | by Geoffrey Fowkler

What about hardware?

Bezos says Amazon has been in the device business for 10 years -- launched the first Kindle seven years ago, and worked on it for three years before that.

1:46 pm | by Geoffrey Fowkler

"The consequence of building a great service for one customer is that you can get millions," Bezos says.

1:44 pm | by Photo: Bloomberg

Attendees waiting in line to enter the event.

1:42 pm | by Greg Bensinger

60,000 applied to go to Amazon event, Bezos said.

1:42 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is on stage touting the growth of Amazon Prime.

1:40 pm

The Amazon smartphone event scheduled for 10:30 PT seems to be running a little bit late

--- Geoffrey Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) June 18, 2014

1:39 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

The video features Amazon customers pleading for invites to today's event.

1:39 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

So, it looks like Amazon is better with on-time package delivery than on-time event beginnings. The lights are down and we're starting with a video.

1:38 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

While we are waiting, allow me to belatedly introduce our live bloggers. We have Geoffrey Fowler, one of our Personal Technology columnists. Greg Bensinger covers Amazon for the WSJ.Wilson Rothman is our editor for Personal Technology news and reviews. Joanna Stern, another Personal Technology columnist, is firing away on Twitter and we're embedding some of her tweets here.Brian Fitzgerald (that's me) is a deputy editor in the Journal's global tech bureau.

1:34 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

Why didn't Amazon do a live stream of the event exclusively for people who have Prime Video?

1:31 pm | by Geoffrey Fowler

The event should begin any moment now.

1:30 pm | by Brian Fitzgerald

A few readers weighed in on the comments tab. Here is a piece of one response to Geoff's question about needing to hold the device:

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This article appears in: Technology

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