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5 Ways Amazon’s Fire Phone Just Got Better

Source: Amazon.

1. Quick switch: Just like the iPhone, the Fire Phone can now switch between apps, or close opened ones, if the user double-presses the home button. It's a simple upgrade, but puts Amazon's device a bit more on par with the competition.

2. App collections: Instead of continually scrolling down to hunt for the phone's apps, users can now batch apps and other content into folders right on the Fire Phone's app grid.

3. Pin to the carousel: Users can now add apps and other shortcuts to Fire Phone's carousel of recently opened content. This might not be the strongest of the updated features, but it makes it easier for users to quickly access their content.

4. Better video sharing: Apparently Amazon didn't think people wanted to share high-resolution videos through email or text messages when it first launched the Fire Phone. Now users can do just that.

5. Better battery life: Amazon said in a press release that "dozens of system updates" in the new software release will increase the phone's battery performance. This is always a welcome feature for any smart device, but particularly so for the subpar battery life in the Fire Phone.

It's not all that surprising Amazon is adding these particular updates. As this Amazon video shows, some of Fire Phone's built-in features can be complex and not all that intuitive. By simplifying some of the functionality through the update, Amazon might reach a few new users who are looking for something truly different than what Apple and Samsung offer.

Foolish thoughts

But even with this latest OS update, I find it hard to believe Amazon can truly compete in the high-end space with this phone.

The device runs its own forked version of Android, so true Android users accustomed to the Google Play Store will be disappointed in the number of available apps. Though Amazon is always adding to the numbers, the vast majority of app developers focus on Android and Apple's iOS first, so there will always be a delay before Fire Phone users have access to the apps everyone else enjoys.

In addition to the software update, I think the Fire Phone would benefit from a significant price reduction. A teardown of Amazon's phone shows it costs about $205 to build. That's $6 more than the iPhone 5s and $51 less than the Galaxy S5. Samsung and Apple have built up loyal smartphone followings over many years, and it's going to take more than the introduction of a similar-priced alternative device to lure consumers away.

While Amazon's latest update is a definite improvement over the current system, the company needs to offer a lot more than incremental software improvements if it wants to truly disrupt the smartphone market.

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The article 5 Ways Amazon's Fire Phone Just Got Better originally appeared on Fool.com.

Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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