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Amazon Releases Fire Smartphone With New Features

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(Photo Credit: David Ryder/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: David Ryder/Getty Images)

Jon Delano Jon Delano
Jon Delano is a familiar face on KDKA-TV, having been the station's...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Move over iPhone and Android.

There’s a new smartphone out there.

On Friday, Amazon released its new smartphone.

It’s hard to miss all the advertisements for the new Amazon Fire phone.

TV Ad: “I’ve been on this earth for nine years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

But is it really as good as claimed?

Consumer Reports says its tech geeks are excited about some of the phone’s features.

“Overall, this is really a cool phone beginning with dynamic perspective which gives the phone a 3-D look,” says Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports. “And Firefly, which helps you identify objects in front of you by scanning them, it can even identify music and movies by listening to them.”

Lauren Martsolf sells the Fire phones for AT&T, the exclusive provider with Amazon.

She says customers are intrigued.

“They are really excited about the differentiators from the other cell phones that are out there right now,” Martsolf told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

One neat feature of the new Fire phone is something called Mayday, where you can actually call up a real person on the screen to answer your technology questions for free.

“Thank you for contacting Amazon. My name is Elaine,” the live tech support person says.

They can access your phone and fix problems or change settings while you watch.

And for the first year at least, the Fire phone comes with Amazon Prime for free delivery of purchases

“It also offers Instant Video, which allows you to go on and view movies, shows on HBO, a lot of which are free,” says Martsolf, the assistant manager at AT&T’s store on McKnight Road in Ross Township.

But is all this technology worth switching over?

“I found the hands-free gesture feature a bit clunky,” says Consumer Reports’ Gikas. “It didn’t always work. And Firefly sometimes had trouble identifying movies, songs and objects in front of it.”

And it can’t run popular Google apps like YouTube or Gmail.

David Greer, who repairs smartphones at Digital Doc in the North Hills, has a mixed view.

“Does seem to be a nice phone, not a really great phone, but it’s not a bad phone,” notes Greer.

If you’re interested in exploring the new Fire phone, just go to your neighborhood AT&T store where you can check it out in person.

The basic price is $199 for the two-year plan, but there are all kinds of other pricing arrangements.

Click here for Consumer Reports full review of the Fire Phone!

RELATED LINKS:
More Consumer Reports
More Consumer News
More Reports by Jon Delano

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