Amazon’s New Fire Phone: A Tester and Developer Playground?

To the average user, the Amazon Fire phone unveiled yesterday may be nothing more than a shopping and content-driven machine (see Kindle, Fireamazon-fire-phone-announced TV, etc.), but under the hood, there’s a lot of exciting possibilities that just opened up for developers and testers alike. Let’s take a look at two of these major possibilities.

‘Firefly”s audio and video recognition capabilities open the possibility for apps

And not only just apps, but an entire new app ecosystem. Firefly, according to TechCrunch, allows users to identify anything they hear or see in the real world using the phone’s camera and sensors, including text, movies, barcodes and music.

So not only could there could be a whole new class of brand-new apps doing brand-new things competing with Apple and Google’s app ecosystem, but existing apps could be radically different on the iOS app ecosystem versus that of Amazon’s.

A hypothetical example, if you will. I’m a movie guy, so Fandango is a popular app on my iPhone to look up movie times and information on these films. If I pointed my Fire phone at a trailer that I thought was interesting to get more information on its cast or when it was coming out, it could essentially eliminate the search engines as we know them and make Siri look like a kid’s toy.

Amazon’s announcement touts the fact that “the Firefly SDK is available [now] so developers can invent new ways to use this advanced technology. Later this year, Firefly will include artwork recognition, foreign language translation, and wine label recognition powered by Vivino.”

I’ll drink to that.

Dynamic Perspective puts you in the action

Remember Virtual Boy? We try not to remember it, either, and hopefully this experiment won’t turn out the same way, but the Dynamic Perspective feature of the Fire phone tries to immerse users in the action. TechCrunch cites the fact that the “new technology is about responding to how an end user holds and moves the phone.”

But shaking the phone isn’t the only thing that’s in the cards — to creepy effect, you’d be able to move your head within an app and a corresponding action would occur on screen. While it’s crazy to think about users doing full-out, hand-to-hand combat or aerobics on a tiny phone screen (actually, that’s kind of a funny image), it opens the door for game developers, especially, who may be able to introduce a totally new class of games for generations to come.

The challenge is that developers and testers will only have an opportunity here if there’s enough with the phone itself to entice users. What do you think about Amazon’s first foray into the smartphone space? Will users come in droves to promises of virtual technology never experienced before? Is it a real dream for developers to test the limits of this new technology…and for testers to go to town on the bugs sure to ensue? Let us know in the comments below.

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