Amazon revealed yesterday during earnings that while revenues are growing, so are losses. That’s thanks at least in part to the development and production of the Amazon Fire Phone, which goes on sale exclusively at AT&T starting today.
The phone has been up for pre-order for a while, but today is the first time general consumers will get hands-on with the device.
In terms of specs, we’re looking at a 4.7-inch IPS screen, a 13MP rear-facing camera (complete with image stabilization and a f2.0 lens), a quad-core 2.2GHz chip, and 2GB of RAM. But beyond sheer horsepower, the Fire phone has a gimmicky feature called Dynamic Perspective, meant to let users employ gesture-based commands that yield 3D effects within various apps and services.
Early reviews call the interface confusing, and call out Amazon for so blatantly treating a smartphone like a storefront. However, that is Amazon’s strategy in the hardware world, though the Fire Phone differentiates slightly from other Amazon gadget predecessors.
For one, this smartphone is being sold for $199 on-contract, which isn’t outrageously expensive for a smartphone of this caliber, but is a higher price point than you’d expect from the makers of the Fire tablets, which sell at undercutting price points with low margins.
The Fire Phone comes at a time when Amazon is experiencing pressure from investors after continuing to show revenue growth without profits. Specifically, the ecommerce giant is posting higher-than-expected losses this quarter, and forecasted into next quarter as well, based on investments in new hardware, as well as AWS and original media content.
That said, the WSJ reminds us that the Fire Phone doesn’t necessarily have to be a home run to be a winner. Customers of Amazon hardware are reportedly better customers, spending 50 percent more on Amazon content, services, and products.
In any case, you can check out Amazon’s foray into the smartphone world today at your local AT&T.