Amazon has announced its first smartphone, and it's called the Fire Phone. Jeff Bezos is still on stage giving us a rundown of the long-awaited device, but here's what we know about it so far:
- The Fire Phone sports a 4.7-inch display
- It's powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, 2GB RAM, and an Adreno 330 graphics chip
- It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization and an f/2.0 five element lens
- The Fire Phone uses a multi-camera array that powers its 3D user interface
- Dual stereo speakers which are aligned for landscape mode for watching media
- It ships with flat-cabled, tangle-free magnetic earbuds
- Owners of the Fire Phone get unlimited cloud storage of all the photos they take with the device in Amazon Cloud Drive (huge!)
- The Amazon Firefly feature allows you to use the phone to recognize over 100 million items, plus any text around you. You can then interact with it immediately, in a matter of seconds.
- Obviously, all Amazon services will be built in--Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle, WhisperSync, and even the MayDay button for customer service
- The 32GB Fire Phone will cost $199 with two-year contract, and is exclusive to AT&T. You can get the 64GB version for $299.
- You can pre-order the Fire Phone now--it ships on July 25th and includes one-year of Amazon Prime
Chris Weber is the CVP of Mobile Devices Sales at Microsoft, re-joining the company through it's purchase of Nokia, where he was in charge of global sales. He knows his way around every Lumia device, and is now aiming to make sure that Windows Phone first-party hardware is an even player at the devices table. We were able to sit down with Chris to talk about Nokia, Lumia, Windows Phone, and what changes need to be made in order to realize the success he is seeking. Check out the full interview below:
When is Windows Phone 8.1 coming out?
The answer varies by device and operator. The Lumia 630 and 635 are the first 8.1 products, launched internationally. We’re also working with our current products, and any Windows 8 phone is upgradeable to 8.1. There is currently a developer preview, but the operator version requires further testing. 8.1 is a completely different experience. Things like the background wallpaper, increased customization, and especially Cortana, which is one of the best features.
There are key differences between Cortana and similar services on other devices. It proactively learns. The other day I was flying to Moscow. The week before, it asked if it wanted me to track my flight to Moscow. There is a link that says "Do you want to know how I knew that?" Cortana looked at my calendar and started looking up flight numbers. It also has geo-fencing. You can say "Remind me that Ignacio owes me $100." I can say remind me when I send an email, when I arrive home, etc. Or "Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning" and when you get in the area, the message pops up. "Remind me to pick up milk at the grocery store” and you get the choice of having it remind you when you are near any grocery store, not just one specific one.
Back to being on the plane, I said "Remind me to download the music for guitar when I get home." It's really, really good. Flow writing, which is similar to Swype, means I can do emails faster on my phone than on the keyboard now. I got a new phone and it wasn't running 8.1 and the hunt and peck was tough!
Last week on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver did a fantastic segment that lasted over 13 minutes talking about the issue of net neutrality and the work (or, lack thereof) that the FCC is going to address it. He broke it down perfectly and in true John Oliver fashion, touching on all the important points while keeping it light and funny. Then, at the end, Oliver called for the Internet commenter trolls to unite and head over to the FCC Web site to make their voices heard on the net neutrality forum. The result? The FCC site collapsed under the pressure. Seriously, I encourage you to watch the segment, which we've embedded here in this post. After you do, head on over to the FCC Web site and let them know to put a stop to this ridiculousness.
If you missed the WWDC 2014 keynote, we've pretty much had you covered here at Gear Live as far as the news coming out of the event. However, sometimes, seeing is believing, and many would rather watch the historic event for themselves. Now you can. Apple has made the video available to view on demand on YouTube and on the Apple Web site. If you'd prefer to download it, you can grab it in iTunes using your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. We've embedded the YouTube version right here for you!
Yesterday was another big Apple event, and there was a lot of news coming out of the WWDC 2014 keynote--we got a look at OS X Yosemite, iOS 8, and much more. Here's a look at everything we covered in one easy place:
- First official look at OS X Yosemite at WWDC
- Purported leaked images of OS X 10.10 leak new UI and design changes
- OS X Yosemite: Translucent window UI, dark mode, new icons, and more
- iCloud Drive: Apple finally lets you browse and store iCloud documents on Mac, iOS, and Windows
- OS X Yosemite will be released this fall for free, public preview coming this summer
- Apple shows off iOS 8 Health app & HealthKit platform
- iOS 8 to debut third-party keyboards, here comes Swype
- iOS 8 introduces new time-lapse camera mode
- OS X Mavericks was downloaded 40 million times in 8 months
What are you most looking forward to?
As rumored, Apple has announced its iOS 8 health initiative during the WWDC 2014 keynote. The new Health app will work with a developer API bundle called HealthKit. In iOS 8, apps will be able to report your health data to a centralized location, allowing you to see all the information and stats from different apps all in the same area. Further, you'll be able to choose if you'd like to share health data from one app to another.
Apple announced that Nike and the Mayo Clinic are two of the first to be working on HealthKit integration, while also picturing a Withings blood pressure monitor. Not much more has been announced about the new Health app for iOS 8 yet, but we're sure we will hear more about it closer to the release of iOS 8 release.
We've waited a few years to get here, but Apple just announced iCloud Drive during its WWDC 2014 keynote. What is it? Well, iCloud Drive allows you to browse, view, store, and manage your iCloud documents and data in a way that sounds similar to Dropbox. Now, you can see what exactly is using your iCloud data, and you can store anything you'd like within your iCloud account--not just documents and whatever the apps you use want to store there. It's built right into the OS X Yosemite Finder, and is also available on iOS, and even Windows.
Alongside the announcement that Apple would be purchasing Beats Electronics for $3 billion comes a few slight changes to the Beats Music subscription service. First, the price of the annual subscription has dropped down to $99.99. Previously, the cost was $119.88. The other change is that the up-front free trial that was previously 7-days long has now been doubled to a 14-day "no strings attached" trial for all users.
The Beats Music iOS app has been updated to version 2.1 to reflect the changes, and also some bug fixes. You can download Beats Music now.
What do you think? Are you gonna give Beats Music a try now that it's an Apple-owned music subscription service?