Amazon unveils Fire Phone

Online retailer Amazon has unveiled its first smartphone, the Fire Phone.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talks about the new Fire Phone
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talks about the new Fire Phone

The new device was announced by the company's CEO Jeff Bezos at an event in Seattle, where the company is based.

In the build up to the event there had been speculation about a 3D display coming to smartphones for the first time with the Fire Phone.

Mr Bezos showed off the phone's "Dynamic Perspective" feature, which uses four cameras to create depth in the screen and create the perception of 3D, following head and hand movements.

The much anticipated device has been rumoured for some months, and will come with a 13 mega pixel camera - a higher specification than on the current generation iPhone, as well as a brighter screen designed for outdoor use.

Amazon also announced that the Fire Phone will come with a new app called Firefly, which uses the camera and visual recognition to identify objects ranging from books to CDs as well as listen to music before looking for it on Amazon. The feature will also recognise phone numbers and web addresses, as well as TV shows. Amazon claims it can recognise 100 million items in less than one second.

Users will also have unlimited photo storage via the Amazon Cloud, and syncing with the company's recently launched Fire TV set-top box so you can send media to your TV.

The MayDay 24-hour video help feature will also be available on Fire Phone, Amazon confirmed.

The new phone has a 4.7 inch screen, and users can navigate through the interface by tilting the phone in different directions. It is the first time the retailer has created a phone, and follows on from the success of the Kindle eReader and Kindle Fire tablet, with sales of eBooks overtaking those of physical copies in the UK in 2012.

Although Amazon did not confirm a release date for the UK, experts predict it will be on sale this year outside the US.

The Fire Phone will be available exclusively in the US with mobile provider AT&T, and the device has already appeared on the company's website offering a two-year contract for 199 dollars (£117) for a 32GB handset.

Amazon also announced that the Fire will come with flat cord earphones that are designed to not tangle up in your pocket, as well as linking up to the Amazon App Store in order to download apps.

Following the announcement, the company's share price jumped more than 9% as investors reacted to news of the new device, which will go on sale in July in the US, with pre-orders already available.

The Fire Phone will run on a modified version of Google Android mobile operating system similar to set-up on the Kindle Fire HDX tablet.