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Kindle Fire Phone - Hands On Review
#11  eschwartz 07-30-2014, 01:54 PM
Quote eschwartz
You're right -- what did they ever do in the olden days without Firefly?

People must've died left right and center.
Or was that something else?
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#12  Barbara1955 08-02-2014, 03:52 AM
Quote sirmaru
Lucky you. I purchased my Samsung Galaxy s5 in April and now must wait two years for the Fire phone due to my ATT contract. However, mine does have a 5.1 inch screen which is about the maximum to carry in my pants pocket. It also has Ultra Power Saving Mode for down time which gets me about 10 days between battery charges.

I'm hoping Amazon will add a Firefly app for android soon.
AT&T is the ONLY cell phone co that works the Fire! Main reason I wont buy it. But you could add it to your contract.
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#13  poohbear_nc 08-10-2014, 08:26 PM
OK - been playing with most of the features for a couple of weeks now. It's a decent smartphone.

Firefly is fun - but only works well recognizing music, films, products with brand names or bar codes, etc. - at present fairly hopeless at recognizing everyday objects without labels. Just for fun I scanned the 'LL Bean' tag on my slippers - not a clue. Lots of room for improvement here. I read that future development will add translation to its functionality - handy for menus, traveling (street signs, phone directories, etc).

Dynamic Perspective 3D effects work fine for the floating menus/labels, etc. I'm not a game player, so I can't really evaluate its importance there. The one handed gestures/flips to bring up/remove menu panels were quite easy to learn & use - not really intrusive at all. They do become irritating when actually using the phone to actually make a call - when you adjust it to your ear, the tilting causes menus to appear/disappear - and you have to re-adjust it to get back to the screen with the information about your call - but no real problem.

Decent camera with nice on-phone editing tools.

Enough apps to keep me organized/informed (To do lists, note pad, etc.) - but I'm not active on social media.

The screen is crisp & bright and very readable - even for someone with old, tired eyes - I've had little trouble using apps, reading emails, reading the map, etc. - it's a very nice screen display.

So - as I said above, no real compelling reason to dump your current phone, esp. if your life is wedded to Google or iPhone apps. Lots of potential areas of development for its flagship Dynamic Perspective & Firefly apps. ATT data plans suck, compared to say, T-Mobile - with unlimited text & talk, if you aren't a data hog, the monthly plans are over kill and over priced. Unlocked pricing highly unrealistic with the current set of features.

Who should consider buying this phone?
1. Lifelong members of the Amazon eco-verse that buy everything possible from Amazon and are Prime members. And who have their stuff in the Amazon cloud.

2. Older (non techy) folk who are daunted by the learning curve for either an iPhone or an Android smartphone, and want a gentle introduction into the world of smartphones - esp. since Mayday is included. You can really start using email, camera, etc. right away with few problems.

3. Folk with disabilities or difficulties with finger movements (arthritis, etc.) - the one handed gestures plus the array of Accessibility features available are impressive.

4. Parents who want to give their kids smartphones - parental controls, etc. loaded.

I'm keeping mine - and awaiting anxiously to see if Amazon/ATT will offer some better data deals either during the 2-year contract (to keep existing customers) or at the end - when you can legally unlock your phone.
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#14  Barbara1955 08-11-2014, 05:30 PM
Hows the Battery Life?
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#15  poohbear_nc 08-11-2014, 07:22 PM
I am a light user - so over an 8 hour work day, I sporadically check emails, texts, voice mail, etc. - and maybe the weather or news, and let it go to sleep otherwise - which drains the battery 20% or more. I do have location based services on - which may increase battery usage if apps are 'phoning home' in the background. I have some doctor appointments coming up, so I'll get a better picture of battery use after being marooned in the waiting room and using the phone continuously for longer time periods.

I routinely charge it & my Fire HDX tablet overnight.
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#16  sirmaru 08-17-2014, 04:35 PM
Quote poohbear_nc
I routinely charge it & my Fire HDX tablet overnight.
I only charge my Samsung Galaxy s5 once every NINE days on average. It has an Ultra Power Savings Mode which allows full telephoning and messaging but disables all other apps when the other apps are not being used.

Does the Amazon Fire Phone have that mode? Tap "Help" and then "Mayday" to see if the Amazon Fire has that feature. It may be buried in one of the menus.

I don't believe any other smart phones or tablets had that feature prior to the s5 in April, 2014. However, its likely that, since then, almost all the new smart phones and tablets will have it.

That feature benefits light users like me. Very active users would probably never notice since their apps are being used most of every day.

Even without that feature I charge my Fire HDX 7 2013 every 9 days as well and my PW 2013 every 15 days.
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#17  poohbear_nc 08-19-2014, 09:36 AM
No Ultra Power Saving Mode - yet .... but the recent updates do address the power hog nature of the FirePhone and offer some first steps at reducing battery drain:

1. The new Quick Switch feature lets you close running apps from the Carousel - you bring up a strip of recently used apps that may still be running in the background and can 'dismiss' (or close) them with a finger swipe.

2. You can now control how often your Fire Phone checks your linked email accounts for new Inbox items - the original setting was automatic (push) - which would wake up your phone and notify you every time a new item arrived in the Inbox - if you have multiple email accounts loaded - this could be quite frequent. Now you can set specific time intervals to check all accounts and then go back to sleep mode.

So evidently I'm not the only light user noticing the significant daily battery drain.
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#18  poohbear_nc 08-19-2014, 09:52 AM
In addition to the above mentioned power saving updates, there are some nifty new features. Amazon is moving more functionality to the Carousel and actually making it useful!

1. You can now 'pin' apps to the front of the Carousel. So now, no matter how many apps you use, or if you buy a bunch of books on one day, you can now pin your most accessed apps to the start of the Carousel. I hope they port this to the Fire Tablet - the Carousel is now functional, rather than an annoyance.
I have pinned the Phone app, Email app, Notes app, Maps app, and my Photo gallery. This is a real help if you're driving and absolutely need to make a call or pull up directions - the apps are now on the first screen at your fingertips. No more searching through a list.

2. On the app grid view you can now make collections by type: you can only have one type of item in a collection - put all your books into a "library" collection, put all your games apps together, etc. This really reduces the number of screens you have to page through on grid view, and cleans up the display. You can't put apps & books into the same collection.

3. You can now delete emails directly from the Carousel - without having to open the email app. So you can quickly clean up your Inbox or browse new emails while on the Carousel without opening an app.

These updates clearly (IMHO) indicate that Amazon will be distinguishing its smartphone from other brands by enhancing/improving the Carousel - part of its emphasis on one-handed or gesture/eye controlled functionality. It's amazing what you able to do holding the phone in one hand and using your thumb and wrist movements to access content/apps from the Carousel. All smartphones have the grid app view (as does Amazon), but only Amazon offers the Carousel - and I'm going to be eagerly watching for how ingenious future updates will be.
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#19  sirmaru 08-19-2014, 11:11 AM
Quote poohbear_nc
In addition to the above mentioned power saving updates, there are some nifty new features. Amazon is moving more functionality to the Carousel and actually making it useful!

1. You can now 'pin' apps to the front of the Carousel. So now, no matter how many apps you use, or if you buy a bunch of books on one day, you can now pin your most accessed apps to the start of the Carousel. I hope they port this to the Fire Tablet - the Carousel is now functional, rather than an annoyance.
I have pinned the Phone app, Email app, Notes app, Maps app, and my Photo gallery. This is a real help if you're driving and absolutely need to make a call or pull up directions - the apps are now on the first screen at your fingertips. No more searching through a list.

2. On the app grid view you can now make collections by type: you can only have one type of item in a collection - put all your books into a "library" collection, put all your games apps together, etc. This really reduces the number of screens you have to page through on grid view, and cleans up the display. You can't put apps & books into the same collection.

3. You can now delete emails directly from the Carousel - without having to open the email app. So you can quickly clean up your Inbox or browse new emails while on the Carousel without opening an app.

These updates clearly (IMHO) indicate that Amazon will be distinguishing its smartphone from other brands by enhancing/improving the Carousel - part of its emphasis on one-handed or gesture/eye controlled functionality. It's amazing what you able to do holding the phone in one hand and using your thumb and wrist movements to access content/apps from the Carousel. All smartphones have the grid app view (as does Amazon), but only Amazon offers the Carousel - and I'm going to be eagerly watching for how ingenious future updates will be.
All those features are part of the Fire HDX 7 2013 firmware except that favorites are saved below the Carousel in the Home Area. Collections can also be saved in that area.

I fully expect that Amazon will have Ultra Power Savings Mode for the 2014 model of the Fire HDX and probably in a firmware upgrade for the Fire Phone. That would probably extend my Fire HDX charge cycle from 9 days to about 30 days.

Amazon uses a subset of Android and the Samsung Galaxy s5 phone uses full Android.

The problem may be that it will not be added to old models until 6 months after the new model sales cycle starts. Thus, I will be buying the Fire HDX 7 2014 and give away my Fire HDX 7 2013. Since the Fire Phone is a 2014 model, I would expect its firmware to add that feature in eary 2015.
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#20  tubemonkey 09-08-2014, 09:05 PM
Amazon Slashes Fire Phone Prices by $200

Quote
On Monday, Amazon took a drastic step to avert disaster, announcing that it would charge 99 cents for the phone, basically giving it away if users signed a two-year contract with AT&T, the exclusive carrier.

Amazon has money to burn, and a relentless determination. But some analysts still wondered if a price drop of almost $200 was enough.
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