Amazon Fire Phone gets UK launch despite crashing and burning in US

The world’s biggest retailer of anything and everything will be hoping its first smartphone is better received in the UK than it was in the US, where fewer than 35,000 have been sold in its first two months.

Amazon's long-awaited Fire Phone is getting its UK release this month, despite having flopped somewhat spectacularly on the other side of the Atlantic.

Dubbed the worst-kept secret in the technology world, Amazon's own-brand smartphone had been the subject of industry whispering since the Kindle Fire tablet arrived in 2011, but it was only in June this year that Amazon officially unveiled the Fire Phone.

It has a large 4.7in HD display, 13 megapixel camera and a powerful 2.2GHz quad-core processor, so it's an upper mid-range device in terms of specs, and as such, isn't as cheap and cheerful as you'd probably expect.

Possibly as a result of its high price, so far the Fire Phone hasn't exactly been a hit. In the US, it's sold fewer than 35,000 units since its release in July.

Amazon's top dog, Jeff Bezos, said: "Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand - instant access to Amazon's vast content ecosystem and exclusive features.

"We've also invented a new sensor system called Dynamic Perspective that recognises where a user's head is relative to the device - we use it to offer customers a more immersive experience, one-handed navigation and gestures that actually work."

As well as Dynamic Perspective, which offers a similar 3D tilt effect to Apple's 'Parallax' on iOS devices, the Fire Phone - which, incidentally, looks a lot like Apple's iPhone - also has a feature called the Firefly button.

With a single press, it lets you identify the bar codes and artwork of over 100 million items including books, DVDs and CDs. It's a bit like the song-identifying app Shazam, but for physical items, so you can quickly and easily find them and buy them on Amazon.

If you think it all sounds a bit gimmicky, and more like a tool to generate Amazon sales than a genuinely innovative gadget, then you'd be in agreement with the American critics who've pretty much written it off as a competitor to the likes of the iPhone.

Still, if you're always buying things from Amazon and want a smartphone that makes doing so easier, then the Fire Phone is for you.

From 30 September, it'll be available on O2 Refresh - you won't be able to get it on any other UK network initially - from £33 a month with 2GB of 4G data.

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