Amazon unveils Fire smartphone

Deepa Seetharaman, REUTERS

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

SEATTLE - Amazon.com Inc chief executive officer Jeff Bezos unveiled a $200 smartphone called Fire on Wednesday, equipped with a 3D-capable screen and an ability to recognize music and TV shows, hoping to stand out in a crowded field dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

Bezos, in a rare media appearance, demonstrated three-dimensional display features on the 4.7-inch device, from depth perception in maps and pictures, and the ability to shift perspectives depending on how the user tilts the screen.

"What if there were a thousand artists standing by to redraw the picture every time you moved your head?" Bezos remarked to hundreds of Amazon customers, reporters and industry executives gathered in Seattle for the unveiling.


Amazon event in Seattle

The smartphone joins Amazon's "Fire" lineup of tablets and streaming devices. It represents the retail giant's attempt to extend its dominance of online commerce into mobile phones, which are increasingly being used to buy items and view video.

The phone will start at US$199.99 for a 32-gigabyte storage version with a two-year contract on AT&T Inc.

Shares of Amazon climbed 2.5% to $333.67 in afternoon trade as Bezos expounded on the smartphone's features.


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