Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Firefly it

And finally (it has been under development since 2011) Amazon released the Fire smartphone, which is the company's first foray into the highly competitive smartphone space. It complements the company's tablet (Kindle) products and represents the latest in the shift of Internet companies to compete in smart hardware.

The new phone is equipped with:

1) a 4.7-inch display,
2) Qualcomm 4-core CPU and
3) 3D camera modules that carry sets of four sensor cams plus 13MP/f2.0 normal cameras

Except from the 3D motion sensor cameras in the phone that could be the industry’s next technology focus, the Fire is not really a differentiator. However, being a company that has a strong knowledge of the content (Kindle, Prime digital services) and cloud / content delivery markets (AWS), we could expect the differentiation coming from the service. In fact, Amazon has done a good job integrating the hardware with its key services and software (Mayday, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen and free unlimited cloud storage of photos taken with Fire) and with its vast digital ecosystem (access to over 33 million songs, apps, games, movies, TV shows, books, audiobooks, and magazines).

Nothing very worrying for Apple, Samsung and the Android ecosystem, at least in the short term. But what about Firefly in the long term?

Firefly is a key feature of the Fire phone (so key that has a dedicated Firefly button in the lefthand side of the device). According to Amazon, Firefly can identify almost anything it sees or hears using the smartphone’s camera and other sensors, including text, products, movies, TV shows, books, games, CDs, business cards, web addresses, barcodes, QR codes and more. Firefly is capable of recognizing over 100 million items, according to Amazon. That includes 245,000 movies and TV episodes, 160 live TV channels, 35 million songs and 70 million products. This is instant gratification, showrooming on steroids and impulsive purchases…in Amazon. And this is pure m-commerce in action, and a potential disruption for retailers.

But you might have also noticed that Amazon released the Firefly SDK too, so developers can create new apps like MyFitnessPal (that determine the nutritional information from the food your camera sees) and Vivino (that gives you information about the bottles of wine you scan). We may soon start using the verb firefly; firefly it. Remember another company creating a new verb? Google it. Yes, here is where I find that Amazon can really hit Google, in its Google Search feature. If Amazon does a good job searching among physical things, isn´t it taking searches from Google Search and Google Shopping? If I no longer search information about this bottle of wine anymore because it is easier using Firefly, is not Firefly taking revenue from Google mobile search? Now, apply this use case for any other product and you will realize that Firefly can potentially dent the Google lucrative mobile search business.

Will we see Google reaction soon? Will Google re-launch Google Goggles? What do you think?

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