Fire phone is the latest consumer funnelling machine

June 19, 2014 // By Julien Happich
As the Fire phone was revealed yesterday by Amazon's CEO and co-founder Jeff Bezos, it failed to impress market analysts on the technical specs alone.

Yes, the smartphone offers a 3D-like viewing experience, with its content’s perspective matching the tilt of the phone respective to the user’s gaze (via four front-facing cameras). But its most distinctive feature is a side-switch that triggers the rear camera with a more specific purpose, finding whatever the smartphone can recognize, and matching it with an item from Amazon’s online catalogue.

During the launch, Mr. Bezos demonstrated how the Firefly feature enables the device's camera and sensors to recognize merchandise, signs, music or even television shows. As discussed in a previous article, the new smartphone was purely designed as a consumer tracking tool, not so much in disguise.

The objectives are plain clear: price matching anywhere at any time while collecting an awful lot of customer data. By triggering the Firefly button, the consumer validates her/his curiosity or interest for real world consumables, in effect “liking” real world items, a step beyond simple web analytics while bringing the cashier closer.

The Fire smartphone is a clear attempt to capture more consumer data without relying so much on other big players such as Google or Apple, but the Firefly product finding App could certainly be implemented on other phones, following a non-exclusive price-matching scenario (for example pulling up a list of other shops and nearest locations).

The phone itself could be considered bulky by today’s standards (heavier and thicker than competing smartphones in the same category), and given that you could surf your way around on any smartphone, why would you choose to bypass all other shops and offers to exclusively tie yourself to Amazon?

What sort of blind loyalty scheme could justify a phone and contract change? After all, most loyalty cards come free.

Without contract, the Fire phone costs more or nearly as much as competing smartphones in the same category. You could always argue that all the big players are in for the data and your dollars (Apple