Amazon Fire phone released in US

Amazon's long-awaited Fire phone has now been released in the United States. It is the first phone the online retailer has produced, and though the device closely resembles its rivals, initial reviews suggest that it differs from them in a number of ways.

AT&T is the first American mobile phone provider to stock the online retailer's debut smartphone, offering two-year contracts as well as the option to purchase the handset outright for $650 (£383).

The Fire phone offers users a new way to navigate through menus and pages by tilting and swivelling the devices in certain directions.

The Fire phone's 13-megapixel camera is slightly less advanced than the Samsung Galaxy S5's but superior to the iPhone 5S's, while the video camera records in 1080p and captures 30 frames per second (FPS).

Storage-wise the device has no limit when it comes to photos and videos, as they are automatically synced to the Amazon cloud.

The Fire phone also makes purchasing items a quick and easy process, as its Firefly scanning technology quickly retrieves product information and prices; users can buy an item simply by swivelling the phone in a certain direction.

Early reviews for the smartphone have been mixed. The general consensus appears to be that the ideas behind its numerous features are good while the practical execution does not quite measure up.

The Verge's review concludes by stating:

"Amazon's first smartphone is a series of interesting ideas in a package that is somehow much less than the sum of its parts."

Adrian Mursec, head of development at theEword, has said: "The Fire phone certainly has a lot of competition despite its unique features, as the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been met with positive reviews, while Apple's most recent quarterly earnings report indicates that the iPhone is still selling very well, despite the upgrade being just round the corner."