This week, Amazon announced its first-ever smartphone, the Fire.
One of the main features of the phone is called “dynamic perspective” and it allows images on the phone’s screen to respond to the way you hold, view, and move it. You can switch between menus, initiate automatic scroll, reveal hidden information, and see things from slightly different angles by tilting the screen or moving your head.
In a Q&A session with Vice President of Amazon’s Fire Phone division, Ian Freed, someone asked him why Amazon thought that this feature, achieved through face detection and motion sensing, would be successful when other companies have tried similar effects in the past and failed.
Freed assured us that Amazon’s dynamic perspective “will absolutely not get you queasy.”
Amazon’s phone has been four years in the making and the facial recognition and motion technology has been tested rigorously.
“Because we used four cameras, we’re able to detect all types of situations the user might be in,” he says. “You could be lying down: It works perfectly. You could be in the dark: It works perfectly. Because of the precision of it, and because of the robustness of it, people don’t have problems with it.”
The Fire phone uses four cameras and four infra-red LEDs on the front, a dedicated custom processor, real-time computer vision algorithms, and a graphics rendering engine to make sure that dynamic perspective works smoothly.
When we got to try the Fire phone ourselves, we found that Freed was right: All the shifting images really didn’t make us feel queasy in the least bit.
However, nailing some of the motion controls and getting used to the user experience in general wasn’t exactly a breeze. Although the movements might come naturally to the more spatially aware, we hadn’t mastered anything before our demo time was up. An Amazon rep said that getting fully acclimated to the gesture controls can take some users up to a day or two.
Amazon has built dynamic perspective functionality into a lot of its experiences and apps. However, it also just released the developers kits to the public today, so before the phone officially launches on July 25, more developers will likely design custom apps for the Fire.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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