Home How Firefly Lets You Explore Your Universe

How Firefly Lets You Explore Your Universe

This post is sponsored by AT&T. As a promotional post, it reflects the views of the sponsor, not ReadWrite’s editors.

Amazon’s first smartphone, the Fire phone, has a technology called Firefly that looks at the universe of things from as many perspectives as possible.

When you press and hold down the dedicated Firefly button, the smartphone identifies printed text on posters, magazines, and business cards. It can also read text off a computer or television screen. Its image-recognition software can identify email addresses and phone numbers and scan QR codes and barcodes. 

 From these scans, you can make calls, save new contacts, send emails, and visit websites without typing long addresses. The Firefly feature also can identify more than 100 million items in Amazon’s catalog, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and physical products.

How Firefly Works

Let’s say you’re walking through a bookstore and you see a title you like. Point the Fire at it, hit the Firefly button, and it recognizes the book from its cover. It then displays a digital representation of the book on the phone.

When the user taps an identified item, Firefly opens a detail page. This page includes a list of actions the user can take on the identified item. The available actions are either built in to Firefly—for example, to purchase the book from Amazon, or to share details about it on social media or through email.

Future enhancements, called plugins, will allow you to do more with Firefly by providing additional actions for an identified item. For example, a book-review plugin could provide critics’ and readers’ takes on an identified book.

X-Ray For Television

Firefly can recognize more than 240,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels. The Amazon Fire smartphone also recognizes songs using Firefly so you can access artist information, play related songs, download albums direct to your Fire phone, or add them to your wish list to purchase later on.

Amazon has worked to make sure the Fire phone has all of the most popular apps and games on the Amazon Appstore—and that as many apps as possible take advantage of the Fire phone’s unique designs.

If you don’t immediately see your favorite app, don’t despair. A software-development kit, or SDK, is available for the Fire phone. That means developers can tinker with the phone and extend Firefly’s capabilities. More apps are expected to join top-tier publishers soon.

Where To Get Firefly

Amazon Fire with Firefly is exclusively on AT&T with 32GB or 64GB of storage. To celebrate its release, AT&T is also offering the Fire for no money down, with no upgrade fee, activation fee, or annual contract.

Photos by Taylor Hatmaker for ReadWrite

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