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Amazon unveils ‘Fire’ smartphone

Amazon unveils ‘Fire’ smartphone

AMAZON: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Amazon Fire Phone, Wednesday, June 18, in Seattle. Photo: Associated Press/Ted S. Warren

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos unveiled a $200 “Fire” smartphone on Wednesday equipped with a 3D-capable screen and an ability to recognize music and TV shows, hoping to stand out in a crowded field dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

Bezos, in a rare media appearance, demonstrated three-dimensional display features on the 4.7-inch device, from depth perception in maps and pictures to the ability to shift perspectives and reveal new information when the phone is tilted.

“What if there were a thousand artists standing by to redraw the picture every time you moved your head?” Bezos remarked to hundreds of Amazon customers, reporters and industry executives gathered in Seattle for the unveiling.

The smartphone joins Amazon’s “Fire” lineup of tablets and streaming devices. It represents the retail giant’s attempt to extend its dominance of online commerce into mobile phones, which are increasingly being used to buy items and view video.

The phone will start at $199.99 for a 32-gigabyte storage version with a two-year contract on AT&T Inc.

Shares in Amazon climbed more than 2 percent as Bezos expounded on the smartphone’s features and were at $332.77 in afternoon trade.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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