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Is the new Amazon Fire enterprise-ready or should it remain a consumer device?


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The Amazon Fire was launched last month amid much fanfare. Highly anticipated, the phone is Amazon’s first foray into handsets and builds on its growing experience as a smart device maker. As the Kindle Fire continues to gain market share in the hotly contested tablet space, a step into mobile phone manufacture is a logical one for the online retailer. But is it one step too far?

It’s certainly not the first time a consumer device has made in-roads into the enterprise. The iPad and associated apps are generally credited with consumerisation of IT and driving the workplace consumer experience but will the new Amazon Fire be able to stand up to the demands of the workplace? Let’s take a look.

Screen size is always an important consideration for the enterprise user. The Fire features a 4.7 inch screen, which does make it ideal for one-handed use. It’s standard 1280 x 720 with 315ppi is standard amongst its peers so won’t leave mobile workers squinting at the screen any more than they do already. What it does offer however is a 3D screen that along with its Dynamic Perspective feature allows users to see around, down and through images on the screen – think pop out landmarks on a map, or even how clothes are now showcased in some online stores.

It is built on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz processor and when it launches in the UK later this year will run a version of Android known as Fire OS 3.5.0. For the fiercely loyal Amazon fan base, who will be out in force to support the device, it is unlikely to be put off by the OS but I can’t see that it will steal any iOS users.

The Fire does come with most of the usual features and functions you’d expect of a smartphone, but perhaps the most interesting new feature is Firefly. This enables users to zoom in and captured printed words and numbers, such as phone numbers, emails, web addresses and business cards and more - pretty useful when out on the road. It even works at a distance so you can capture information without having to type it all into your phone. It’s actually designed as a way to capture products that can then be bought on the Amazon store but I can see it being useful tool to have when out and about.

Both the 3D screen and Firefly are going to require lots of battery to power it however, and I can’t see how the 2,400mAh battery will be able to support it.

While no UK pricing or launch date is currently available, US models are priced at £117 for 32Gb model up to £441 SIM free for 64Gb. While none are over-priced for the enterprise, they remain at the high end.

Of course, Amazon is throwing in some lovely ‘consumer-focused’ other gems, including free unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive, which may prove to be enticing for some organisations who are happy to store some of their data in the public cloud, but I can see others fearful of allowing users freedom to do so.

So will it gain a foothold in the heavily contested enterprise space? My answer would be ‘not just yet’. It’s probably a little too unknown. Will it be able to take on iOS and other Android devices in a highly competitive market where even Blackberry failed? It’s likely it will stay firmly rooted in the consumer market for now, but stranger things have happened.

BUT as the app market develops to support it and Amazon continues it’s market gains in the enterprise market via the public cloud space, more and more companies will begin to consider Amazon a worthy enterprise brand and not one that’s just consumer-focused.



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