Amazon has entered the smartphone market with a gadget tailored to boost online shopping

Amazon introduces online shopping Fire smartphone

Amazon has unveiled its first smartphone designed to simplify users online shopping experience by enabling automatic recognition of products.

The highly anticipated Fire smartphone joins Amazon’s portfolio of electronic devices that includes tablets, electronic readers and streaming devices.

Entering the highly competitive field dominated by giants Samsung and Apple, Amazon wants to attract customers by offering an image and audio recognition feature and a 3D camera.

The device is tailored to support shoppers to make more purchases via Amazon’s website. Whenever the camera is directed on a sellable item, the phone’s smart algorithms should be able to recognise the product and allow the user to immediately purchase it via the Amazon website.

Similarly, the audio recognition software can recognise songs and support users to buy and stream the music immediately.

The technology, which works by matching images of items or songs to Amazon's database of over 100 million items, will be opened to app-developers for use, an approach that rivals Apple and Google have taken with their own mobile software.

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, in a rare media appearance in Seattle, demonstrated three-dimensional display features on the 4.7-inch phone, such as greater depth perception in maps and pictures.

Four front-facing cameras track head movements and shift perspectives depending on a user's activity. Users can scroll through screens by tilting or swivelling the phone.

"One of the things that Amazon tried to do with this phone is reduce the amount of activity and input that users have to do to get results," said Dave Cotter, chief executive of SquareHub, an app that helps families share photos and other information.

"Instead of clicking a whole bunch of stuff, you hold the phone and it does things for you," said the former Amazon executive, who got his first peek at the phone more than two months ago.

The Fire smartphone sells for $649 (£381) contract-free. A 32-GB budget version will be available from 25 July for $199.99 with a contract on AT&T, which is comparable to iPhone 5Cs, though it has superior displays and other features.

To sweeten the deal, Amazon offered 12 months of membership to Prime, its two-day delivery and streaming service.

Shares of Amazon climbed 2.7 per cent to $334.38 on Wednesday.

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