Amazon Fire Phone’s Firefly feature: Apple’s iPhone already has it

“When CEO Jeff Bezos announced the new Fire Phone Wednesday afternoon, he left out an important fact about one of its coolest features,” Rocco Pendola writes for TheStreet.

“While there’s no question Firefly looks really cool, as far as I know Bezos neglected to mention that one of its niftiest features is hardly new at all. In fact, if you own an iPhone from Apple with recent iOS software and the Amazon shopping app installed, you can already scan an item — bar code or the actual item itself — and proceed to purchase it from Amazon,” Pendola writes. “All you have to do is use the ‘Flow’ feature.”

“Amazon built a feature into its, by the looks of it, excellent all-purpose, though shopping-centric Firefly app that’s been available on Apple’s iPhone only to tout that feature as a cornerstone of its ‘new’ Firefly app set to debut on Fire phone,” Pendola writes. “It makes me wonder if the Bezos strategy of knocking off hardware isn’t getting just a bit old.”

More info and screenshots in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As Steve Jobs might say to Jeff Bezos if he were here today: Been there, done that – and far, far better, too.

Related articles:
Amazon shows ‘Fire Phone’ with 4.7-inch 3-D display to court mobile shoppers – June 18, 2014
Analyst: Amazon smartphone no threat to Apple’s iPhone, but Android phone makers beware – June 17, 2014


    1. It seems odd to me that Firefly rights owner Fox Television hasn’t sued Amazon for this; especially since Fox aggressively took on a woman who had fashioned a fan-art hat.

      …on second thought, it isn’t odd at all. It’s downright predictable. Jeff Bezos wears a crown, the rest are vassals.

      1. The trademark only applies to the industry. There’s no market confusion between Firefly the TV show/movie and Firefly the Amazon product identifying and ordering service. If you do a TESS search, you’ll find several registered trademarks for Firefly in a variety of industries.

        1. Did that before posting, wanted to call out these conglomerates anyway. Corporate behaviour, legal is it may be, can be monstrous in its disregard for basic humanity. A bean counter in a corner office punches a button, and a mammoth cyborg swings into action like a Tiananmen tank.

  1. Puzzles me that manufacturers would use Amazon as an outlet. And then let Amazon sell their stuff at a high discount

    Amazon just destroys their brick and mortar outlets: relegating them to showrooms (people waste the sales peoples’ time and then shop cheaper at Amazon). When Brick mortar close down like for appliances, where will people go to see the manufacturers products? Seems like the manufacturers are shooting themselves in the foot. Some brick mortar bookstores were selling Kindles! (????)

    Apple tries it’s best to fix the prices of its products whether it’s sold by amazon or somebody else.

      1. I really don’t know what you getting at.

        First sale doctrine?

        What has that got to do with say selling appliances?

        Apple just says “you have to sell our Macs at around this price range or else you can’t be our distributor”, other manufacturers can’t do that?

        apple sells a mac mini for 599, amazon only discounts it to 594 (very little difference) but for some other manufacturers the discounts are 30-40%….
        Like just browsing a NewAir Icemaker is discounted 37%

        Apple allows their brick mortar re sellers to have a chance.
        Very rarely are there sales, the Walmart iPhone discounts were a weird aberration of usual apple policy…

        (don’t mean to get into flame war. I don’t know enough of retailer policies so maybe I’m missing something about your post … )

        1. I suppose manufacturers could say that, but then Amazon could also say we’re not interested in selling your product. The point is Amazon is probably the largest marketplace you could sell to that is accessible from practically every major country in their own language. Even WalMart looks like a kid next to Amazon’s scale. Also if you are selling to Amazon and they re-sell, they most likely take on inventory which is pretty much money upfront for the manufacturer and probably in a much larger volume with less work than any other company you could choose to deal with.

          1. “then Amazon could also say we’re not interested in selling your product”
            Apple even when it was struggling years back had the balls to say ‘fine don’t sell’ to retailers who wanted to buy bulk and discount. They wanted a even playing field.

            so I like I said the other manufacturers (long term) are shooting themselves in the foot for short term gain. From my example , Appliances , without brick and mortar stores and salespeople it’s hard to explain the advantages of your product. Let Amazon undercut them, they close and you’ve shot yourself. Also eventually amazon will also be the major by far reseller for you and Amazon can dictate terms to your detriment.

            Look at the book publishers, Amazon’s got a strangle hold on them and can completely wreck them now by blacklisting them because the publishers ALLOWED THE OTHER BOOKSELLERS TO GO UNDER.

            If Apple let Amazon undercut it’s other resellers and they close, if you’re living far from an Apple store where do you get your mac fixed? That’s why I didn’t like Apple allowing Walmart to have iPhone ‘sales’, Walmart doesn’t fix macs, phones in my area and it’s unfair pressure to the stores that do. Interestingly Cook fired the head of Apple USA marketing.

          2. “Even WalMart looks like a kid next to Amazon’s scale.”

            actually WalMart is much larger than Amazon.

            WM revenues per year is around 470 billion, net around 15 billion
            Amazon is around 75 billion, Net around 270 m.

            They are both much smaller than Apple’s profits though:
            Apple’s Net is around 37 billion, (that’s 37,000 m vs Amazon’s 270 )

            1. You’re quite right.. I was thinking more on the order of the breadth of products that Amazon offered in comparison with any other single corporate retail entity and the ability to deal logistically with it.

  2. At least Palm figured out the need for a “smart phone” before Apple did.

    But Amazon being 7 years late to the game?

    10/1 odds the FPhone doesn’t make it 2 years.

  3. Bezos – Too busy to know what’s going on outside of Amazon. His developers show him neat scan and shop feature… Wow, he thinks. They don’t tell him, they added it to the iOS app, 4 years ago. So he decides to tout it as a cornerstone feature of their new phone. – Zing!

    1. One more thing, I use Amazon to measure the value of a product I am looking at in the “show room” and review people’s experience, then seeing it’s a decent item, buy it locally. I will buy locally first, if I can, and then lastly from Amazon/ebay. I am not always looking to save dollars.

  4. Amazon doesn’t need the Firefly to be cutting edge tech, it just needs to be pretty recent. The entire purpose is to be sold as a loss leader to people who love Amazon and want to shop anywhere and everywhere, but who may not want to carry a Kindle Fire around with them.

  5. This feature seems extra douchebaggery to me. So a customer finds an item for sale in an advertising piece, travels to the physical store, inquires about the product by conversing with an associate, scans the product and then purchases from Amazon? People that do this need “kick me hard” posted on their backsides, especially when shopping at mom and pops.

  6. At some point, the inevitable technological advance in efficiency, prices, and convenience must be considered from a societal viewpoint. Where are people to obtain personal service and how are we to provide jobs for communities and local businesses?

  7. Firefly has some neat features built into the phone’s camera: recognizing QR codes, phone numbers on printed pieces, as well as recognizing products by its visuals.

    Face it — If Apple did this, we’d be cheering!

    1. Quite so.. Like Apple usually does, they take something already there, improve it and integrate it well into their device. Amazon has just done the same with their Firefly App.

  8. Maybe Apple is nor providing the detection of printed phone numbers, URLs but does not mean you can’t get this on the iPhone. I have been using a relatively unknown app called ReadAndCall for scanning and calling phone numbers since 2011. This developer is small so nobody knows about them – this week they are releasing apps for scanning phone numbers, URLs AND MAP ADDRESSES (for instant directions) – just search iReadSolutions on YouTube and you will see you can get Vision Apps for you iPhone – just not from Apple yet.

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