Amazon's Creepy Shopper Thingy

A couple of takeaways from Amazon's event today, announcing their new phone. First, a quote from Dan Frommer's initial reaction:

image courtesy The Verge

image courtesy The Verge

Details are still rolling in, but Bezos has already made one thing clear: This is a shopping device.

The most interesting feature so far is called Firefly: An image recognition app that can supposedly detect and identify more than 100 million items, ranging from physical products on sale at Amazon—Bezos demonstrated the feature with a Nutella jar, among other products—to songs and phone numbers. The phone has a dedicated Firefly button on its side, meaning that the feature—and your credit card—is always only a tap away.

Then there is the rather odd (and somewhat useless?) feature that employs four user-facing cameras to create a 3-D visual effect.

My favorite response to this feature so far, courtesy of John Moltz:

The entire idea seems a little tone deaf, in light of all the privacy concerns in today's culture. Also, I think they simply could have had a better shot at actually disrupting the smartphone market if they saved all that cash needed to realize this 3-D effect, and just sold the phone for $100 less.

Some people will buy this device, to be sure. But probably not half as many as would have bought it if the price could be dramatically lower.