Amazon's 'Fire' smartphone has chips from Qualcomm, Samsung, NXP

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:41pm EDT

An Amazon Fire smartphone is seen opened up during a teardown procedure in a handout picture provided by iFixit on July 24, 2014.  REUTERS/iFixit/Handout via Reuters

An Amazon Fire smartphone is seen opened up during a teardown procedure in a handout picture provided by iFixit on July 24, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/iFixit/Handout via Reuters

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc's new "Fire" smartphone, aimed at extending the online retailer's reach, includes chips from Qualcomm Inc, NXP Semiconductors NV and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, according to repair firm iFixit, which pried one open on Thursday.

The handset, which includes four cameras that track a user's head movements to enable special screen effects, ships this week to customers in the United States who ordered the device.

The phone, powered by a Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, also touts a "Firefly" feature that allows users to point the phone at an object and be directed to Amazon's online store to buy it.

Dismantling a just-delivered Fire handset, tear-down and device-repair specialist iFixit discovered radio frequency, power amplifier, audio and WiFi chips that were also from Qualcomm.

As well as the four face-tracking cameras, the phone includes a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera.

Although those features failed to impress reviewers, similar features could become prevalent in future handsets launched by other companies. [ID:nL4N0PZ59P]

The device opened by iFixit includes 32 gigabytes of NAND memory chips made by Samsung Electronics for storing pictures, music and other media. The phone, which has a 4.7 inch LCD display, included 2 gigabytes of DRAM memory from Samsung.

Manufacturers of mobile hardware often employ more than one supplier for memory chips and other components in their devices.

The handset also included a near field communication chip, enabling features such as mobile payments, from NXP, according to iFixit.

Joining Amazon's "Fire" lineup of tablets and streaming devices, the new phone aims to stand out in a crowded field dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung.

It has specifications similar to high- and mid-range smartphones and runs on a modified version of Google's Android operating system.

"Fire" is priced at $649 contract-free or $199.99 with a contract with AT&T Inc – in the same neighborhood as the iPhone. The price is a departure from the e-commerce company's strategy of pricing Kindle Fire tablets at near-cost to sell its other products and services.

Amazon's shares closed up 0.13 percent at $358.61 on Nasdaq ahead of the company's second-quarter report on Thursday.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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