OPERATIONS

Amazon’s new Fire Phone includes instant shopping features, 3D interface

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – The new Amazon Fire smartphone, introduced at an invitation-only press conference on June 18, includes features specifically designed to encourage shopping on Amazon.com. Most significantly, a feature known as Firefly can recognize 100 million items, including physical objects such as CDs as well as barcodes and QR codes. It is the first smartphone Amazon has produced on its own.

At the tap of a button, users can purchase a detected item, which can also include songs recognized with the phone’s built-in microphone, from Amazon.com. In addition, Firefly can perform services such as pulling up a Wikipedia entry on an image of a piece of art and recognize phone numbers and street signs.

The Fire phone will also include Amazon’s Mayday 24/7 customer support service currently offered to users of its Kindle Fire tablet. And Amazon Fire will fully support all Amazon Prime offerings such as Prime Music and Prime Video, as well as the Kindle Newsstand app for buying electronic publications.

Other notable Amazon Fire features include a 3-D interface with a head-tracking system that uses four cameras with a rolling shutter to provide a continually changing 3-D view as the user tilts the phone in different directions. During the event, Bezos demonstrated an app that allowed the user to sort through dresses as if they in an actual 3D space.

Like the Kindle tablet, it appears the real motivation to Amazon entering the smartphone arena is to better promote the purchase of its goods and services by the rapidly growing contingent of smartphone owners. Initial price will be a competitive $199, with AT&T as exclusive carrier, and features like the 3-D interface and state-of-the-art screen display and sound should make it an attractive buy even for consumers who don’t intend to use it as a mobile e-commerce device. But features like Firefly and integration with Amazon Prime make it clear that Amazon Fire should be viewed through the lens of m-commerce as well as through the lens of telecom.

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CPG execs recommit to established industry agenda

BY CSA STAFF

CEOs from top CPG companies gathered in Paris this week for a meeting of the Consumer Goods Forum where the board voted on a set of common sense initiatives related to health and wellness.

The Forum’s board of directors reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of its Health & Wellness Resolutions published three years ago and said it was committed to leading the industry on several specific fronts, including:

  • By 2016: Make company policies public on nutrition and product formulation and implement employee health and wellness programs.
  • By 2018: Industry-wide implementation of consistent product labeling and consumer information to help consumers make informed choices and usages.
  • By 2018: Stop targeted advertising to children under 12 for products that do not fulfill specific nutrition criteria based on scientific evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guidelines.

The Forum’s board also approved creation of an External Scientific Advisory Council on Health and Wellness to provide directional guidance on the health and wellness strategic pillar.

"The consumer goods industry acknowledges its role in the health and wellness of society, the issues around it, and the imperative need for actions,” said Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestle and co-sponsor of the Forum’s health and wellness pillar. “We have to scale up our efforts. We have to accelerate existing initiatives. We have to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogues and efforts. We believe that The Forum will contribute to a positive impact in this area.”

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Bud Light’s World Cup campaign woos Latinos

BY CSA STAFF

During the World Cup, Bud Light will donate to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund for each goal scored, up to $250,000. Though Budweiser is the official Beer of the World Cup, 2014 is the first year that Bud Light has been a partner of the month-long event.

"Integrating our sponsorship with education is at the core of our company values,” Bud Light Brand Manager Miguel Nigrinis said. “It’s a winning recipe for Latinos that aspire to hold a university degree.”

In addition to the scholarship money, Bud Light is continuing its marketing campaign surrounding the World Cup, #UpForWhatever and its Spanish counterpart, #ParaLoQueVenga. As part of the campaign, consumers can win a VIP watch party in Las Vegas for the World Cup finals by texting “BudLight” to 23377.

The sweepstakes is designed to bring spectators “closer to the action and their favorite team,” according to Nigrinis.

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