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Old 05-17-2015, 07:09 AM   #1
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Amazon "Fire" phone

Amazon offered their new unlocked GSM 32G Fire phone for an introductory price with free this and that and it ended up costing me $50. I took it to AT&T and they transferred the sim card from my old iPhone 4S and activated it for free.
The phone is about 50% larger screen which was what I wanted due to my aging eyes. The APP's available are adequate and they will provide one specially made for you, free. For example my UConnect for my Dodge Ram will be available soon.
The picture and sounds are amazing with 3 D maps.
I highly recommend it if you can acquire it during one of Amazon daily specials.

http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Fire-Ph...rds=fire+phone
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Old 05-17-2015, 01:03 PM   #2
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Thankfully the monopoly is broken for having to kowtow to the cell phone cartel.

It started here, in Canada, about a year and half ago when Staples first started selling unlocked phones. I found it galling before that I could go to the Samsung store, buy a phone, which was already locked to Telus and then had to go and pay Telus to have it unlocked.

The rest of the world has cheap unlocked cell phones, it's about time that it's improving here. It is nice, no matter what country you're in, just to be able to buy a very low cost sim card, pop it in your phone, and have a local phone.

OK, rant over

Ron
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Old 05-17-2015, 04:44 PM   #3
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This phone appears to use Fire OS, an operating system derived from Android. In effect, instead of the phone's operating system being tweaked to lock the user into a phone network, it is instead set up to lock the user to Amazon, similar to the way an iPhone is set up to work with Apple's store.

It will be interesting to see how well this works out, but at least Amazon (and thus support for the phone) is unlikely vanish at short notice.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:37 PM   #4
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Today I was able to activate my truck's internet connection for a flat fee for 30 days and now my truck is a mobile hotspot so that my IPad and Fire phone can access internet while driving to obtain live weather feeds. These feeds will use a lot of airtime so it was prudent to use the truck with unlimited versus each individual plan each of which have limits.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
This phone appears to use Fire OS, an operating system derived from Android. In effect, instead of the phone's operating system being tweaked to lock the user into a phone network, it is instead set up to lock the user to Amazon, similar to the way an iPhone is set up to work with Apple's store.

It will be interesting to see how well this works out, but at least Amazon (and thus support for the phone) is unlikely vanish at short notice.
I'm not quite understanding the Amazon phone situation. Jim has an AT&T sim card now. I don't see how the phone is still locked to Amazon. But then I don't have an iPhone so I don't know how they are set up to work with Apple's store.

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Old 05-17-2015, 07:44 PM   #6
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The Amazon Fire may work perfectly for you. But you might want to look at this article before recommending it to others. Amazon Fire Phone: Why It Failed to Take Off
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:58 PM   #7
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The phone is unlocked and I can use any network, I chose AT&T since it was my old provider as well as being nearby. In another month I'll probably switch to Consumer Cellular which provides free sim card replacements, similar to AT&T and reduce my monthly bill further. As far as my decision, the upfront cost was minimal and the phone was bigger. I do not use a lot of APP's so the phone meets my needs. As Donna says, YMMV.....
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:20 PM   #8
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That's what I thought was the situation. What I don't understand is Brian's comment about the phone still being locked to Amazon.

I've has several sim cards in several countries in mine as well as a local pay as you go plan. Being able to have an unlocked phone really works for me.

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Old 05-17-2015, 08:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
That's what I thought was the situation. What I don't understand is Brian's comment about the phone still being locked to Amazon.
I think that's a reference to the apps being Amazon-specific. If you want Candy Crush, you have to buy it from Amazon, etc.
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
That's what I thought was the situation. What I don't understand is Brian's comment about the phone still being locked to Amazon.

I've has several sim cards in several countries in mine as well as a local pay as you go plan. Being able to have an unlocked phone really works for me.

Ron
Not the cellular function Ron, but the App source. Just as an iPhone has the Apple App Store or iTunes as the sole source for content (unless you jailbreak it with Cydia or similar), the Fire Phone is also a "closed universe" -- deriving its Apps solely from Amazon. And, Amazon isn't the only one to adopt the closed system model like Apple: Microsoft did that with Windows Mobile. None of these has anything to do with the cellular carrier, but how the OS runs. Another way to look at is this: an iPhone is essentially an iPad with a cell phone (albeit smaller). A Fire Phone is essentially a Kindle Fire with a cell phone.
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:54 PM   #11
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In the US AT&T is not the best choice for those who travel cross-country IMPO. In the old days there were A side and B side carriers. The B side were the landline companies. The A side was the entrepreneurs to help foster competition. The B side companies had the immediate money for buildout. The A side was fragmented until Craig McCaw, the largest A-side operator sold to AT&T(the old AWS). Eventually most did as well, although there are still some, notably US Cellular still out there. So when you are in Ashland, Oregon for example the AT&T signal is weak because they have to use 1900 MHz vs. 850(which is much better) because US Cellular has the 850 license.

The B-side is primarily Verizon and they have far fewer roaming partners than does AT&T. For just voice you may not notice much difference. However with data AT&T only allows 100MB of roaming data. That's hardly anything. I got noticed twice last year by AT&T for exceeding it- once in Death Valley, and once when my son was in Wyoming. They can suspend your data usage for the rest of the billing cycle at their option.

Besides all that, I find after swtiching to Verizon that I have much more coverage overall and have never received a warning. Also, their newer phones(I use an S3) are unlocked. That means if you go to Europe you can use a prepaid GSM simcard for prepaid service. You can try to get your AT&T phone unlocked if you are out of contract but good luck on that one.
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:29 AM   #12
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I'm not quite understanding the Amazon phone situation. Jim has an AT&T sim card now. I don't see how the phone is still locked to Amazon. But then I don't have an iPhone so I don't know how they are set up to work with Apple's store.
It's not locked to a network - you can use it with any technically compatible network (older networks with GSM technology will work but older networks with CDMA technology will not work). It probably won't work with 2G or 3G networks in Canada from Bell or Telus.

The association with Amazon is like an iPhone's association with Apple: when you want to load music or apps on it, the phone will want to do it from Amazon's store... stuff like that. It may not be a big deal - depends on the details of how it is set up, and the owner's preferences about how they want to use it.

Robert (rbryan) described the situation well.

If you don't use apps at all, and just want a phone, this doesn't matter and you don't need a $500 smartphone... you can use an $80 (no contract) flip phone.
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Old 05-18-2015, 12:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post

If you don't use apps at all, and just want a phone, this doesn't matter and you don't need a $500 smartphone... you can use an $80 (no contract) flip phone.
What I like about my Staples unlocked smartphone (my wife also just bought one) is that despite us having pay as you go service and no data we can use them as portable wi-fi devices because there's so much free wi-fi around. Not using a smart phone to its' full potential but it works for us.

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Old 05-18-2015, 06:13 PM   #14
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Not sure about Canada; last time I needed a pre-paid card was about five years ago on Vancouver Island. I knew I needed to do something as my 15 year old son was going to give me a $500 bill from roaming charges calling his girlfriend. We got a Rogers card but what amazed me was that you were charged long-distance if you answered the call and you were any distance from the city where your pre-paid number resided. Is it still like that?

Anyways, again- not sure about Canada but in the US you can use most, if not all smartphones on wifi without a data plan.
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:53 PM   #15
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My iPhone is with Telus, but my home internet and cable are from Shaw so I automatically connect with one of the 30,000 Shaw WiFi ports when I'm away from home. That included the campground over on Vancouver Island a week ago.
I'm sure Telus loves losing the data and Shaw also wins by offering the benefit for no charge.
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