Perhaps you’ve heard. (If you haven’t, I’ll be happy to trade Twitter feeds with you.) Amazon introduced a new smart phone yesterday. Everyone (at least on Twitter) is talking about it, but as with the introduction of any new high-profile gadget, everyone is saying something different.

It’s called the Amazon Fire (or, just Fire, but not to be confused with the Kindle Fire or the Amazon Fire TV) and according to all the coverage, it’s important because it lets you store free every photo you’ll ever take; it has a feature called Firefly that recognizes any product you point it towards so you can purchase it from Amazon; and, oh, it also can recognize audio from TV shows, movies and music the same way.

Indeed, here are all the things it can recognize by seeing or hearing them:

  • Printed phone numbers, email, web addresses, QR, and bar codes: Firefly identifies printed text on signs, posters, magazines and business cards—make a call, send an email, save as a contact, or go to the website without typing out long URLs or email addresses.
  • 245,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels: Firefly recognizes movies and TV episodes, and uses IMDb for X-Ray to show actors, plot synopses, and related content—add titles to Watch List or download and start watching immediately.
  • 35 million songs: Firefly recognizes music and uses Amazon Music’s catalog to show information about the artist—play more songs, add them to a Wish List, or download instantly to the phone. Developers, such as iHeartRadio and StubHub, used the SDK to build Firefly-enabled apps, so customers can create a new radio station based on the song or find concert tickets for the artist.
  • 70 million products, including household items, books, DVDs, CDs, video games, and more: Access product details, add items to a Wish List, or order on

Also, some reports think it’s smart of Amazon to make the Fire expensive (about what an iPhone costs). And then, one reporter questions if the phone will even appeal to anybody.

There are several other features being touted, but for small businesses, the major concern may be how the Firefly feature is being portrayed by the tech media. Here are our early suggestions:

Don’t worry about Showrooming…yet

Anyone who has used Amazon’s Flow App or, now, the Amazon App, on either the iPhone or Android has had a version of what Firefly does: product recognition and the ability to save it to a wish list or purchase something you see in a store via The practice even has a name: Showrooming. We’ve provided ideas to compete with Showrooming in the past. We’ve even told you about the opposite phenomenon of Showrooming: Webrooming, where shoppers do their research on Amazon and then go to a store to purchase the item to avoid shipping delays and other hassles.

Why we say, “don’t worry yet”: The market share of the Amazon Fire will be an incredibly thin slice for the foreseeable future. And the first wave of adopters will come from the hardcore Amazon customers.

Prediction: Amazon will make the Fire available Free to the top 1% of its Prime customers. In other words, the people most likely to showroom are already doing it.

Amazon will likely get around to promoting the Fire as a small business-friendly device

Amazon has developed a wide range of products and services for small businesses who can benefit from any of the customer-centric features of the Fire and the apps that will be developed for it. A partial list of some of the small business friendly services Amazon will tout include: Amazon Local, its fulfillment service, selling your products via the Fire, its planned local services matching platform.

The reason for Amazon Fire isn’t about small businesses

The Fire is about Amazon’s future and the way it sees internet commerce unfolding in the coming years. From their vantage point, Amazon sees two major competitors: Apple and Google. (No, not Microsoft or Facebook or, or even Walmart.) Apple and Google both have mobile commerce strategies that are well established and are now far ahead of Amazon in a scaling mode. How bad is that for Amazon? Amazon can’t even sell digital products on it’s iPhone app without paying a commission to Apple.

Amazon dominates (by a wide margin) ecommerce, but like all of us, they know the future is mobile. Without having their “buying machine” in our pockets, Amazon will be left behind, at least when it comes to digital products like movies, music and, perish the thought, ebooks.

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