Amazon's Fire phone gets more premium apps -- MapQuest and WeatherBug

FeatFirePhone

Can you feel the electricity in the air? Today is Amazon Fire phone release day! Yes, the mythical smartphone, which was rumored for years, finally becomes available to consumers today. Next door to the pizzeria where I got my meatball parm hero for lunch today, is an AT&T store littered with signage for the device. There definitely is a buzz. Will it be a success? Time will tell, but a big factor will be app selection.

Yesterday, Amazon scored Microsoft OneNote for it -- a huge win for both companies. Today however, the app train keeps on rolling. MapQuest and WeatherBug, both of which are premium apps, are now available for Fire phone too. However, these are not just ports, but customized versions to take advantage of Amazon's unique hardware.

"WeatherBug, the brand millions trust to know before severe weather strikes, launches its popular app on Amazon's new Fire phone. Featuring exclusive Spark lightning alerts, the fastest alerts to severe weather, and pinpoint forecasts for 2.6 million locations worldwide, the app includes all the weather, alerting tools and special features WeatherBug users have come to trust. What's more, the app utilizes Fire's unique features with an expanded home screen widget that provides vital weather information at-a-glance, supports gesture-based navigation, and includes cool new 3D effects".

Wow, WeatherBug actually sounds very cool, but it probably won't push sales of the device. Since Google's apps, including Google Maps, will not be available, mapping will be a huge need on Amazon's platform. Luckily, MapQuest has stepped up with a solution that should hopefully be well accepted by users.

Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Appstore says, "MapQuest has innovated using Fire phone's unique capabilities to offer customers a new kind of experience for people on the go. We're thrilled that MapQuest has created an app for Fire phone. We think customers are going to love the experience".

MapQuest touts the following unique Fire phone features:

  • Tilt-activated menus beautifully engineered for Fire phone's unique panels
  • Layers bar relocation under widget for better consumer experience on Fire device
  • 3-D logo icon for better legibility on Fire phone's screen

While scoring premium apps is awesome, more importantly will be developers taking advantage of the Fire phone's unique features. Simple ports of existing Android apps, while appreciated, will not be enough to drive sales or differentiate from other devices. Amazon should be prepared for a very long road; keeping up this influx of apps will decide if that road leads the Fire phone off a cliff or to green pastures.

Will you buy the Fire phone today? Tell me in the comments.

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