Bezos & Co. introduced the latest device in their Fire series this week, a phone with all sorts of bells and whistles, like 3D perspectives. The feature that stuck out to us payments nerds would be Firefly, an image recognition platform that looks up whatever is nearby. This could be products like DVDs and books, bar or QR codes, or it will recognize what you are listening to or watching. Once the app recognizes the content, it will pull up results from the Amazon store, and allow you to order them. The user can tap on the Amazon result for the item, or just look back at their scanning history to order they might have scanned earlier in the day.
This is a pretty compelling, frictionless form e-commerce (provided the item you are scanning happens to be in the list of Amazon’s 100 million recognized items), and its a nightmare-come-true for retailers who are fighting a battle against mobile showrooming.
Amazon’s mockups show perfect lighting conditions and unwrinkled surfaces, which we all know is not the real world. I’ve personally found some image recognition APIs to be spotty at best. Give Google Goggles a try, to see the type of experience Amazon is hoping to improve.
More cool news: Amazon has opened Firefly’s image recognition and association functions in their Fire Phone API.
Jump to 26:08 watch the demo of the Fire phone’s e-commerce scenarios: