Jeff Bezos just announced the arrival of the smartphone that killed brick-and-mortar retail, once and for all.
Farhad Manjoo reports from Wednesday's Amazon press event rolling out the new Amazon Fire Phone:
That gasp you just heard came from every operator of a retail store that still depends on being able to convince live human beings to buy objects on site. Because the Amazon Fire Phone looks like it is designed to be the most lethal comparison shopping device yet created.
1) Walk into a store, focus your phone on the bar code for whatever product you desire.
2) Click the Firefly button on your phone that enables instant shopping, and purchase your item at the presumably significant Amazon discount.
3) Return to your home, and discover that an Amazon drone has already dropped your purchase off.
OK, that last part may still be a few months away, but Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to count on free shipping of most products in a negligible period of time. Props to Bezos: the Fire Phone sounds like a compelling device: a magic wand for shopping.
But one wonders: How long before stores start banning the Amazon Fire from their premises? An Amazon Fire Phone in an independent bookstore is likely to receive an even chillier reception than Google Glass in a San Francisco punk bar.