Rumored almost since the debut of the original Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon has taken the wraps off its very first smartphone - the Fire Phone.

The 4.7-inch handset is Jeff Bezos and Co.'s attempt to put its e-tail services into consumers pockets, but the phone has a number of tech tricks up its sleeves that may make it a serious smartphone contender.

Or, they could end up a bunch of gimmicks people scurry into AT&T stores to play with and slink away without actually buying a device.

Before the Amazon phone hits stores July 25, we've rounded up the eight things you'll want to know first about the Amazon phone.

1. Price

Let's get the bad news out of the way right up front: Despite endless rumors that Amazon would subsidize some or all of the hardware or data costs for members of its annual Prime service, The Fire Phone starts at $199 (about £117, AU$213) for 32GB - and that price requires a two-year agreement with exclusive carrier AT&T.

AT&T Next customers in the US can also from two plans with no annual contract, no activation fee and no down payment starting at $27.09 per month with a 24-month installment agreement and the option to upgrade (with qualified trade-in) after 18 monthly payments.

Amazon Fire Phone ordering
The span of the Fire Phone's price

While 32GB is a nice doubling of storage capacity compared to something like the base model iPhone 5S with 16GB, the news gets worse for shoppers hoping to avoid contracts entirely, which will require shelling out $649 (about £382, AU$691) up front.

The 64GB version runs $299.99 (about £176, AU$320) on contract and $749.99 (about £441, AU$798) off.

On the plus side, for a limited time each Fire comes with a full year of Amazon Prime, which normally costs $99 (£79, AU$105) per year. And yes, that includes current members, who will get an additional year tacked on for good measure.

Last but not least, Fire also includes 1,000 Amazon Coins for a limited time, which equates to $10 (about £5, AU$10.64worth of apps, games or in-app purchases from the Amazon Appstore.

2. Release date

For US customers, the Fire Phone is available to pre-order starting today from Amazon's website, but the device won't land in the hands of early adopters until Friday, July 25.

Although there's no word yet on when Fire will be available internationally, Amazon confirmed the handset is ready for international roaming; new apps or music can be purchased abroad with a US credit card, although movies and TV shows can't be steamed outside of the 50 states.

3. Firefly

Fire comes with a dedicated Firefly button on the left-hand side, which can be pressed whenever the user wants to identify something, such as a song playing on the radio, a movie or TV show currently being watched or even one of more than 70 million products sold by Amazon, including household items and packaged media such as video games, DVDs and CDs.

But Firefly is more than just a shopaholic's best friend: The technology can also be used to scan web or email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes and more, and Firefly enabled apps such as iHeartRadio or StubHub bring the fun to third-party content as well.

Amazon Fire Phone Firefly
Fly to me, Fire Phone

Amazon touts Firefly's ability to recognize 245,000 movies and TV episodes plus 160 live television channels, as well as 35 million songs from the Amazon Music catalog; the company's IMDb service will also power X-Ray, which is capable of providing second screen information on actors, synopsis and more.

4. Dynamic Perspective

Remember all those rumors that Amazon was working on a smartphone capable of displaying glasses-free 3D? Well, Fire Phone sort-of has that with "a custom-designed sensor system" called Dynamic Perspective, which responds to how the user holds, views or moves in relation to the device.

In addition to offering a more immersive experience for apps and games, Dynamic Perspective offers a variety of one-handed shortcuts - no more tapping around with mere mortal fingers because menus and shortcuts can be called up without touching the screen.

Amazon Fire Phone Dynamic Perspective

For example, a tilt of the device swipes out left or right panels for navigating menus, while a swivel action jumps directly to notifications. Auto-scroll makes it easy to keep reading endlessly, and peek declutters the screen and enables quick actions when needed.