Amazon finally launched that $199 budget Fire Phone

20140718-AMAZON-PHONE-046edit[1]Did you hear the great news?Amazon knocked the price down on the Fire Phone today. Originally launched in June with a $649 price tag, Amazon dropped the price by a couple hundred dollars in September (2 months after it shipped), and today they dropped the price again, to $199 for the unlocked phone with no contract.

In short, the Fire Phone is now the budget smartphone which Amazon should have launched all along, it just took Amazon 5 months to figure out that no one wanted a premium priced Amazon-branded smartphone (to be fair, Amazon came to that conclusion after only 4 months).

So are you going to get one?

I plan to. This wasn't a good value as a $649 smartphone or even a $449 smartphone, but as a $199 unlocked device it is one hell of a media device.

Since it can be used sans contract, the unlocked Fire Phone is essentially a 4.7" Fire PDA/tablet that comes with some impressive camera abilities. It runs Amazon's Fire OS in a quad-core 2.2GHz SnapDragon CPU with  2GB RAM, 32GB of storage, a 13MP rear-facing camera, 4 face tracking cameras, and a 5th front-facing camera.

That's a great price for $199, but what's even better is that it comes bundled with a year of Prime. And since that gets tacked on the end of my existing Prime membership, that effectively brings the price down to $99.

Oh, yeah, you can bet I'm going to buy one. What about you?

It's a shame Amazon didn't go for this pricing strategy in the first place; they would have sold a lot of phones had they decided to stick with the tried and true model of cheap but decent hardware. That worked with ereaders, it worked with Fire tablets, and I think it would have worked with the Fire Phone as well.

Oh well. Better luck next time.

About Nate Hoffelder (11578 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

10 Comments on Amazon finally launched that $199 budget Fire Phone

  1. If the price stays around a couple of days, yes I will buy one. I already have Prime and I will re-up when the time arrives; this deal delays that $99 hit for another year. For me, it’s absolutely a no-brainer to buy a new unlocked smartphone, effectively for $100.

  2. …aaaand I still don’t want one. 😉

  3. I noticed this, called up my parents and asked them if they wanted them also. For two hundred dollars for the phone and a year of prime, no brainer.

    Three new phones will be arriving on Saturday. I agree Nate, if this was the deal when the phone was first announced I would have bought them. I refuse to pay for an AT&T contract and this unlocked phone will work with T-mobile.

    I could buy one new high end smart phone for the cost of getting these three fire phones.

  4. I have had a used Fire Phone for about three months now. I like it. Turn off the dynamic perspective and it is a pretty good smartphone with an excellent camera. At $199 plus prime I couldn’t resist ordering a new one. Being “unlocked” is also a key selling point.

  5. Anyone know how much they cost to produce?

  6. I wonder how many hard-core Amazon fans that got it for the original price are pissed off at the moment.

  7. I bought one. Wasn’t planning to. I don’t care that much about phones and was not interested at all at the price point it originally sold at. However, it is worth the $100 to get a decent quality phone that will integrate seamlessly with my Amazon content. It is actually way more hardware than I will ever need, but all I ever wanted it to do was to integrate with Amazon content and to just work reliably as a phone without a contract.

  8. Amazon has extended the sale through 12/3. I finally decided to hit the “Buy” button today and I got an expected delivery date of 12/17 – 12/26. Considering that’s Prime 2-day delivery, it’s quite a bit further out than I expected.

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