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.