In news that will probably surprise no one, Amazon announced today that the Fire will be available for 99 cents on AT&T, where it’s been exclusively available since June.
After the scathing reviews and a lack of excitement from users, it was obvious that Amazon would eventually have to take the Fire’s phone down a notch. It’s the timing of the move that can raise eyebrows. Just like another major flop that AT&T carried exclusively, the Facebook-endorsed HTC First, Amazon had to cut down the price of the much ballyhooed Fire phone very quickly, a sure sign that sales have been abysmal.
A report from last month suggested that Amazon and AT&T managed to move less than 40,000 units of the Fire, a major anti-performance for a phone that’s pushed by the word’s top retailer.
My colleague Simon Hill was very pessimistic about the chances of the Fire phone, citing the high price, lack of a strong ecosystem, and lackluster Amazon apps as reasons for his outlook. The market has proven Simon right, when the Fire phone was $200 on contract or $600 downright. But now that you can have it for a dollar on contract or $449 unlocked, is the Fire a better deal?
If you read tech blogs, you're probably better off with something else
I’ll venture to say that, as a person who reads Android blogs, you’re probably better off with something else. Sure, a free-on-contract Fire could be good for a first time user or for a non-technical one, but if you’re even remotely interested in using Android as it was meant to, there are better options out there. That’s true even when you consider the free year of Prime subscription that’s bundled with the Fire.
Amazon isn’t giving up on the Fire phone project. The device will begin selling in the UK in the close future. And Jeff Bezos’ company is known for doggedly following its long-term goals without worrying about temporary setbacks. The Fire phone concept may live on, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation will be radically different.
If you’re interested in buying the Amazon Fire, you can check it out on AT&T’s page here, though the price change hasn’t been operated yet.