On Wednesday, Amazon surprised consumers with an incredible deal: an unlocked Fire Phone for just a mere $199 (opens in new tab). Now customers can use the phone on any GSM network including AT&T, T-Mobile and other compatible wireless carriers. Previously, Amazon had the phone listed for $449.
Back in July, Amazon launched its highly-anticipated Fire Phone as an AT&T exclusive. The device cost consumers $199 with a two-year contract for the 32 GB version, and $299 with a contract for the 64 GB model. Six weeks later, the phone's price dipped down to $0.99 with the same two-year contract. The starting price without a contract was $650.
By October, the Fire Phone was deemed as a flop, as the company reported that it took a $170 million hit in the wallet thanks to the cost of building the phone. The company also revealed that it had over $83 million worth of phones collecting dust in the Amazon warehouse. The problem, it seemed, was that customers choked on the original high price, expecting something more akin to Kindle Fire prices.
Despite what many critics may have said over the last several months, the Fire Phone is great. The device is deeply rooted in Amazon, providing easy access to Kindle books, purchased music and other Amazon-based media. The phone is essentially a miniature Kindle that has a unique, face-tracking gimmick (that may annoy some customers).
That said, former iOS and Android customers may be turned off by the way the home screens are rendered, as well as the tilting mechanism for accessing those screens. Users also don't have access to Google Play, relying instead on Amazon's Appstore for installing Android-based apps.
As a recap of the hardware, the Fire Phone includes a 4.7-inch IPS screen with a 1280 x 720 resolution. Powering this screen is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, and the phone has 2 GB of RAM. There's also a 13 MP camera on the back, a 2.1 MP camera on the front, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, a handful of sensors, and a camera in each corner for tracking the user's face.
Will this new promotion reel in additional customers, or will the Fire Phone keep collecting dust? This deal doesn't seem to be related to Black Friday, but a move to push the phone off the shelf. The Fire Phone for $199 seems like a great deal, especially for customers subscribed to Prime. Order today, and Prime users can get this phone on Friday.