Amazon has already admitted that it priced its Fire Phone much higher than consumers anticipated, and now it’s making a significant adjustment to the device’s price tag: A fully unlocked Fire Phone now retails for $199.00, instead of $449.00. The GSM device is still U.S.-only, which means it’ll work with AT&T and T-Mobile, though not Verizon and Sprint.
The $250 price drop puts the Fire Phone into a price range that might be more in line with what consumers were expecting to pay – Amazon’s decision to release a full-priced device, especially when paired with some of its less-than-stellar specs and odd 3D head tracking visual effects, clearly didn’t do a great job of attracting buyers.
This is actually the second fire sale for the fire phone, after Amazon reduced the price of the on-contract, AT&T exclusive version to just $0.99 with a two-year agreement. Originally, the retail cost was $199 on a contract, which is ironically now the price for a fully free and clear contract-free piece of hardware, just about four months into its lifetime.
No matter how you look at it, this is a sure sign that the Fire phone flopped in a very big way for Amazon. The high price tag at launch likely reflects Amazon trying to recoup the huge amount of R&D spend it put into developing the phone’s glasses-free 3D interface effects, but the fact is that what customers expected from an Amazon device was something cheap and basic, much like its Kindle Fire line of tablets.
Even at $199, reviewers found a lot of basic problems with the device that might make other options, like the Moto G or even some of last year’s flagship hardware discounted a better option, but it will be interesting to see if this helps Amazon move some inventory during the holidays.