Amazon Fire Phone flames out, plummets to under a buck on contract

Amazon Fire Phone
Well, that didn't take long...

With one of the quickest price reductions in tech history, Amazon's debut smartphone has gone from meteoric rise to a spectacular flameout back on Earth, where the handset can now be found for less than a US dollar.

Amazon today announced that US customers can now purchase a Amazon Fire Phone with 32GB onboard storage for only 99 cents (about UK£0.61, AU$1.07) with a two-year agreement - a steep drop from the initial asking price of $199.99 (about UK£124, AU$215) only two months ago.

The base model Fire Phone, also available in the US without service agreement for $449 (about UK£279, AU$484), remains locked in an exclusive agreement with AT&T, but still includes a full year of Amazon Prime benefits, a $99 (UK£79, about AU$107) value.

Amazon also announced Fire Phone is finally heading abroad, where it will be available for £0 on O2 Refresh (with a £33 tariff) in the UK, or the equivalent of €1 in Germany on T-Mobile contract with a tariff as low as €35.95 per month.

Dousing the Fire

Amazon's press releases offer no real clues to the reasons behind the steep drop in price so soon after launching Fire Phone, instead reminding the world what an incredible value the device is, especially now that it's practically free.

The 64GB model also received a price cut Monday, dropping from $299.99 (about UK£186, AU$323) on contract to only $99.99 (about UK£62, AU$108), although with the 32GB base model selling for a fraction of that price, we don't see too many takers lining up to spend a hundred bucks on the troubled handset.

The discount also applies for early upgraders taking advantage of AT&T Next, where the 32GB model drops from $0 down and $27.09 per month for 24 months to only $18.75 per month, effectively spreading the contract-free price over the next two years.

Although Fire Phone has been almost universally panned by critics, Amazon's US press release serves up six quotes' worth of gushing praise for the smartphone, all apparently written by a few of the customers who actually paid for the device.