Right before Apple announces the iPhone 6 on Tuesday, Amazon is dropping the price of its Fire smartphone from $200 to 99 cents with a two-year AT&T contract. If you needed any more proof that this phone was an unmitigated disaster, this is it.
Amazon never releases sales numbers for any of its hardware, but The Guardian estimated that the device has sold an embarrassing 35,000 units since it was launched in late July. And while, there's no doubt that while Amazon has loads of cash to burn, no one is sure if a drastic price drop is enough to save it.
"If history is any indication, this doesn't usually work," Wayne Lam, a senior analyst with IHS Technology, told the Times. He noted that the so-called Facebook phone quickly dropped to 99 cents last year but never gained a foothold in the market.
It's not hard to figure out why the Fire phone flopped. After months of speculation about a cheap, low-cost device that would radically shake up the wireless industry by maybe offering free or cheap data, Amazon released a phone that was not only as expensive as the iPhone but was also exclusive to AT&T.
The company did try to sweeten the deal by offering a $99 Amazon Prime membership free with the phone, unlimited cloud photo storage, and gimmicks like a 3D display. Nope, said customers. Not enough.
Would you buy a 99 cent Fire phone? [The New York Times]