Pricing error at checkout 6! There’s no way the Fire Phone should cost this much

pricing error checkout 6 theres way fire phone cost much amazon 3d

If Amazon had a brick and mortar store, I’d assume there had been a pricing error when I reached the checkout with a Fire Phone in my hand. What’s that? $200 with a two-year contract? No, there has to be a mistake. It says Amazon on the box, not Apple, and it’s prime reason for being is to make me spend money in the store. What happened to drawing me in with cheap hardware?

The Fire Phone’s price is so unexpected, you have to assume Amazon has been perusing the self-help books on optimism found on its virtual shelves. It simply isn’t a high-end brand. It’s not Apple, Samsung, or Sony, and it’s doubtful many image-conscious smartphone buyers picture themselves pulling the device from the pocket of their G-Stars. Nondescript devices are fine when they’re cheap, but the Fire Phone is aimed at the big-leagues.

What’s with the delusions of grandeur? It’s possible Amazon has been listening to the marketers. For several years, Amazon has topped global brand perception charts, beating names including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nokia, and Microsoft. “What the hell,” an Amazon marketer may have said, “People love us, so let’s put out a premium smartphone to make some more cash.”

Don’t listen to the marketing department, Amazon

It’s a solid idea, except what the man in the turtleneck shirt and oversized spectacles didn’t remember, is that Amazon’s excellent brand perception is based on perceived value over price paid. In other words, we think Amazon sells us quality goods at a very competitive price. The Kindle Fire tablet is proof of this. It’s cheap, and it works well. The Fire Phone isn’t cheap at all, and doesn’t even have the good grace to come with top-end specs to justify the high price.

The 3D nonsense is a feature nobody asked for, and the rest of the specs don’t stand up to the Galaxy S5,

People whinge all the time about the iPhone 5S costing too much, not having a large, high enough resolution screen, and about Apple supposedly fleecing its customers. If that’s you, then you need to direct the same degree of outrage at Amazon’s effort. Apple gets away with it because nobody expects it to be cheap, or offer the very best specs, but in the desirability stakes, it’s up there with Emma Watson in a backless evening gown, hence many of us are willing to pay up. Amazon’s dreaming if it thinks it has the same pull.

A 2011 article in Ad Age quoted the director of brand specialists Millward Brown, who said many of the companies featured in the top ten could “afford to raise their prices,” because the gap between value and price was so huge. There’s evidence Amazon has been listening too, having already slapped an extra $20 on Amazon Prime. Amazon sees it as confidence, but history may show it to be arrogance.

Where’s the value?

Despite the increase, Amazon Prime is still good value. The Fire Phone, on paper, isn’t. The 3D nonsense is a feature nobody asked for, and the rest of the specs don’t stand up to the Galaxy S5, or any other true high-end Android phone. The screen rivals the cheaper Moto X, which benefits from less gimmicky and more useful voice control features. Those invested in the smartphone spec war will almost certainly pass, then, as will anyone wanting the sexiness of an Apple product.

Android fans won’t want the Fire Phone either, because it can’t run the Google Play Store, and doesn’t come with Google’s own apps installed. So who will buy it? Amazon fanboys, who will use it when wearing their homemade Amazon polo shirt, while they stack cardboard boxes in a mock-up of an Amazon warehouse.

You’re just not cool enough to pull this off, Amazon

High-end smartphones are supposed to be really cool. The One M8, the Xperia Z2, and the iPhone 5S are all properly desirable, and come with a recognized brand name attached. After spending that amount of money, most people want their friends to know and be slightly envious. The Fire Phone is a bit dreary to look at, has a gimmicky headline feature, and is ultimately a cynical new way to spend more money with Amazon. It’s a compromise, and owners must put up with it while suffering the ignominy of advertising how much they love an essentially faceless retailer.

Amazon’s basic Fire Phone will cost you $1,640 over two years, provided you take AT&T’s cheapest option, or $1,540 if you take into account the year of free Prime membership. A Moto X or a Nexus 5 costs nothing on a contract, or around $350 without one. The Amazon website is free to use, and there’s an app for your phone too. If that’s not enough, a Kindle Fire HDX is $230. There’s simply no good reason to buy the Fire Phone. Amazon’s obviously confident its brand is strong enough to catch roving eyes, but will yours, or anyone else’s, really ever wander in the Fire’s direction?

Product Review

Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite hides serious upgrades under a familiar cover

After three years, Amazon's most beloved ebook reader, the Kindle Paperwhite, got a refresh for 2018. And while it may look the same as its predecessor, a handful of new features make it a worthwhile upgrade.
Deals

The LG V30+ gets a huge price cut on Amazon, today only

Though Amazon early Black Friday deals began at the start of November, the discounts are only just now starting to get good. Today only, Amazon is offering a whopping 40 percent off the unlocked LG V30+.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Deals

These 30 Amazon Coupons can help you save on the things you need

Did you know there are thousands of Amazon Coupons and promo codes that you can take advantage of? We found coupons for everything from tech to everyday products. Find out what savings you've been missing out on.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."
Mobile

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Mobile

The world’s first smartglasses showrooms open in Brooklyn and Toronto

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in October, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto.
Deals

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.
Mobile

Master your new Nokia 7.1 with our favorite tips and tricks

At $350, the Nokia 7.1 is a nearly perfect budget phone. It has a gorgeous body, good hardware, and a capable camera. Recently purchased the Nokia 7.1? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started with your new phone.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 could nix the notch in favor of a "punch hole" cutout

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Wearables

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.
Mobile

Android will finally get a faster sharing menu, but it might take a while

The Android sharing menu has gotten a whole lot better over the years, but it's also gotten slower. Thankfully, however, it seems as though Google is working on a better, faster sharing menu but, unfortunately, it may take a while.
Mobile

The best iPhone XR cases to keep your phone shiny and new

Apple's new iPhone range is the toast of 2018, with beautiful style and more power than you can shake a stick at. But beauty can often be fragile -- keep the damage to a minimum with the best iPhone XR cases.