Amazon has upped its mobile game, offering O2 contracts when you buy selected handsets, including its own Fire phone.
If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a contract-subsidised Amazon Fire smartphone (our psychic powers tell us you haven’t), you’ll be pleased to hear that you can now get one, contract and all, directly through the main Amazon site – but you’ll have to be prepared to sign up with O2 as they’re the only mobile service provider offering the device.
However, it’s not just the Fire which is getting the O2/Amazon treatment. Amazon is now offering tariffs on a variety of popular smartphones when you buy them through the website.
That means that phones such as the HTC One M8, Huawei Ascend P7 and Nokia Lumia 735 can now be purchased on zero up-front contracts starting at £28 per month. Alternatively, you can still just spunk up a big wad of cash for a contract-free handset.
It’s a bold move which is likely to benefit both parties. Quite how things turn out for Amazon’s foray into making phones remains to be seen, but the retailer becoming a one-stop-shop for all things smartphone is a move which shouldn’t hurt its bottom line, and one which is likely to leave smaller online vendors shifting uncomfortably in their seats.
The thing that disappointed us most with Amazon’s maiden smartphone effort is that the affordable quality route, which worked wonders with the likes of the Kindle Fire HD, wasn’t taken. The retailer instead preferred to enter into a regular carrier agreement to push the new device out to customers. It’s a move which hasn’t looked too promising so far, and rumours of a stock surplus have recently begun to circulate.
In the deal struck between Amazon and O2, the Fire smartphone will remain an exclusive for that network, but Amazon will still retain control over how the devices are sold. Considering about 17 people will probably buy the phone, it’s not really an issue.