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I'm going to plagiarize myself a little bit this morning, because sometimes my hilarity goes unheralded...
Not everything Amazon touches turns to gold -- or fire. The company's first smartphone, for example, didn't exactly ignite sales. Instead, it sort of flamed out. Went up in a puff of smoke, you might say. Left some buyers feeling burned. Thank you, thank you, I'm here at the Low-Hanging Fruit Festival all week. (What about "Fire sale"? I'm not picking fruit off the ground, people.)
Once you've stitched your sides back together, check this out: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Yugster has the Amazon Fire Phone for $149.97, plus $5 for shipping. It's new, not refurbished, and it satisfies my single most important criteria when buying any new phone.
It's unlocked and contract-free.
That means you can take the Fire Phone to any GSM carrier (AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Rok Mobile, Ting and so on) and choose the best no-contract plan for your needs (and budget).
Of course, Amazon throws a huge value-add into the mix: a full year of Amazon Prime, which is worth $99. Assuming you were planning to get Prime anyway (or want to extend your existing subscription, which I believe is an option), the net cost of the phone is about $50.
OK, but is the Fire any good? Oh, right, that. Reviews have been pretty mixed across the board ( Amazon's product page, you'll see that well over 8,500 (!) buyers collectively rated it 4 stars out of 5 -- which speaks volumes.), though if you check
And lest we forget, the Fire Phone offers some fairly unusual features, including the awesome Mayday live support, optical image stabilization in the camera and the option to download (for offline viewing) some Prime movies and TV shows. ("The Good Wife" to go, anyone?)
I'm not saying this is the right phone for everyone, merely that at $150 it's a pretty amazing deal. My guess is there's a newer, better Fire Phone coming soon, but that's the case with pretty much every smartphone, right?
Bonus deal: Calling all bikers! (Sorry, cyclists.) If you've ever wished for an effective way to mount your smartphone to your handlebars -- you know, for navigation, music, updating Facebook, that sort of thing -- today is your lucky day: Liger Electronics has the Liger Universal SuperGrip smartphone mount for $12.95 when you apply coupon code MFL4C8RZ at checkout. Regular price: $19.95. Shipping is free for Amazon Prime customers.
The mount is large enough to hold most smartphone models (up to 3.5 inches wide), and over a dozen buyers rated it 4.9 stars.