Fire Phone on sale in the UK as Amazon sells O2 contracts
The Fire Phone is one of many phones now available with an O2 contract from Amazon.
Richard TrenholmFormer Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
The Amazon Fire Phone is now on sale in the UK, locked to O2. O2 is the only network offering contracts on Amazon, for the Fire Phone and a range of other smartphones.
O2 is the first network to offer phones and contracts from Amazon, including 3G and 4G contracts and pay-as-you-go and pay-monthly deals. Amazon started in 1994 -- yep, it's twenty years old -- and began making its own hardware in 2007 with the first Kindle e-book reader. That led to the line of Kindle Fire tablets in 2011, and the Kindle Fire Phone this year. The Fire Phone is a 4.7-inch Android smartphone, although its heavily-customised interface won't look that familiar if you've owned an Android device before.
The Fire Phone comes in 32GB or 64GB versions. You can buy the phone on its own for £400 or £480, but it's locked to O2 so you can't buy it and sign up with another network.
Alternatively you can sign up with an O2 deal that has no up-front cost for either model. Contracts start from £28 per month.
This is an interesting move for Amazon and O2: in the past few months the trend has been for networks to move away from having other outlets sell their phones in order to focus on selling phones and contracts themselves, whether online or through their own chains of shops. That trend led to the demise of high street retailer Phones 4U as the major networks pulled out, leaving the shop with nothing to sell and forced to fold.
But O2 has a history of taking a chance on doing things differently with quirkier phones and devices that other networks shy away from, and if it wants to sell the Fire Phone O2 clearly has to be involved with Amazon.