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Amazon Fire Phone and Impulse Buying

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A few weeks back, Amazon released its Fire Phone, their first cell phone.

The most notable feature on the phone is called the Firefly button. I was sad to learn that it wasn't a button that launches the most excellent television show. Instead it performs the much less interesting function:

"Quickly identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products—simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover useful information and take action in seconds."

I didn't give that a second thought until I read this New York Times article: It's Time to Opt Out of Impulse Buying.

The article is well worth the read. It details how many of the reviews of the phone take impulse buying to a whole new level. Then it smacks us across the face right where we need it. It reminds us that in the Great Recession we learned not to buy things we don't need and how "stuff" doesn't make us happy. It notes that in April our credit card use surged faster than it had in the last 13 years.

The article's conclusion is one that I feel like I've said a hundred times:

So it’s on us to push back against the things that encourage us to buy more instead of saving more. It’s on us to opt out of things that make it so tempting to do things in the short term (credit card debt) that can cost us in the long term (retirement)."

Maybe the Amazon phone is interesting to some people. However at $649 for it off-contract, I don't see the value. I still recommend a Nexus 5 ($349-$399) on Straight Talk ($45/mo.) as the best cell phone and plan combination available. It may continue to be my top recommendation until someone grafts the good kind of Firefly button to a cell-phone.

Posted on July 8, 2014.

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5 Responses to “Amazon Fire Phone and Impulse Buying”

  1. Money Beagle says:

    The fact that you’re running on the Amazon version of Android, where a lot of apps aren’t available and everything will direct you to Amazon first and foremost, makes it a ‘no thanks’ for me. It’s basically like paying to watch a commercial.

  2. Evan says:

    I had the same thoughts as you did! I just don’t get it. The spent how much money to create a new android skin with an extra button? It feels like the facebook phone which didn’t make any sense either…

    • Lazy Man says:

      In fairness, I’m just agreeing with many experts thoughts that struck a chord with me. I wish I could take credit for the reaction.

      I think this more about hardware than software. After all, they have an Android skin for their tablet.

      On a personal level, I NEED to mention WebOS, which could do all this… and it was better suited for ANY resolution. They didn’t have the money for marketing or hardware, but their product in 2009 is still superior in some ways to whats available in 2014 (hint: no gesture area).

      • Evan says:

        I am not sure it is hardware? Everything in that quote is just software…sort of a less exciting google now

        • Lazy Man says:

          I thought I read about it having some hardware that scanned around (like multiple cameras). However, that might have been rumors before launch.

          I think Google Now isn’t very exciting… hard to imagine something less exciting ;-).

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