Amazon Slashes Price on Its Fire Phone, Hoping to Lure Users

Amazon slashes the price of an unlocked Fire phone.

— -- Call it a "Fire sale."

Three months after its debut, the Fire, which featured what Amazon called "breakthrough" technology, was being sold for 99 cents with a contract.

Amazon revealed in its quarterly earnings call last month that it took a charge of $170 million for "inventory evaluation and supplier commitment costs" for the Fire, which failed to create a spark in the smartphone market.

Critics have said the Fire is less a phone and more a "shopping machine" designed to capture more Amazon customers.

It's equipped with a feature that allows users to identify almost any product -- from a book to a game or a container of kosher salt. It then directs users to Amazon to make purchases. The phone also boasts a 3-D display ideal for gamers.

User reviews of the phone have been mixed, with customers writing on Amazon they were "extremely sad and dissatisfied" and "I wanted to love you" to "five stars."

Despite the Fire troubles, Amazon is enjoying tremendous success with its $39 Amazon Fire TV stick. The device, which allows users to stream media on their television and play games with a remote control, is on back order until January 15, according to Amazon's website.