Peter Kafka

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Amazon Really, Really Wants to Sell More Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

amazon kindle fire installment planAmazon seems to be selling a lot of its newest Kindle Fire tablets.* But it would like to sell many more

So here’s Jeff Bezos’s newest pitch: Buy a Kindle Fire HDX tablet today, and we’ll give you nine months to finish paying for it.

Amazon started pushing its installment plan program this weekend, by splashing the offer on its home page.

The basics: It is letting customers pay for its $229 Kindle Fire HDX seven-inch tablet, or its $379 8.9-inch version, in four-part installment plans. Customers shell out 25 percent of the purchase price — plus tax and shipping charges — when they buy the gadget, and then spread out the remaining three payments in 90-day increments.

There aren’t a lot of catches with the offer — for instance, Amazon isn’t adding any interest charges to its installment plan.

But there is one interesting twist spelled out in the relatively fine print: If you don’t cough up the rest of the money, Amazon may semi-brick your tablet: “Our remedies will include the right to deregister your Kindle Fire HDX device, which will block your ability to access Amazon content from your Kindle Fire HDX device.”

Amazon rolled out its HDX line earlier this fall. The tablets feature extras like a “Mayday” button that connects users with live support staff, and the ability to download some of the movies and TV shows offered on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video streaming service. The gadgets are supposed to compete with Google’s top-end Nexus tablets and Apple’s iPads, though Walt Mossberg says they’re not there yet.

And now, an excellent movie about installment plans:

* Though, of course, we have no idea what “a lot” means.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus