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Installment plans: Now might be the best time to get an Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

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Amazon is offering its Kindle Fire HDX tablets at 9-month installment plans through the holidays. Is this the perfect time to get an Android tablet?

A key driver of e-commerce, Amazon has also placed itself in a leadership position in the Android ecosystem. Amazon holds the key to a lion’s share in the world’s content and merchandise — from e-books to movies to apps and physical goods — and the company’s success in tablets was accomplished thanks in part to Android. Amazon benefits from running its own ecosystem in its Kindle Fire line of devices, which run on Android underpinnings.

This holiday season, Amazon is going all out in promoting its latest Kindle Fire HDX line of devices. Retailing at $229 for the 7-inch version and $379 for the 8.9-inch variant, these two tablets are not exactly expensive, and they do offer advantages over the average Android tablet, such as excellent audio with Dolby Digital Plus, as well as crisp high-resolution displays. Amazon’s installment plans, however, make the Kindle Fire HDX even more accessible. Buyers will only need to pay 25 percent of the price upfront, and can subsequently pay for the remaining three payments in three-month increments.

Even better, Amazon does not even charge interest for its installment deal.

So for the 7-inch variant, it’s four payments of $57.25 each. For the 8.9-inch variant, $94.75 each installment. Users do have the option to pay up early, but because there’s no interest, there’s really no incentive to do so. There is little, in terms of conditions, although Amazon says it can brick a device if the users misses a payment. According to the terms, Amazon can “deregister your Kindle Fire HDX device, which will block your ability to access Amazon content from your Kindle Fire HDX device.”

Amazon launched its Kindle Fire HDX line of tablets just this Fall, meant as a direct competitor to the Apple iPad line and Google Nexus tablets. Early reviews indicate that the Kindle Fire HDX may not yet compete on the same level yet, although the HDX is certainly an improvement over the older Kindle Fire HD line. For instance, there’s the “Mayday” button that can be used to call up tech support right from the tablet.

Looking beyond installment plans and easier access, however, Amazon’s marketing move might mean a few things. For one, Amazon might be getting more aggressive in marketing its tablets because of pressure to sell more content, or worry over its competitiveness compared to rival offerings from Apple and Google. Recall that Amazon actually offered the Kindle Fire HDX at 30-day trial prior to this installment offer.

Amazon, after all, is said to be “all sales, but no profit.” Analysts even say this business model might be good for its stock price in the short term, but might be problematic in the long run. Still, the Kindle Fire line dominates in terms of market share in the US, and Amazon’s installment plans might help the platform further cement its lead.

Are you planning to get a new tablet this Christmas for yourself or as a gift to loved ones? Is Amazon’s installment plan the right tablet deal for you?