Amazon tablets are going the way of the e-reader.
One of the new tablets from the e-commerce giant is a 7-inch tablet — simply called the Fire tablet — that costs $50. That's right: for a cool Ulysses, a new Amazon Fire tablet can be yours.
In fact, Amazon is so convinced of this inexpensive Fire tablet's role as a utility that it's offering it in a six-pack. Buy five, and you'll get the sixth tablet free. Who's the cool dude rolling up to the party with a six-pack of tablets, or the person playing Santa Claus at the next holiday gathering? You with the $50 tablet, that's who.
Who's the cool dude with a six-pack of tablets?
In all seriousness, it’s not entirely clear why Amazon thinks a six pack of tablets is a good idea — though it might make sense for the education market.
This is not a top-of-the-line tablet. It's not one of the new Fire HD tablets, and it's definitely not the Kindle Fire HDX. The 7-inch Kindle Fire has a 1024 x 600 resolution display (although, with IPS), a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, 8 gigabytes of internal storage, one gigabyte of RAM, and your basic front- and rear-facing cameras. It runs on the latest version of Fire OS and claims seven hours of battery life with average use.
But Amazon does claim this little tablet is more durable than iPad Air, and has two times more processing power than Samsung's competing Tab 3 Lite.
The company is also shipping a new version of the Fire Kids Edition tablet, a follow-up to last year's dedicated tablet for kids. This tab costs $100, down from the previous model's $149 price tag. It ships with a protective bumper case and a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which basically lets your kids consume the same age-appropriate videos and books over and over again. If you’re not especially concerned about screen time for you child, it might be something you’re interested in. And if you are concerned, Amazon’s parental controls let you set limits on when it will work and what your kids can do with it.
Amazon's moves come as some other tablet makers are clearly going in a different direction. Amazon has been in the low-cost tablet game for awhile now — when it launched the first Kindle Fire tablet in 2011 it was one of the first high-quality $199 tablets on the market. But $50 sets a new bar for tablets as commodities, at least when they're made by well-known brands such as Amazon.
It's not entirely surprising when you consider that Amazon's Kindle e-readers have also gotten pretty affordable, because at the end of the day, what Amazon really wants you to do is buy the content it sells. It worked for the Kindle e-reader, now Amazon is going all in on the idea that it can work for the tablet, too.