The tablet market is in a prolonged slump, but don’t tell that to Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). The company introduced new and updated models across its Fire tablet line-up, including a price drop on a next generation Fire HD 8, and a new Fire 7 that’s thinner, lighter and more capable.
AMZN is also expanding its Kids Edition offerings and is pushing Alexa on the Fire tablets to the U.K., as well as to older versions of its budget tablets.
New Fire 7, Cheaper Fire HD 8
Yesterday, Amazon announced a series of updates to its affordable Fire tablet lineup. At the top of that list were a new Fire 7 and a price cut to the latest Fire HD 8.
Amazon’s cheapest tablet remains priced at $49.99, but AMZN says the new Fire 7 is thinner and lighter than before, its IPS display is improved with higher contrast and sharper text, Wi-Fi performance is improved and it gains an extra hour of battery life — now at 8 hours on a charge.
The new Fire HD 8 gets a performance boost, 12-hour battery life, 16GB of storage and a $10 price cut, to $79.99.
Both of the new Amazon tablets are available in a variety of new colors as well.
Kids Edition Tablets
AMZN is also seeing significant uptake on its Kids Edition tablets. These are wrapped in a durable and easy to grip protective case. They feature a two-year free replacement with no questions asked, and include one year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited kids content. With the price, no-questions-asked replacement policy and free content, many parents felt Amazon offered the best tablet for kids.
So it was no surprise that yesterday’s announcement included a new Fire 7 Kids Edition and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition.
In addition, AMZN extended its family-friendly bulk pricing across the Fire tablet lineup. Customers who buy any three of these new Amazon tablets receive a 20% price discount.
Amazon has been in the news a lot recently over its ever-expanding lineup of Echo smart speakers. That’s getting Alexa — the company’s virtual assistant — into many homes. However, Amazon wants to increase Alexa’s deployment. The more people who use Alexa, the “smarter” it gets, while also providing more opportunities for AMZN to sell products through Alexa’s ordering capabilities.
Yesterday’s announcement included the news that Amazon is rolling out Alexa on Fire tablets to the U.K., which has been left behind since the U.S. market got the update last fall.
Alexa also will be hitting vintage 2015 Fire tablets.
Amazon Hits Hard While iPad Flounders
Tablet sales have been in a steady decline, and no one has felt that effect more than Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Its iPad sales were down 13% last quarter, marking 13 straight quarters of declines. Looking more broadly, the overall worldwide tablet market has been shrinking for 10 straight quarters.
Meanwhile, AMZN told CNET that its tablets sales were up by double digits for 2016.
Apple has been fighting back with the “prosumer-” and enterprise-friendly iPad Pro line, and most recently, the 2017 iPad, which is the lowest full-sized iPad to date. But at $329, and thicker than the model it replaced (a first for Apple and its obsession with getting thinner), it seems likely that many families will continue flocking to Amazon. The new Fire 7 is ridiculously cheap in comparison and unlike the new iPad, the new Amazon tablets actually got thinner and lighter this time around.
Expect Amazon to continue to buck the downward tablet sales trend. You also can expect Alexa, led by family-friendly offerings like the new Fire 7, to continue increasing its presence in homes.
The new Amazon tablets are available for pre-order now and begin shipping June 7.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.