Amazon (AMZN) announced a flood of new gear today, highlighted by a new 7-inch Fire tablet priced at just under $50.
Amazon’s new product announcements include a 4K Fire TV, and a $50 Fire tablet aimed at undercutting Apple’s (AAPL) pricing on competing products in a big way.
The company also revealed several more tablets — all available as of Sept. 30 — along with a new version of its Fire TV Stick that now offers Alexa voice control. It also announced a Fire TV Gaming Edition at a discounted price.
In short, Amazon is coming after Apple with tablets that cost a fraction of the cheapest iPad, streamers that blow away the 1080p resolution of the Apple TV and a gaming bundle that’s priced $10 less than Apple’s new game friendly black box.
Amazon’s New Fire Tablet
How cheap can tablets get? Amazon has slashed tablet prices before, but the all-new Fire tablet sets a new low at under $50.
That’s right; the new tablet is priced at $49.99, which makes it less than the cheapest Kindle e-reader.
The specs aren’t going to blow anyone away, but a 1024 x 600 pixel 7-inch IPS display, quad-core 1.3 GHz CPU, 8GB storage (with microSD card expansion slot), 802.11n Wi-Fi and 7-hour battery life are pretty amazing for the $50 price tag Amazon is asking.
That’s a full-featured tablet for $20 less than Apple charges for a protective cover for the iPad Air.
In fact, Amazon will drop the price of the Fire tablet even more if you buy it in bulk (one for every room). That’s right; the company is offering a 6-pack for under $250.
So that’s six Fire tablets for less than buying just one of Apple’s cheapest tablet, the iPad Mini 2.
That’s a pretty appealing deal for families.
New Fire HD Tablets and Fire Kids Edition
The Fire Tablet is bound to get more people shopping Amazon, but the company isn’t just flogging ultra-cheap hardware, the Fire HD tablets cover the middle ground.
Both the 8-inch and 10.1-inch Fire HD run Amazon’s latest Fire OS (Bellini) and pack 1.5 GHz quad-core CPUs, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio, 8-hour battery life, dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 1280×800 displays.
Both are also just 0.3-inches thick.
The larger Fire HD starts at $229.99, while the 8-inch version slots in at just under $150. While the big Fire HD is offered in black or white, the 8-inch Fire HD can be had in black, magenta, blue or tangerine cladding.
They aren’t on par with the premium Kindle Fire HDX (which has disappeared from the product lineup), but fit firmly into the “good enough” category, especially at the current price points.
Amazon is also releasing a new version of its 7-inch Fire Kids Edition tablet, knocking $50 off last year’s model.
This a $99.99 tablet wrapped in a colorful and kid-friendly protective case, with one-year of free access to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited’s curated kid-friendly content and a two-year free replacement guarantee if the tablet gets broken.
Fire TV with 4K Streaming, Fire TV Stick With Voice Control
Amazon added voice control to its $49.99 Fire TV Stick, but the bigger story is the $99.99 Fire TV set-top streamer.
In addition to Alexa integration as part of the voice control functionality it shares with the Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV gets a serious upgrade in video resolution. It can now stream in 4K — four times the resolution of competing streamers like the Apple TV or Google (GOOG, GOOGL) Chromecast, which remain at 1080p.
Finding 4K content is still a bit tricky, although Amazon and Netflix (NFLX) are starting to ramp up their offerings, but AMZN says the Fire TV also uses a much more efficient new HVEC 1080p codec, meaning more households will be able to access Full HD streams with having to upgrade their broadband connection.
Amazon has also added a microSD card slot to the Fire TV, for cheap storage expansion.
The new Fire TV devices are available now for pre-order and will ship on Oct. 5.
Fire TV Gaming Edition
Apple received a lot of press over the new Apple TV’s ability to play games.
The Fire TV has always had this feature, and now Amazon is out to convince holiday shoppers to skip that Apple TV, despite the hype.
The $139.99 Fire TV Gaming Edition includes a Fire TV set-top box with 4K Ultra HD support, a free 32GB microSD card for additional storage, a console-style controller, two best-selling games and a current game library of 800 titles, all for $10 less than the base version of the new Apple TV.
It’s shaping up to be a battle of the video streamers/game consoles.
You can expect both Apple and Amazon to make every effort to impress parents who are looking at these devices to save money on hardware, accessories and games compared to traditional video game consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation. Black Friday sales at Amazon and Apple could be very interesting this year, as both the Apple TV and Fire TV have been featured in past deals.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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