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Playing with Fire? Amazon Lobs $50 Tablet Into New Gadgets Battle

Sept. 17, 2015
Amazon aims to undercut Apple's new family of iPads with what CEO Jeff Bezos calls 'another step in our mission to deliver premium products at non-premium prices.'

Amazon unveiled a $50 tablet computer Thursday amid a slew of other electronic gadgets aimed at clicking with consumers in the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The 7-inch Fire tablet is part of a new family of tablets being launched by the online giant, along with upgraded Fire TV streaming media devices and a game controller box. Amazon has appeared to stop sales of its Fire Phone and is making an aggressive push at the low end of the electronics market as rival Apple is launching its high-end tablets and phones.

“Today, we’re taking another step in our mission to deliver premium products at non-premium prices,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in unveiling the new tablet. The low-cost tablet, which will operate on the newest version of the Fire OS operating system based on Android, “sets a new bar for what customers should expect from a low cost tablet.”

Amazon has built a reputation for selling at low profit margins to build customer loyalty, and getting consumers into its ecosystem for shopping, music, online video and other services.

The new budget tablet will be available starting September 30, with an option to buy a “six pack” for $250, with one free.

Amazon is also launching a new 8.1-inch Fire HD tablet at $149 and a 10-inch device at $229 – less than half the price of Apple’s latest comparably sized iPads.

“Fire HD combines an incredibly thin and light design with powerful performance to deliver the best entertainment experience available on a tablet,” Bezos said.

The company meanwhile cut the price of its upgraded Fire tablet for kids to $100 – it links to age-appropriate websites and YouTube videos – and unveiled an upgraded Fire TV media box for $100 and a new Fire TV Stick with voice remote for $50.

The devices, which compete with products from Apple, as well as Roku and Google, allow users to stream in high-definition 4K from Amazon as well as other online services such as Netflix, HBO and Showtime. A Fire TV gaming edition is also being launched for $140 with an option controller at $50.

“Since we launched Amazon Fire TV last year, gaming has been a customer-favorite,” Amazon vice president Peter Larsen said. “Today, we’re excited to expand gaming on Fire TV by providing a new option – Fire TV Gaming Edition – for customers and families who are looking for affordable and high-quality gaming.”

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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