Amazon this morning announced a new lineup of Fire tablets—include an entry-level version that costs just $50—plus new Fire TV models aimed at gamers and 4K video. And while it did so without a splashy media event like Apple, these products collectively represent its biggest-ever push into a consumer electronics market that is dominated by the Cupertino giant.
That said, Amazon’s strategy is clearly different from Apple’s. That is, it is pushing value, not luxury, and the specs you see here, on the tablets in particular, won’t be particularly interesting to tech enthusiasts or the fashion-conscious.
But there is a lot going on here, so let’s dive right in. Here is what Amazon announced this morning.
Fire tablet for $50
Confirming recent rumors, Amazon has announced an entry-level Fire tablet that costs just $50. It features a 7-inch IPS display, which Amazon describes as “the best display on any tablet under $50” (I assume that is a fairly low bar), a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, up to 128GB of expandable storage, exclusive Amazon features and services, and Fire OS 5 “Bellini.” Amazon says that Fire is almost twice as durable than the latest generation iPad Air, which is like comparing a brick to a balloon, but whatever.
Amazon Fire is available for preorder now and will start shipping September 30. You can buy them a “six pack” for the price of five, or just $250. Which, yes, is less than the price of any one iPad.
Fire Kids Edition
This updated version of the Fire Kids Edition is less expensive ($100 vs. $150) and features an updated kid-proof case, one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, 20,000 hand-curated and age-appropriate web sites and YouTube videos, and a two-year worry-free guarantee.
Fire Kids Edition is available for preorder today and will start shipping September 30.
Amazon’s Fire HD lineup has been updated for the holidays with new 8-inch and 10-inch models, a new thin and light industrial design, and low, low pricing: The Fire HD 8 starts at just $150, while the Fire HD 10 starts at $230.
Both devices feature 16:10 widescreen displays with 1280 x 800 resolution, quad-core processors up to 1.5 GHz, front- and rear-facing cameras, microSD expansion to 128 GB, exclusive Amazon features and services, and Fire OS 5 “Bellini.” (And Amazon makes the same durability claims here as it does with the new Fire, above.)
Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 are available for preorder today and will start shipping September 30.
Amazon’s living room set-top box—already the top-performer in a market that includes Roku 3 and Apple TV—has been updated with a claimed 75 percent performance boost. It supports 4K Ultra HD video, 802.11ac MIMO wireless, microSD expansion to 128 GB (combined with 8 GB of internal storage), and Dolby Audio.
The new Fire TV is available for preorder now and will ship October 5.
Fire TV Gaming Edition
Fire TV Gaming Edition combines the new Fire TV with an all-new Fire TV gaming controller (which is not yet available separately) and a 32 GB microSD card for just $140.
The new Fire TV Gaming Edition is available for preorder now and will ship October 5.
Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote
The Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote costs just $50. It’s not clear if this is in fact “new” or just a bundle of the existing Fire TV Stick with the Voice Remote (the original version shipped with a lower-end non-voice compatible remote, and is still available for just $40).
The new Fire TV is available for preorder now and will ship October 22.