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Amazon to Launch Cheap Tablet for Shopping and Streaming

Amazon is still playing in the hardware field with mixed success, and now comes word that it will launch a $50 tablet to be sold in time to make it a holiday gift. The Wall Street Journalsaid the tablet will feature a 6-inch screen and will have a mono speaker, not stereo.

The cheap price compared to other devices “would make it one of the least-expensive tablets on the market and half the price of the company’s current Fire HD 6-inch tablet,” the newspaper said.

Cnet pointed out that Amazon’s Fire HD 6 is currently the retailer’s least expensive tablet at $99 and features a six-inch screen – and users must tolerate screen-saver advertisements (the price is $114 without the ads).

“The Journal reported that it wasn’t clear whether the new tablet would have ads,” Cnet wrote.

Can Amazon profitably sell a tablet for $50 even with ads? The Wall Street Journal said Amazon outsourced much of the development of the new tablet to overseas firms, upsetting people at its own Lab126 unit.

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Slashgear said Amazon seemed unconcerned at selling hardware at a loss. “Making and selling devices isn’t really where the bulk of Amazon’s come from. It’s from content and retail. To put it another way, these devices, whether they be Kindle or Fire or Echo, are just windows into Amazon’s real business, and Amazon wants to make those windows as cheap as possible to lure in more customers.”

The tablet would potentially attract buyers looking for a simple – and effectively disposable – device for straightforward tasks like streaming video at home and shopping on Amazon.com, according to the Journal.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.