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Amazon Attempts to Spark a New Fire in Slate Tablets

by Eric Smith | May 18, 2017

In an attempt to jumpstart slowing growth of its ultra-low priced tablets, Amazon announced a relaunch of its two most popular tablets as well as an increased focus on kids’ tablets.

The Fire 7 will remain at the $49 price point and will get the following upgrades: A slimmer, lighter profile; an improved screen resolution with better contrast and sharpness; dual band Wi-Fi; an extra hour of battery life; and, it will come in four new colors. Meanwhile, the Fire HD 8 will get a lower base price of $79 with no discernible upgrades to the hardware. Both the Fire 7 and the Fire HD 8 come with Amazon’s digital assistant software, Alexa, which furthers Amazon's reach into the daily lives of consumers with engaging skills and direct access to the benefits of Amazon’s Prime subscription service with shopping and media perks.
 

Amazon’s Colorful New Fire 7 and Fire Kids Edition Tablets
Amazon Fire

Amazon is also expanding its kids tablet offerings with two new kids’ tablets. One is an updating of the Fire 7 Kids Edition with the same specifications of the new Fire 7 tablet. The Kids Edition comes with a protective case against drops and one free year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited subscription of kids’ apps, games, books, movies, and other content geared toward kids along with parental controls. The price will remain the same at $99 and the base model will come with 16GB of storage. The other kids tablet will be the new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, based upon the new Fire HD 8 and starting at 32GB of storage compared at a base price of $129.

Amazon is very unique among tablet vendors in that the hardware is not nearly as important as the services that the consumer uses and purchases. While bigger vendors are concentrating on cracking the enterprise market with 2-in-1 tablets, Amazon has doubled down on entertainment and it’s worked so far. Entertainment is right in the tablet’s wheelhouse and pairing it with all that Prime brings in music, video, shopping, and now Alexa support, gives Amazon an edge in overall value and customer experience.

Amazon is most interested in getting more people hooked into their services and low-priced hardware has worked very well so far, but has this strategy run its course and can other vendors or media companies reproduce this strategy?

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