In an airplane hangar in Santa Monica, California, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced a number of new products, with a new family of HD Kindle Fire attracting the most attention. The new tablets, priced from $199 to $499, are designed to take on the high-end of the tablet world at very competitive prices. Amazon’s stated strategy is to sell the hardware at near cost and make their money on content and services when customers use the devices. (Please see our recent article on Amazon’s significant addition to its Prime Instant Video collection.)
In Amazon’s press release Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO was quoted as saying “Kindle Fire HD is not only the most-advanced hardware, it’s also a service. When combined with our enormous content ecosystem, unmatched cross-platform interoperability and standard-setting customer service, we hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price.”
The Kindle Fire HD family offers what they claim is the fastest Wi-Fi of any tablet (dual antenna, dual-band, and MIMO) , Dolby Audio, dual stereo speakers and advanced displays, among other features. The three models are: the Kindle Fire HD with a 7” display at $199, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” (Wi-Fi only) at $299 and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 4G at $499.
These products are aimed directly at Apple’s iPad. They offer comparable features at much lower prices. Google and others are also competitors. But hardware-only vendors are likely to get hurt the worst. Jeff Bezos is often quoted as saying that without content and services, stand-alone devices are just gadgets and credits this as the reason so many tablet makers haven’t met with success.
Per the company published materials, Amazon.com, Inc. “opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”