Barnes & Noble drops tablet prices…Amazon to follow?
It’s happened before that Barnes & Noble has cut the price on hardware, and Amazon has responded with price cuts of their own.
In this case, people are expecting Amazon to release new hardware soon, which might also suggest a price cut on existing models.
In fact, my Significant Other today mentioned what I’m going to call “anticipation fatigue” with Amazon bringing out something new…it’s that thing where they keep telling you something is “just around the corner”. You know…”Are we there yet?”
Of course, it isn’t Amazon that is telling us…they have not said yet there they are ever going to introduce new models (except for a brief mention of a Kindle Fire “roadmap” recently).
However, I think there are some reasonable indicators, including sales on Kindles and accessories…and being out of stock on some models.
So, what has Barnes & Noble done?
The NOOK Color has dropped from $169 to $149.
The NOOK Tablet 8GB dropped from $199 to $179 (so yes, it is now cheaper than the Kindle Fire).
The NOOK Tablet 16GB dropped from $249 to $199…a $50 reduction! While the drive is twice the size of the Kindle Fire, you still have a lot less memory you can use for off-store content. With the 16GB NOOK Tablet, you only get 1GB for your own stuff. 12GBs are for Barnes & Noble purchased content, and the remaining 3GB is used by the device. By contrast, the Fire has 8GB hardware, but you have 5.36GB of “internal storage”, which you do not have to use for Amazon purchases…that’s in addition to 1.17GB for apps.
Does this give us any hints into what Amazon will do?
Maybe…I think a new, more fully-featured Amazon Android tablet might still come in at $199. I think the current Fire might drop a lot…it might have been down to $149, possibly, but I’m now thinking it may be more like $169. An entry level larger screen tablet might be $249…with a more fully featured one more like $299.
Even though I’m a former retailer, though, I’m not at all confident on those prices.
I think they might also be able to work something interesting with Prime. What if it turns out that Fire Prime users are less expensive for Amazon than non Fire Prime users, since perhaps they take less advantage of the shipping? What if Amazon’s new robot system (along with interesting ideas like Amazon Lockers, and new fulfillment centers) is reducing the cost to Amazon for Prime?
If that’s the case, they could offer (in addition to a free month) a reduced price for Prime to tablet owners.
Now, I do think Amazon wants people to buy physical items through Prime, but if they don’t, that changes the economics.
I don’t think we’ll have an announcement before Wednesday, but we might have an announcement of an announcement. In other words, they might announce an upcoming press event. They could also lower prices before they announced new hardware.
Two other little notes:
- Barnes & Noble did not lower prices on their reflective screen devices
- I didn’t see a lot of buzz about these lower prices
While B&N got excellent reviews on their Glowlight version (I think we’ll see something like that on the RSKs…Reflective Screen Kindles), I wonder if they are falling out of the blog hive mind a bit. Is the competition now seen to be between Amazon’s Fire and Google’s Nexus (for now), rather than Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s NOOK? As long as B&N keeps the memory so locked down to things purchased from their store, I think that’s going to be a problem for general tech bloggers and business users.
“Timers and judges are you ready? Bloggers, take your marks…”
Just waiting for that starter’s gun!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.