Amazon hardware rumor: $50 tablet…but what exactly is a tablet?

Amazon hardware rumor: $50 tablet…but what exactly is a tablet?

Apple has a major announcement coming tomorrow.

As usual, we don’t know exactly what they’ll announce. Tradition would suggest the iPhone 6S (which sounds like “success” when you say it…really threw me off when someone said that Apple was probably going to announce what I heard as “the Success”). They may do an Apple TV which includes Siri. I’m really hoping Amazon gives full Alexa control, currently only on the

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

but soon to launch to many other devices, support to the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m actively resisting buying a Harmony media control center or remote control waiting to see what happens there. Someone I know who is very technically adept (really, has pretty much a Jetsons home) uses Harmony effectively with the Echo. This person can say, “Alexa, put on Netflix” and it just happens.

There’s a Harmony on a 1-day sale today:

Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote with Customizable Touch Screen and Closed Cabinet RF Control – Black (915-000201) (at AmazonSmile*)

for $150 (!) off…but that tells you how much they cost in the first place.

Since we largely watch on a Fire TV and Fire TV Stick (two different rooms), I’d feel somewhat silly paying close to $200 for something that gets replaced by Amazon Echo functionality before the end of the year (just speculation at this point).

Apple putting Siri into Apple TV could certainly spur the release of that functionality.

Apple is also rumored to announce an enterprise-style (designed for businesses, mostly) iPad…a product line that has had declining sales for some time.

No surprise that Amazon didn’t announce much before Apple…their coverage would still get tromped by Apple coverage.

However, after the Apple announcement, people will be looking for ways to write about it in the coverage deluge…and one way is to look at what Amazon is going to do.

This

Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger

says that sources “familiar” with the matter report that Amazon will release a $50 tablet…in time for the holidays.

Sure, that’s fine…I agree with Amazon that they should and can make money on services and content…trying to be the biggest and best top of the line hardware maker just hasn’t been working.

What struck me about this right away is that $50 is cheaper than the “Basic Kindle”**, the least expensive version of which is $79:

Kindle (7th generation)(at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When we both had a Kindle Fire tablet (the new ones are just Fire tablets) and EBRs (E-Book Readers), the tablets were generally more expensive.

You’ve been able to get the cheapest tablet for less than the most expensive EBR for some time.

I don’t think the release of a $50 (probably $49.99…although Amazon likes weird prices…$44.99?) tablet would mean the release of a $20 EBR.

My guess is that what is being rumored as a tablet may be more oriented towards booklovers.

If you added color to the Basic Kindle, would it suddenly be a tablet? No, I don’t think most people would say that.

What if it could do video?

What if it did full web surfing?

At what point does an EBR become a tablet?

I think, for many people, the dividing line is the screen technology.

The EBRs are not backlit.

When a device is backlit, you see what’s on the screen by a light coming from behind it…the screen is between you and the light source.

That’s not the way it works with an EBR, even one with a built-in light like the

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The light on the Paperwhite is on your side of the screen, and it’s pointed at the image…you read what’s on the screen by the light bouncing off it, the same way you see a p-book (paperbook).

That may become a less precise definition if devices become able to use both backlit and frontlit technology.

After all, there has been a Nook with both (a tiny backlit screen, and a big unlit screen), and devices with one screen of each.

I suspect, and I’m only guessing, that this will be a device with a backlit screen…but not a powerhouse, and not designed for, say, full gaming or using Microsoft Office.

For $50, they could make a device that had a backlit screen (they are cheaper), audio, and maybe page turn buttons.

That might be very attractive.

They might have to include more robust (wi-fi only) web browsing, but I think they could do that.

I don’t think they’ll abandon EBRs. I think we’ll get an announcement in that line as well.

I think some of these announcements are possible from Amazon probably by the end of September (but possibly in October):

  • That inexpensive tablet, but positioned for readers
  • Alexa Voice Service appearing on a lot of other devices (not made by Amazon)
  • Possibly a new Fire TV,  but an Echo app for the Fire TV seems likely
  • I think they may lower the price of the Voyage and kill the Paperwhite line…essentially merging the two, but going with what was the luxury name
  • More talk about Dash buttons😉
  • Many Alexa Skills from third party developers (I’m looking into writing one)
  • I think the Echo is front and center, but I’m not sure what a big announcement would be. I’m not thinking a second generation piece of hardware this year, so I’m trying to imagine what an accessory might be. If it could integrate Firefly (Amazon’s object/music/video recognition software) by linking to another device, that would be good
  • Prime Now announcements (more cities, more about restaurants and food)
  • I just have a vague inkling they are going to something with public libraries…not sure what
  • I’m still thinking we’ll get a Big 5 publisher to do more with Kindle Unlimited, but that might not be an announcement at a product launch

With all of this, I’m focusing on the consumer side…naturally, there is a lot happening in other areas, especially Amazon Web Services.

I don’t think we hear about drone delivery in the USA yet😉 although other countries are possible.

What do you think? Any speculation about what Amazon could announce? When they’ll announce it? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

** The 7th generation “Basic Kindle” is what I previously called the “Mindle Touch”…I polled my readers, and they collectively preferred “Basic Kindle”

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

One Response to “Amazon hardware rumor: $50 tablet…but what exactly is a tablet?”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Lots of interesting news today in advance of Apple’s announcements tomorrow. Microsoft Surface Pros will be sold & serviced by Dell, HP, & Avanade/Accenture — this to rebut an anticipated announcement tomorrow of an iPad/Pro targeted at enterprises.

    Disney’s video service will now work with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Vudu, & Roku (next week) accounts — buy a Disney movie in any of the linked stores; play it on of the linked account native devices. (:cool)

    Most of the articles I read about the $50 Amazon tablet focused on what compromises would have to be made to hit that price point. Would it just be a lackluster me-too off-tier tablet? Skepticism that it will do anything to revive the stagnant tablet marketplace.

    Interestingly, little talk about a $50 EBR — as the e-ink display technology is regarded as more expensive than that used in the putative “new” fires. Most think that cheapest EBR’s will be more expensive than the cheapest Fires (even though Bezos is reputed to want both Fire and Kindle entry prices to be $50).

    Things that might be coming from Amazon:
    – a 10″ or larger Fire tablet perhaps with some kind of 3D.
    – I really doubt that there’ll be any Big5 participation in KU. The already indirect payments between publishers, agents, and authors would only become incredibly complex if you factor in the KU payment “pool” scheme. There is already some anecdotal evidence to suggest that the KU payout scheme is not all that great for established indie authors.
    – I think there will be a new high end EBR with no reference to either Voyage or PW with an all new name.
    – With KU and $50 devices many think Amazon is going after a more price sensitive consumer segment than heretofore — some skepticism that there are enough such customers to make a material difference.

    My automated home is based on Insteon — so all the Echo HA add-ons are of no use to me. The Insteon community is hoping that Smarthome will soon create an Insteon IFTTT channel — at which point Echo could play with Insteon.

    Harmony doesn’t support Windows phone — so another non-starter for me😀 .

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