A $50 7 incher, a kid-proof non-HD Fire 7, two slightly larger Android slates, as well as a voice remote-controlled Fire TV stick, 4K-capable streaming media player, and gaming-centric set-top box.
If this is how a product lineup “curtailed” by Fire Phone failures and recent layoffs looks, we don’t want to imagine what Amazon might have had in the pipeline before. Then again, the e-tailer’s desperate attempt at covering every tiny piece of the tablet market, with almost no differentiators between new and old Fire models, was likely planned for a while.
The “new standard for a low-cost tablet” is in Amazon’s view an ultra-low-end 7 incher called simply Fire, and due out on September 30 at $49.99. Five of those combined make up the price of a single iPad mini 2, and in case you plan on gifting one to every distant relative come Christmas, the final item in a six-pack will be free.
So yeah, for just $250, you’ll be able to buy half a dozen Android Lollipop-based, microSD-expandable, quad-core-powered little laptop replacements, lasting up to seven hours on a single charge in “mixed use”, suited to store 8 GB data internally, and display 1,024 x 600 pix res imagery.
Oddly enough, the 2014 Fire HD 6 is still advertised as your best $100 option, with new Fire HD 8 and 10 configurations going for $150 and $230 respectively. Neither flavor is a worthy Fire HDX sequel, lowering the screen resolution bar to 1,280 x 800, packing unnamed quad-core 1.5 GHz SoCs (so MediaTek), 1 GB RAM, stereo speakers, 5 MP rear cameras, 8-hour autonomy, and surprising new microSD card slots.
Then you have your refreshed, low-res Fire 7 Kids Edition, available September 30 starting at $100 with a bundled case and two-year worry-free guarantee, and finally, three rehashed Fire TVs.
The smallest member of the living room entertainment family plugs into your HDTV’s HDMI port and lets you choose what to stream via voice commands, all at $50. Next up, the 2015 Amazon Fire TV media player does 4K content, with a quad-core chip under the hood, 2 GB memory and 8 GB storage, in exchange for $100, and last but not least, the Fire TV Gaming Edition adds a controller to the equation for 40 bucks extra.
It’s tiresome just to name all these “upgraded” Amazon gadgets, let alone take the time to get to know each one, and see how different they are from predecessors and rivals, don’t you think?