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Amazon launches new tablets, cuts Fire HD price, enables offline viewing

  • Amazon (AMZN) has launched two new tablets under the Kindle Fire HDX name - a 7" model and 8.9" model - and has also given the Kindle Fire HD a price cut and slight refresh.
  • As rumored, the HDX tablets sport high-res displays - 1920x1200 for the 7" model, 2560x1600 for the 8.9" model - and Qualcomm's (QCOM) quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU. Amazon also claims the displays offer perfect color accuracy and the ability to optimize pixels based on the amount of available light.
  • Other features include Dolby (DLB) audio, improved battery life, thinner/lighter form factors, and a 24/7 live video customer support service called Mayday.
  • The Wi-Fi-only 16GB 7" HDX goes for $229 (same as the new Nexus 7), and a comparable 8.9" HDX for $379. Higher-capacity and 4G models are also offered.
  • Amazon has also given the Fire HD a refresh, making it thinner and adding a faster CPU. More importantly, an 8GB model is now available for just $139, and a 16GB model for $169. The 16GB Fire HD sold for $199 when Amazon launched it a year ago. The standard 8GB Kindle Fire (now discontinued) sold for $159.
  • All of the tablets run on an updated version of Amazon's custom take on Android. The update adds a slew of enterprise-friendly management and security features.
  • The 7" HDX begins shipping on Oct. 15, and the 8.9" model on Nov. 7. On one hand, Amazon has put some clear effort into making its latest hardware stand out. On the other, tablet competition remains intense, and Amazon can't offer the  the popular Google apps (Play, Maps, YouTube, Now, etc.) that come bundled with Google-approved Android devices.
  • Also: Amazon is adding offline viewing support to Prime Instant Video, a feature that (for now) gives it some ability to differentiate from Netflix (NFLX). Prime subs can download certain movies and shows for free to watch within 30 days.
  • Initial offline partners include NBC, Viacom, Sony, CBS, and Warner Bros.
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Comments (12)
  • vmetla
    , contributor
    Comments (69) | Send Message
     
    Looks great
    25 Sep 2013, 01:37 AM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (24974) | Send Message
     
    The tablets are indeed nice. They should sell. And as predicted they fall on Q4 so Q3 will be a revenue miss.

     

    But there's something else which is ominous... I'll see if I can get an article on it. It's pretty amazing.
    25 Sep 2013, 05:52 AM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (2068) | Send Message
     
    It looks like the innovation is at Amazon ... They have been busy this year.

     

    Better add $79 for prime per year and $49 for the case.
    25 Sep 2013, 06:22 AM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (24974) | Send Message
     
    It's not hard to slap together top of the line components in these things, much like it's not hard to build a top of the line PC. What IS hard, is selling the stuff at a large profit, which AMZN is not able to.
    25 Sep 2013, 06:23 AM Reply Like
  • Bio Bull
    , contributor
    Comments (252) | Send Message
     
    Amazon isn't hoping for profit off of the hardware. The trick is to bring customers into their ecosystem much like Apple has so successfully done. Amazon will make the money on sales of apps, movies, and music.
    25 Sep 2013, 06:36 AM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (24974) | Send Message
     
    That's the story. Reality is that the Kindle Fire has been launched 2 years ago and profits imploded since then.

     

    So whatever the story is, reality is different.

     

    (Plus Apple's iTunes runs not much above breakeven - and that's the best Amazon.com can hope to get as well, since it can't price higher than Apple on content)
    25 Sep 2013, 06:39 AM Reply Like
  • gensearch2
    , contributor
    Comments (1518) | Send Message
     
    What in particular struck you as innovative?
    25 Sep 2013, 06:49 AM Reply Like
  • 426260
    , contributor
    Comments (134) | Send Message
     
    According to Amazon 10Q filings, the quarterly year-over-year growth rate of Amazon's worldwide media sales have decreased from 19% in 1Q12 (Kindle Fire was available on 11/15/11) to 7% in 2Q13.

     

    If Kindle devices were successful at spurring purchases of media (e-books, videos, music, games, etc.), one would expect the growth rate for media sales to accelerate, not decelerate. In addition, any sales of media attributed to the Kindle Fire have to be incremental to what the buyer would have purchased without the device for true value to be realized.
    25 Sep 2013, 10:37 AM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (2068) | Send Message
     
    Paulo,

     

    What would you buy a new Kindle or a Surface 2?

     

    Innovative?
    Lighter weight, the case, mayday, Xray, better software, Etc.

     

    I wish they would make a music only player to challenge the iPod. A kindle for music if you will.
    25 Sep 2013, 06:57 AM Reply Like
  • Paulo Santos
    , contributor
    Comments (24974) | Send Message
     
    I'd buy a Kindle and root it. But I don't really like tablets, I have an iPad and don't use it. I prefer laptop or desktop PCs.

     

    Anyway, as I said above it should sell well. It's a pretty nice tablet.

     

    But AMZN won't make any money on it, and indeed there are signs that AMZN's earnings are getting worse still. And the story "sell the devices at cost, make money on content later" is obviously fake: the original Kindle Fire was launched 2 years ago and AMZN's earnings since then have only gotten worse.
    25 Sep 2013, 07:03 AM Reply Like
  • Bio Bull
    , contributor
    Comments (252) | Send Message
     
    You raise a good point, Paulo, but I think part of it is just that it is such a hard market to gain entry into. We're seeing that with Microsoft's attempt at the phone market as well with the Windows phone.
    25 Sep 2013, 07:35 AM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (2068) | Send Message
     
    I am not an Amazon stockholder and never really considered buying. I like the service and their products. You're right it seems a house of cards but I hope they pull it off.
    25 Sep 2013, 09:10 AM Reply Like
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