Amazon Tablet: How Low Could It Go?

By  |  Friday, August 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

The New York Post’s Garett Sloane is reporting that a source tells him that will start selling an Android tablet for “hundreds less” than the $499 iPad in late September or October. “Hundreds less?” That’s both a specific claim and a vague one.

Could Amazon sell a tablet for $399? Sure, that’s entirely plausible. But that’s not hundreds less–it’s hundred less.

$299? Not¬†inconceivable. But I think we’d be talking one with sharply less robust technical specs and an iPad or a Honeycomb tablet, and probably a smallish screen.

$199? Hmmm. If Amazon sells a tablet for $199, it’s going to be fairly basic and Amazon will eat some of the cost in hopes of selling buyers content later.

$99? No, it won’t be $99. For one thing, that’s cheaper than a Kindle. (Disclaimer: I suppose it’s possible that Amazon will sell a tablet with some sort of contract or subscription that requires buyers to pay for content. In that case, $99 isn’t an impossibility.)

I like the idea of Amazon selling a cheap, relatively simple tablet. We already know that selling a tablet that’s sort of like the iPad at a similar (or higher!) price isn’t a road to riches. And for all the millions of people who have plunked down at least $499 for an iPad, there are plenty more who have opted out but might jump in at the right price.

It’s been fun speculating about Amazon’s tablet plans–but it’ll be more fun when we know the truth. Hope we don’t have to wait much longer.



4 Comments For This Post

  1. Tom Ross Says:

    $299 doesn't sound too bad! After all, the original Kindle started at $399. But I think the crucial thing for Amazon will be to create a better Kindle, not a lesser iPad. If they can pull that off, the price will be secondary.

  2. Ed Walsh Says:

    I think $299 for Prime members and $399 for non Prime is a good guess. The key is getting then in the hands of people who will spend money on Amazon is the key.

  3. Dick Hartzell Says:

    Common sense suggests the price must be greater than that of a Kindle (the current lowest price of which is $114) and no greater than that of the Android reading tablet that got there first: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color ($249).

    I could see the Amazon tablet going to $299 only if it has a killer feature the Nook Color lacks. Offhand the only thing I can think of, aside from access to the Amazon Android app store (currently far larger than the B&N Nook app store), would be 3G cellular access — the Nook Color is a WiFi only device. But since general-purpose tablets use quite a bit more bandwidth than ereaders a 3G-capable Amazon tablet would have to come with an optional cellular plan of the kind Apple offers from AT&T with the iPad.

    Is Amazon willing to complicate its tablet offer with such an option?

  4. Carl Says:

    @Dick Hartzell is right. $399 and $299 are out for 7 inch tablets. Amazon must at least match the $249 Nook Color, even if they use a daylight-viewable screen. Things like dual cameras and bluetooth are optional on a reader-focused tablet, which should lower costs.