For the past couple weeks now, we’ve been seeing rumors really start heating up about Amazon’s next tablets, as sources attempted to identify not just some annual refreshes to the usual selection of Fire models, but also the introduction of a more-affordable-than-ever model in the form of a tablet slated to sell for a mere $50. Overnight we checked out some rumored specs for this whole group, but still didn’t have a great sense for when Amazon might hope to make these models official. It turns out we didn’t have very long to wait at all, and today Amazon announces the newest members of the Fire tablet family, including that rumored $50 model.
We’ll get to regular-priced new Fire tablets in a little, but we wanted to check in first with this budget-friendly model and find out for sure just what kind of hardware that money buys us.
As it turns out, this isn’t a six-inch model at all, but a seven-incher. Admittedly, it packs a low-res screen, with a resolution of just 1024 x 600, and while the rest of its specs are pretty conservative – details like 8GB of storage (with microSD expansion available), a 2MP/VGA camera pair, seven-hour battery life, 1.3GHz quad-core SoC, and a mono speaker – they’re not a dramatic departure from the hardware we find in even the more expensive Fire HD tablets.
In a move that borders on absurdity, Amazon is highlighting the preposterously low price of the tablet – which it calls, simply, the “Fire” – by offering to sell the model in a six-pack. Hell, you buy five, you get one free, and a pack of six Fire tablets will fetch just $250. For less than the price of an iPad mini – not even this year’s model, but the old iPad mini 2 – you could have half-a-dozen Amazon Fire tablets. What will you do with them all?
Amazon’s accepting pre-orders now, with the $50 Fire tablet set to start shipping on September 30.