New Kindle Fire HD 4G LTE tablet priced like $499 iPad, surprising analysts
The value to Amazon has been in online goods and services such as its Prime membership for $79 a year that allows borrowing of e-books, instant streaming of movie and TV shows and free shipping of products sold via Amazon.com.
While Bezos announced the higher-priced $499 Kindle Fire HD with 4G LTE at the Thursday event, he also called attention to the Amazon's focus on selling services to customers, not just hardware. "We want to make money when people USE our devices, not when they BUY our devices," said a slide posted behind him as he spoke.
Bezos clearly had Apple in its sites with the $499 device, especially with his claim that a first-year cost of the device, plus a $49.99 service plan, would be $549, compared to his estimate that the iPad 3's first-year cost with 4G service is $959.
Amazon also notes that it's selling devices at a variety of price ranges and sizes.
The all-new Kindle Fire HD 7-in. Model will sell for $199 over Wi-Fi, while the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-in. Over Wi-Fi will start at $299. Meanwhile, a new-generation Kindle Fire with a faster processor and twice the memory of the first one will sell for $159.
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said buyers of the LTE-ready Fire will be forced to manage their usage carefully if they want to stream video over LTE, since they are limited to 250MB.
Many users will want to use the LTE for short tasks and stream videos over Wi-Fi, while some will pay for the higher data amounts from AT&T, he predicted.
"LTE is becoming a "must have" for a bigger group of consumers, so it may be more about Amazon addressing market desires than really having LTE as a feature set." Gold said.
"The vast majority of users only deploy tablets over WiFi anyway. If you're going to build a 'Cadillac' device, then HD, LTE and great sound are required by market pressures," he added.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- BlackBerry pushes BBM Protected for end-to-end encrypted messaging
- Can Microsoft's Windows Phone OS surge in market share?
- HTC One M8 called a good looker and genuine rival to the Galaxy S5
- Smartphone innovation is slowing, so what's next?
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Google and Samsung grow cozier with patent deal, Motorola sale
Read more about Tablets in Computerworld's Tablets Topic Center.
- Tablets in the Enterprise: A Checklist for Successful Deployment How can you enterprise manage and secure tablets in order to protect corporate data while providing access to the information and applications employees...
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Tablets White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!