Amazon set to release $50 tablet despite Fire Phone blunder

One may not associate Amazon with low-cost devices, but that is exactly what the company is planning to sell.

The online retail giant, which has failed to capture a market with its higher-end devices is set to unveil a 6-inch tablet with a price tag of $50, reportedly around the holiday season.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the device will sport a mono speaker, although other specs have not yet been revealed.

At the $50 price point, the device undercuts even the cheapest of Amazon’s own Kindle e-book readers, which sell for $79 with “special offers.”  Currently, its cheapest tablet, the 6-inch Fire HD, is $99.

The tablet is not standalone, however, and will also come in 8-inch and 10-inch variants.

The announcement comes despite dismal sales figures from Amazon’s first venture into smartphone territory with the Fire Phone.

Ars Technica reports that the company laid off much of its development staff and has announced losses of $437 million in August, with the phone cited as the largest reason for the writeoff.

The retailer reportedly has $83 million in unsold Fire Phones.  Its price has been slashed from $449.00 for an unlocked device to $189 for the 32 GB model.

Previous statements made by company CEO Jeff Bezos indicate that with the low-cost tablets, Amazon will forego hardware profits in exchange for service sales, such as in the form of e-books, apps and video rentals.

Bezos had gone after the $50 price tag previously with existing Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers, although the cost of the screen technology employed did not allow it.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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