Amazon showed off the new tablet at a media event in New York City. “We are building premium products at non-premium prices,” CEO Jeff Bezos said at the event. The new tablet will be called the Kindle Fire, below the $250-$300 range expected by most analysts leading into the event. The device will be available to ship on Nov. 15.
The Kindle Fire will start at $199 — named after the company’s popular line of e-readers. Unlike those devices, the Kindle Fire will feature an LCD-backlit touchscreen and allow users to not only read books but also watch movies and TV shows, surf the web and play games that can be downloaded from the company’s own app store. The most notable surprise, however, was the price. At $199, the Amazon tablet is about 60% below the price tag of the cheapest iPad from Apple Inc., which has so far ruled the nascent tablet market . The Kindle Fire sports a dual-core processor, 7-inch touchscreen (next to the iPad’s 10-inch screen) and will use a new technology developed by Amazon called “Silk,” which is designed to speed up the Web browser’s performance using the company’s growing Web services cloud offering. Amazon also unveiled a new version of its E-Ink-based reader called the Kindle Touch, which does away with the keypad on the device in favor of touchscreen navigation. The new Kindle Touch will start at $99 with a 3G version to sell for $149 — both of which will be available on Nov. 21. The current cheapest model of the Kindle sells for $114. Amazon also unveiled a new version of the Kindle with no touchscreen that will sell for $79. That device is available immediately.