According to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Amazon are preparing to try and salvage their declining market share by releasing a super cheap £40 tablet in time for the Christmas shopping season.
According to the WSJ’s sources (the usual “people familiar with the matter”) the tablet would have a 6 inch screen and a mono speaker as part of its attempts to get costs down to the bone, presumably because they think there is a market for cheap tablets that hasn’t already been filled by the likes of Tesco’s Hudl or the dozens of obscure brand Chinese tablets you can buy on pretty much any high street these days.
This latest bid for a big selling device comes after the declining sales of all of Amazons other Kindle Fire tablets and the outright and very costly failure of the Fire Phone, which caused the company to write off $170 million dollars last year for “Fire phone inventory valuation and supplier commitment costs” amid rumours that it still had $85 million dollars of unsold phones gathering dust in its warehouses. Amazon has also laid off dozens of employees in its development labs and scalled back and dropped several related products.
The big question though is will anyone want to buy this cheapo device? To hit that low number it’s probably going to be even more gimped than just having a small screen and a mono speaker. Given that you could get a much better tablet for just a small additional outlay you’d have to be either pretty skint or have very low requirements to choose to go so low end. Maybe Amazon will sweeten the deal with a free introductory period of Prime, but given that they may well be selling the device at pretty much cost I wouldn’t count on it.
If this tablet does fail I suspect that Amazon will either withdraw from the tablet & smartphone market completely or just rebrand someone else’s devices. Hopefully Amazon have got plenty of space next to those unsold Fire Phones because I think they’re going to need it.
Source: Wall Street Journal