Will tablet buzz hurt Kindle shipments?

First there are rumors of a $99 tablet from Amazon, and then the company comes out denying the prospect. Is the price point feasible?

By Benzinga Mar 21, 2013 5:09PM
By Louis Bedigian

Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle brand is getting a lot of attention this week; first because of a rumor claiming the company will follow in the footsteps of its Chinese competitors and release a $99 tablet.


The rumor originated at TechCrunch, whose sources say Amazon hoped to produce a low-cost tablet that is very similar to the current Kindle Fire HD.


According to TechCrunch's Sarah Perez, "the $99 Kindle Fire HD will also still sport a TI processor like the rest of the lineup, and will have a 1280×800 resolution, like today's Kindle Fire HD 7" does."


To illustrate the feasibility of a $99 tablet, Perez pointed to Amazon's recent price cuts for the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire, which received discounts of $30 (for the standard Wi-Fi model) and $100 (for the 4G/Wi-Fi iteration).


Perez also interviewed IDC Research Director Tom Mainelli, who said that the infrastructure is "definitely in place for Amazon to go even lower" than its current prices.


"If they can sell the product at roughly what it costs to build, that fits their long-term vision to make money selling you content on that device," he said. "It's entirely possible – physically possible – to create a device that costs $99, particularly at the scale that Amazon would do it."


TheWeek's Keith Wagstaff concurred, adding that the $99 price point "makes sense."


"If Amazon were to sell its tablet for less than $100, it would put Apple (AAPL) and others on notice," he wrote.


ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes believes that a $99 Kindle Fire would "annihilate the Android tablet competition."


After the rumor had just enough time to excite the masses, Amazon responded by issuing a formal denial to Business Insider and everyone else on the Web.


According to those reports, an unnamed spokesperson said that the $99 tablet is "not happening -- we are already at the lowest price points possible for that hardware."


Of course, Amazon would have likely issued a similar statement about the prospect of a $159 Kindle Fire in 2011. Back then, the idea seemed crazy. But in September 2012, it finally happened. Thus it is not out of the question to think that an older/slightly modified Kindle Fire may one day sell for $99.


While that development is apparently on hold, there is another that's about to go into effect.


According to DigiTimes, Kindle e-reader shipments could drop by several hundred thousand units in March and April.


In January, Amazon reportedly shipped 750,000 Kindles worldwide. That number dropped to 420,000 in February, which proved to be a slow sales month for many corporations.


March isn't over yet, but the month is expected to be very hard on Amazon's Kindle division. The firm is expected to ship as few as 20,000 units this month. Shipments may be the same in April.


More from Benzinga; 
4Comments
Mar 21, 2013 7:49PM
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Also introduced this week in another impressive new model - the Novo 9 Spark -- available for $269.. and compares to the iPad and Nexus 10 models - and offers a full-size 9.7 Inch display with an high resolution Retina screen and a Quad Core Processor --

The Novo 9 Spark runs Android 4.1 (upgradable to 4.2) and features a 9.7 inch 2048x1536 IPS screen and a performance Quad Core processor/1.5 Ghz/2GB - along with a powerful 10,000 mAh battery, 32GB Memory, WiFi and 3G/4G internet access, a MicroSD memory card slot, the new high end 4K Digital HDMI to stream movies from your tablet and display on an HD TV, a 2 MP Front webcam and a 5 Megapixel Rear Camera with AF and Flash and comes preinstalled with Google Play Store, with acess to over 400,000 Android software Apps.

The site TabletSprint also offers $25 in Bonus Apps with both of this new models; as well as features a promotion with a free 500MB monthly Data plan for 4G internet access that includes a free 4G USB adapter.

Mar 21, 2013 7:50PM
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One impressive new tablet that launched this month and compares to the 7 inch Nexus 7 -- is the

Novo 7 Venus for $149 -- with one of the first sites it's available through is called TabletSprint --

The Novo 7 Venus features a Quad Core processor, 1280x800 IPS screen, 16GB memory, WiFi,

a front webcam, Android O/S and Google Play Store preinstalled... all of which are found on the Nexus 7 -- while also offering a number of features the Nexus 7 doesn't - including a 2-megapixel rear camera, a MicroSD memory card slot, and an HDMI 1080p port; plus options for 3G/4G internet connection.

The tablet is made by Ainol Electronics, which won runner up for best-tablet-of-the-year in 2012 at CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

Mar 22, 2013 10:38AM
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I saw a reader that was free. It turns out that the local library has been cranking out books by the volumes for loaning them to the communities around the nation for some time now. It does require you to physically get off the couch and go there.  
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