Amazon may be considering a 7- inch model of its Kindle Fire HD tablet that could retail as low as $99, according to new reports. The low price would undercut Google’s Nexus 7, which sells for $199. TechCrunch reports that the model is already in production and would release before the end of the year, allowing the online retailer to further compete with the influx of new tablet devices.
Pricing for the current 7” Kindle Fire HD model starts at $199 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model. The cost shift would roll across Amazon’s current Kindle Fire lineup, with the 8.9-inch Wi-Fi model seeing a $30 drop to $269, and the LTE version of the tablet seeing a full $100 drop to $399.
Android tablets, including the Kindle Fire HD, are expected to take the majority market share away from Apple’s iPad for the first time this year, and the price drop could give Amazon an added edge. The 7-inch model has been the company’s best-seller, and its success at a lower price point was one of the influences for Apple’s iPad mini.
Tom Mainelli, IDC Research Director on tablets, suggested that the price drop would be well within Amazon’s means given the growth of the tablet market.
“The infrastructure is definitely in place for Amazon to go even lower,” Mainelli told told Tech Crunch.“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. It’s entirely possible – physically possible – to create a device that costs $99, particularly at the scale that Amazon would do it.”
Tablets are breaking into the sub-$199 range for the first time this year, as the technology becomes more prevalent. IDC estimated that Amazon sold more than 10 million Kindle Fires last year.