Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) yesterday introduced 6 new Kindles with attractive price ranges in a press conference hosted by CEO Jeff Bezos. At the conference Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) showcased a variety of eReaders and Tablet PCs, it also slashed the prices for the entry level eReaders by $10 to $69, and entry-level Tablets by $40 to $159
Among all the launched devices, two new versions of Kindle eReader got the most attention. The newer version called “Kindle PaperWhite”, is a touch-screen eReader with a higher-contrast display and a front light. Its features are similar to those of Barnes & Noble’s, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, that sells for $139. The new eReader from Amazon will start shipping in October. Regarding the price, the WiFi version of the eReader will be available for $119, while the 3G enabled version retails for $179. Along with the introduction of the two new versions, the online retailer also lowered the prices for its entry-level Kindle Touch eReader to $69.
The online retailer also remodeled its 1st generation Kindle Fire with 2X memory (now 16GB), a faster processor, and a longer battery life. Continuing with the strategy of making premium products available at non-premium prices, it also lowered the prices of the 1st generation Kindle Fire by 20 percent, to $159. Apart from improving the 1st generation Kindle Fire, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) also launched three new Kindle Fire HD models – 7” @ $199, 8.9” @ $299, and 8.9” 3G @ $499. On the specifications front, the 8.9” Fire has 254 pixels per inch (iPad’s has 264 PPI) Bluetooth, HDMI port, front-facing camera, weighs 20 oz (vs. iPad’s 23 oz), and is just 8.8mm thin (vs. iPad’s 9.4mm). Some of its most distinguishing features, apart from price, are that it includes custom Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) & Skype apps, along with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Exchange compatibility, and proprietary X-Ray & Whispersync technology. Not only this, but the new Kindle Fire is fully integrated with Amazon’s offerings, including 1-month Free Prime membership (and Prime Instant Video), Cloud Music Player, and unlimited Cloud Storage.
The announcements made at the conference were much in line with analysts expectations of improved versions of the eReader & Tablet, along with increased focus on pricing and products. And if the 2nd generation Fire performs the same as the 1st generation did (20 percent market share in less than 12 months), opportunities could open up for multi-million unit sales for both the new eReader and the Fire, but certainly the margins will be tested.