Price of Amazon tablet hailed

The price of Amazon's new tablet device has been singled out as its most eye-catching feature although analysts feel it may not be a direct competitor to the iPad.

Amazon c.e.o. Jeff Bezos unveiled the device yesterday (29th September) along with the surprise introduction of several new models of the Kindle, including a new £89 version for the UK.

The Fire tablet will cost $199 with wi-fi, a seven-inch touch screen and access to Kindle books, music, video and games. The tablet is much less powerful than Apple's iPad.

Analyst Colin Sebastian told Bloomberg "the price point is the headline rather than the functionality”. He predicted Amazon would introduce a new version next year with greater functionality.

In an interview with Reuters, Tim Stevens, editor-in-chief of gadget review website Engadget, said: "People have been waiting for a tablet for 200 bucks for a long time and this is the best one I've seen so far."

Analyst Mark Gerber predicted a "bloodbath" as pricing on tablet devices gets "extremely aggressive". He said Amazon would sell at least 3m Fires by Christmas.

While analysts saw Amazon directly taking on Apple as one of the most significant implications of yesterday's news, the big loser in Fire's unveiling could be Barnes & Noble. Writing in the Guardian, Dan Gillmor said: "The Nook Color, a 7-inch tablet launched last year by the bookstore chain, costs a competitive $250 and has decent hardware for the price. Yet Barnes & Noble made [a] strategic error. Even though the Nook Color—created by a talented Silicon Valley team the company assembled—runs on Android, the operating system was deliberately crippled, preventing it from running a
customer's choice of Android apps."

The Fire will run on a modified version of the Android operating system and is pushing customers towards its own app store.