Amazon Planning Low-End $50 Tablet for the Holidays

With Labor Day ushering in the unofficial end to summer, tech companies are planning for big fall releases and the coming holiday shopping season. For Amazon, that appears to include the launch of a low-end, $50 tablet to compete with other much pricier devices on the market.

Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that the giant online retailer plans to come out with the inexpensive tablet ahead of the holidays. The device would not only be one of the cheapest tablets currently available -- and "effectively disposable" -- but it would cost half as much as Amazon's own Fire HD tablet (shown), according to the report.

Amazon's move toward the lower end of the consumer tech market signals a possible shift in the company's approach toward its in-house device development efforts. It comes on the heels of the apparent end of its Fire Phone experiment and recent reports of downsizing in Amazon's Lab126 product innovation facility.

Fire Phone Fizzle

The bargain tablet, with a six-inch screen and a mono -- rather than stereo -- speaker is one of several planned for launch by the company this year, the Journal reported. Other models are expected to include 8-inch and 10-inch tablets.

Amazon's new direction stands opposite that of Apple, which is planning its own product announcement in San Francisco tomorrow. At the event, Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone 6S and also reveal the release date for the latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 9.

While Apple has long succeeded with its focus on high-end -- and high-priced -- design, Amazon couldn't do the same when it launched the Fire Phone with a $449 price-tag last year. The device drew criticism for its proprietary, Amazon-centric apps, and was marked down a few months...

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