I always get a kick when I look back at technology pricing. In a world where everything seems to get more expensive due to inflation, technology has a way of making things cheaper. (The only problem is that we tend to buy more and more technology, which eats up the savings. Ask my wife, she’ll tell you that I’m not immune to this.)
Last week, while I was at FinCon, Amazon released a few new tablets. There are some different sizes and specifications, but the one that deserves the most press is the Amazon Fire that broke the $50 price point. It’s so cheap that a case that they sell for it is 50% of the price of the tablet.
Before we get into whether this tablet is any good, let’s hop into our time capsule to May 28th, 2008. That was the day that I published the following article: Amazon Kindle: Buy or Not? Amazon had released their an eReader for $350 and the market was excited by it. I felt it was a legitimate question of whether you should buy it or not.
It’s worth taking a minute to realize how far we’ve come in a little more than 7 years. I can’t help but wonder what my 3 year old son will bring to 2nd grade in a few years. Is there a chance that an automated car service (perhaps an Uber in a driverless car) takes him to soccer practices? The sky is the limit.
Now that’s we’ve gone in the past and the future, let’s get back to the present. This new Amazon Fire isn’t the greatest of tablets. You don’t get a full 1080P high-definition screen. However, it is an IPS screen, which is pretty good at this price point. You also get expansion via an microSD card, which makes Apple’s memory price-gouging look silly.
I’m not going to waste too much time picking apart the specs, because quite honestly, this is the most “computer” you’ve ever been able to buy for $50. I know there are places with extreme poverty and hunger, but aside from that there’s no excuse for anyone to not own a tablet. Here’s another thought, why would anyone ever buy an expensive car overhead entertainment system, when each kid can have their own shows and games for $50?
While on the topic of kids, Amazon also released an Kids Edition Fire for $100. In comparison to the basic fire, it sounds really expensive, right? You do get a little more. There’s a 2-year “worry-free” warranty and rugged packaging. This alone wouldn’t justify the premium for me, but there’s something else. In includes a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which gives you a ton of kid-friendly content and settings (parental controls to limit time and things like that). If you are Prime member, a year’s worth would be $36. If you are not, it would be $60. That’s a nice little add-on. Presuming you were going to get FreeTime Unlimited anyway, it seems like the Kids Edition Fire would be the way to go.
Since we already have two tablets, we’re probably not going to jump on this. There comes a time when you have to step back and realize that you only have two eyes and two ears. There’s more than enough computers for the family right now.
Money Beagle says
Our 6-year old son has outgrown the Leap Pad, which both of our kids have for car trips and such, as we get educational games, music, and a bit of entertainment content. We are looking at transitioning to a tablet. My wife really wants to go down the Apple route, but I’m trying to push the $50 or $100 tablet as a much more economical alternative.
Lazy Man says
I would try to start with these $50/$100 options. If they work for you (and they seem to be very good), you save yourself a good chunk of money. If they don’t, you don’t lose too much. You could probably put them on Ebay and be out $10-20 for the experiment.
We’re an Apple family, but we have Kindle devices. From a consumption standpoint, I just don’t see a lot of difference between various devices. Some devices have more apps, but pretty much everything has Kindle, Amazon Instant Video, and MLB At Bat.
We got Fires for the kids (8 and 5) a while back (Prime Day) and they love them. We have Prime, so I can load books onto the Fires for them. I can also load a couple of movies for long road trips.
My one complaint is that Free Time is kind of a pain to set up and manage. As far as I know, there’s not a way to centrally manage the devices from a computer.