Amazon Introduces Cheap New Tablet

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) - Amazon has introduced a tablet computer for under $50 in a bid to entice consumers priced out of the Apple iPad.

The new 7-inch Fire tablet, released Thursday, goes for $49.99, well below the cheapest version of the iPad, the iPad Mini 2, which costs $269.

It’s also cheaper than the Fire HD 6, Amazon’s previously most affordable tablet on the market at $99.99.

Amazon says its latest installment of the Fire tablet is two times more durable than the iPad, determined by so-called tumble tests.

Amazon hopes to sell to households in bulk, offering six tablets for the price of five at $249.95.

The goal: tie consumers to Amazon’s ecosystem of streaming video and shopping services through Amazon Prime.

“Our tablet focus is in and around content consumption,” said David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices, according to the Associated Press.

The new tablet comes in time for the year-end shopping season and shortly after Amazon reportedly laid off dozens of engineers who worked on the company’s first smartphone.

Released in July 2014, the Fire phone has all but disappeared — it isn’t even being offered on Amazon’s website. The company took a $170 million hit from costs associated with it.