Back in 2011, Amazon made waves in the tech world when it launched its very own tablet. Not only did the Kindle Fire have solid specs and run a custom version of Android, it only cost $200. At nearly half of what most other tablets cost at the time, consumers ate it up.
Since then, Amazon has kept up its tablet line, eventually dropping the "Kindle" prefix and calling it just the "Fire." It also kept improving its KindleOS operating system and dropping prices. However, it hasn't had as much success of late.
For one thing, the Fire tablets don't have quite the price advantage they used to compared to other Android tablets. And while Amazon's KindleOS is good, it's also heavily tied in to Amazon's online services and products, and pushes you to buy and use them, which some people don't like.
Plus, it doesn't have access to the Google Play store, although Amazon's app store has most of the apps you want. In fact, in an effort to get Android users into the Amazon app store, Amazon just launched a new store called Underground that brings you paid apps for free.
To try and turn around its tablet sales, Amazon is following its original pattern of selling hardware cheaper than anyone else. Welcome to the $50 Fire tablet.
The only solid information right now is that the $50 tablet is going to have a 6-inch screen and a mono speaker. We wouldn't be surprised if the screen is low resolution and the battery doesn't last as long as the current $100 6-inch Fire tablet.
Amazon is probably gearing the $50 model to use around the house where it can be plugged in regularly. It's also going to be best for basic tasks like email, Facebook, online browsing, reading eBooks and shopping on Amazon. Don't expect to watch videos on high quality or run the latest mobile games.
Like other Fire tablets, the $50 model will be heavily plugged into Amazon's services. It will probably include home screen ads to help keep the price down, just like Amazon does with its other tablets and eReaders.
Still, $50 is almost nothing when you compare it to the cheapest iPad at $300. True, you get a lot more with the iPad, but if your needs are simple then the $50 Fire might be just the thing.
Amazon is also expected to release new models of its more expensive tablet, including introducing a 10-inch model. If Apple goes ahead with its iPad Pro at 12 inches, we could be seeing the start of the trend toward larger tablet screens again.
Does the $50 Fire sound like something you would buy just based on price, or would it need to be able to do certain tasks? Let us know in the comments.