The big shocker of the day was Amazon’s pricing: the cheapest Kindle now starts at $79, and the new Kindle Touch (as long as you tolerate ads) costs $99 for a WiFi version and $149 for a Kindle that will hook into the 3G network.
Pre-orders for the new Kindles are already live; they will ship on Nov. 21.
And then there’s the Fire. Before Amazon’s event, people had been hoping against hope that the Fire would come in under $300, maybe to $250. When Bezos announced that the Fire would be $199, there was an audible gasp from the crowd. Compared to the $499 (and up) iPad or even the $249 Nook Color from Barnes and Noble, the Fire’s unbelievably cheap.
And, so far, it seems like a great value. No, it’s not going to kill the iPad, but it will set up a rivalry between Apple and Amazon, since the Fire gives users a fairly good and cheap device through which they can access all of Amazon’s content.
The tablet is also great for Web browsing, thanks to Amazon Silk, a new, Fire-only browser that will tackle slow Web browsing speeds for mobile computing by using the cloud to take over some of the workload. Amazon Silk "will seem like a traditional browser, just a lot faster," according to a company video.
Early consumer reactions to the announcement were favorable, with most saying that the low price point had them at least considering the Fire. Several Twitter users said that the low prices would encourage them to buy more than one device for themselves or family members.
The bottom line, however, is that the Fire offers a lot for very little money. Or, as Jeff Bezos said a few times at the event, “premium products at non-premium prices.”
You can already pre-order the Kindle Fire; it will ship on Nov. 15.