The bar for bargains has been raised. Amazon’s new Fire 7 tablet is, at $59.99 / £59.99 (around AU$105), a bargain, but its predecessor was arguably better. What just happened?
There were few better gadget deals than Amazon’s 7-inch Fire tablet. For years and through various updates, it retails for just $49.99 – a $50 Android marvel that was the perfect gift for kids and family members who might not be dealing with their gadgets. with the greatest care. For a while, Amazon sold them in packs, like an egg carton, so you could quickly replace a broken egg…um…a fresh tablet.
The specs have never been stellar. A relatively low resolution 7-inch 1024 x 600 touchscreen, 1.3GHz Mediatek processor, 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM and a pair of 2MP front and rear cameras. But it had everything many people need for basic tablet activities: light gaming, browsing, email, reading and watching videos.
The $59.99 Amazon Fire 7 tablet repeats most of those specs, including screen resolution, cameras, base storage, and screen size. For the extra $10, you get a 2GHz quad-core processor and twice the RAM (and it might be a hair lighter than the last model). This new processor and increased RAM will result in a faster tablet, although the target market may not notice it.
I wonder why Amazon had to increase the price by $10. Granted, it’s not a lot (perhaps enough for a bath mat, some cheap wired headphones, an iPhone charging cable, or surgical masks), but in these increasingly tough economic times, this scratch extra can make the difference.
Why the price increase?
I have a few theories as to why this is happening.
Amazon may be passing the cost of the more powerful processor and RAM directly to consumers. Maybe it’s because it’s getting harder to get those basic transformers or commodities. The higher-end, more personalized and powerful models are a little easier to obtain. 2 GHz chips like this, which could also end up, for example, in a car computer, are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
Obtaining tablet components, in general, has become more difficult. Look at Apple, which complained last quarter that declining iPad sales were due to supply chain issues, not consumer disinterest.
The higher Amazon Fire 7 price could also be core inflation. The costs of everything Amazon does, from warehouses where employees unionize to trucks powered by nearly $5 a gallon of gas delivering products, are rising.
It’s also possible that by not making much of the price increase, or really referring to it, Amazon thought no one would notice. It gives consumers a bit more, after all.
An Amazon Fire 7 Android tablet for $59.99 is still a bargain, especially when you compare it to the cheapest Apple iPad (the 9.8-inch iPad, $329), but I think we’ll all miss out the days when you could get a remarkably good tablet for less than $50.
Now I’m just wondering when Amazon will raise the price to $69.99…
If you’re curious what kind of tablet really excites me, check out my 24 Hours with the iPad Air (2022).