It seems like everyone is getting into the phablet craze these days — even Amazon.
The online retailer announced new Kindle Fire HD tablets today, starting at $99 for the 6-inch model and $139 for the 7-inch.
But wait, you ask, a 6-inch tablet? Isn’t that the same size as giant smartphones — AKA phablets — like LG’s G Flex and Nokia’s Lumia 1520? It sure is. The big difference with the Fire HD is that there’s no cellular connectivity at all.
The phablet trend has been all about cramming as big a display as possible into a smartphone, starting with Samsung’s 5.5-inch Galaxy Note a few years ago. With the new Fire HD, it’s almost as if Amazon is taking the reverse approach — it’s created a small tablet that could easily be mistaken as a phone.
I’m not entirely sure if consumers will warm to the idea of a 6-inch tablet, but that $99 price tag will likely turn heads. Even though Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire HD costs $40 more, the cheaper model will allow Amazon to promote the fact that it has a sub-$100 tablet ready to go. Google’s Nexus 7, the Fire tablet’s closest competitor, starts at $229.
Both of the new Fire HD tablets include quad-core processors that can run up to 1.5 gigahertz and sharp screens with 1280 by 800 pixel resolutions (enough for 720p HD video). They both run version 4 of Amazon’s Fire OS, dubbed “Sangria,” which features a revamped interface and the speedy video streaming technology first seen in the Fire TV. That update will also be made available for last year’s Fire HD and HDX tablets.
You can pre-order the new Fire HD tablets today, and Amazon says they’ll ship in October.