At this point, Amazon is literally balling up ideas and throwing them against the wall. Phone? Damn, it slid off. Tablet? Everyone has phones the size of our tablets. Hmm…

Oh, how about a potato in tablet form? Sell it for $50 and it can do simple things like watch streaming video and shop on Amazon. Wait, when did watching streaming video become the easiest task on a tablet?

The Wall Street Journal snagged the report of the $50 ‘why did you buy this’ tablet yesterday. Half the price of its 6-inch Amazon Fire HD tablet, it also comes with half the features. That streaming video? Prepare to rock out to Amazon Instant Video in mono.

Right, that’s just what we want. Tablets aren’t known for their sound, how can we make it worse?

The announcement comes mere days before Apple is set to announce its refresh of the iPhone lineup and possibly an iPad Pro. There’s an excellent comparison shot. The flashy iPad Pro and Amazon’s potato.

For Amazon fans, not all hope is lost. The Journal report also mentioned the company is prepping new 8 and 10-inch tablets for the holiday season. Maybe the whole $50 is a sales gimmick. Pull out the old ‘if you pay a bit more, you get to watch it on a screen that won’t fall apart.’

Amazon’s Lab126 Layoffs

Unfortunately for Amazon, the writing seems to be on the wall for hardware. Layoffs are impacting Lab126, its hardware division. It has been working on the Fire Phone, a 14-inch tablet codenamed Cairo and a shelved smart stylus dubbed Nitro.

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The company has e-commerce on lock. It flailing around the periphery of hardware just seems strange at this point.

Though there is a point of entry. Two-year contracts are a thing of the past. Once people realize they are plunking down $800 for a phone, there’s opportunity.

Amazon has shown a willingness to operate at razor-thin margins. Create a phone that screams status without the price tag. And quit trying to bake Amazon Prime into everything. I’m already thinking about adding an addition on for the UPS guy. You have us Amazon. I can order random shit and not leave my couch. I’d pay more than $99 a year for that privilege.

A $50 tablet? Not only will it be garbage, but you also have to explain to customers why they are paying more for an e-paper Kindle. That’s not the conversation you’re looking for hurtling towards holiday shopping.

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