Amazon unveiled a new version of its Fire HD 8 tablet this morning, with more memory and additional storage, and dropped the price to $89.99 — a 40 percent decrease from the $149.99 price for the previous version.
The company also said overall sales of its Fire tablet sales have more than doubled year-over-year, demonstrating the success of its pricing strategy. Amazon points out that the new Fire HD 8 costs about $300 less than the iPad Mini 4.
“We believe in a different approach to tablets — providing premium products at non-premium prices — and customers love it,” Kevin Keith, GM for Fire tablets, said in a statement. “In fact, we’ve seen Fire tablet sales more than double year-over-year as a result.”
Research firm IDC ranked Amazon as the world’s fifth-largest tablet maker in the second quarter, estimating that the company shipped 1.6 million Fire tablets during the period. Apple led the ranking with 10 million unit shipments of the iPad for the second quarter, followed by Samsung, Lenovo and Huawei.
The new Fire HD 8 has longer battery life, faster performance and more storage. The tablet offers 12 hours of battery life, up from eight hours in the old Fire HD 8. The device offers support for up to 200 GB of additional storage via a microSD card. It includes double the amount of storage (users can pick 16GB or 32 GB) and 1.5 GB of RAM, a 50 percent increase in memory.
The new device also includes new Alexa integration. For the first time, Amazon is embedding its digital assistant in four of its tablets, including the previous Fire HD 8 and the newly announced device. Users will be able to long-press the home button on a Fire tablet that is connected to WiFi to activate Alexa, and then have the voice assistant answer questions, play music, read the news, tell jokes, and more. Alexa’s answers will combine with on-screen information on the tablets. The update will arrive via software update in the “coming months.”
The new Fire HD 8 is available for pre-order starting today in four color options (black, magenta, blue, tangerine), starting at $89.99 for 16 GB. A 32GB version will also be available. The device starts shipping Sept. 21.