Amazon releases family-friendly, low-budget tablets

The e-commerce giant delivers a $99 tablet and a kid-focused tablet, leveraging what's worked for it in the past: low prices and tech-aware parents.

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Amazon takes aim at parents with a cheap, kid-friendly tablet. Amazon

Amazon announced its new tablet lineup Wednesday, catering to a wide range of users from the budget-conscious to tech-savvy children.

The line includes a refresh of its Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and Fire HD 7 , as well as a colorful $99 Kindle Fire HD 6 , a high-end e-reader called the Kindle Voyage . The Fire HD 7 and 6 models are also available in Kids Editions, which include a chunky case, a 2-year warranty, and a free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service focusing on kid-friendly content such as apps, games, and videos.

Amazon is adding more variety to its line, creating a situation akin to Samsung's shotgun approach: make a bunch of tablets to fit every level of consumer and hope something sticks. Additionally, Amazon's banking on what's worked best for it, catering to parents who want a cheap tablet for their kids.

"Fire HD Kids Edition is a real tablet, not a toy," Peter Larsen, an Amazon vice president of devices, said in a press release. "Kids break things, so we added a 2-year, no-questions-asked, worry-free guarantee."

The e-commerce site has consistently catered to parents since it launched it tablet line. Offering a cheap but good-quality alternative to the iPad, Amazon's Fire tablets appealed to parents. The company also encouraged kids through Kindle FreeTime, a mode that allows for parental control settings on content and in-app purchases.

The colorful Kids Editions tablets take things a step further, as Amazon is specifically marketing the device for families. This certainly isn't a new idea. As mobile devices became more popular, so did kid-friendly devices, like the LeapFrog learning tablets, which cater to very young children, or Samsung's Kids edition for its Galaxy Tab 3.

Following its usual tactic, Amazon is probably hoping its services, like FreeTime Unlimited, will set its device apart in a very crowded market.

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