Amazon unveils 7-inch Android-based tablet for $199, while Apple schedules an iPhone event. Also: Facebook privacy worries.
Steven MusilNight Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Tech enthusiasts were expecting something big from Amazon this week, and they weren't disappointed.
Many had hoped that the Internet retailer would take the wraps off a much-anticipated tablet PC to challenge the iPad (which it did), but the company also unveiled three new e-ink e-readers. The new Kindle Touch with Wi-Fi will sell for $99; its 3G version will sell for $149. A cheaper and smaller non-touch Kindle will sell for $79.
• Amazon Kindle Touch 3G vs. Kindle Touch vs. Kindle (2011)
But the big news of the day was the Android-based Kindle Fire tablet--Amazon's stab at the crowded tablet PC market, which is already dominated by Apple's iPad.
At $199, the 7-inch Kindle Fire is sure to find a bigger audience than other Apple iPad challengers, but the lower price point means that Amazon hasn't packed the device with specifications found in more expensive tablets.
• Amazon to lose $50 on each Kindle Fire, says analyst
Included in all this is an assault on Netflix, with Amazon bundling the Fire with a free one-month subscription to Amazon Prime, which gives customers "instant commercial-free streaming of over 11,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost." After the free month is over, Fire owners can sign up for Prime, which costs $79 annually and includes free two-day shipping on any purchase from the retailer. Compare that with the $96 Netflix's charges just for streaming movies.
The board's decision to replace Leo Apotheker with Meg Whitman stemmed in part from a desire to prevent a possible buyout offer from Oracle, a new report claims.
• Whitman to draw $1 salary as HP's CEO
RIM insists that it is not getting out of the tablet business, but there are signs that PlayBook production may have stopped. And retailers are beginning to offer the device at deep discounts.
• Retailers offering discounted PlayBook tablets