A $99 Kindle Fire tablet is not in the works, according to Amazon. The retail giant has dismissed fresh speculation that it's designing a sub-$100 tablet to compete in the ferocious Android market.
Rumors of a new budget Kindle Fire first cropped up at TechCrunch, which reported a $99 Kindle Fire 7″ tablet was in production and would ship later this year. Citing anonymous sources, the site said the wallet-friendly tablet would boast a Texas Instruments processor like the rest of the lineup, along with a 1280×800 resolution that matches that of the Kindle Fire HD 7".
TechCrunch adds that a budget Kindle Fire would ensure Amazon's device could compete with the many low-cost tablets that come from China.
Alas, it seems Amazon didn't get the memo. Speaking to Business Insider, a company spokesperson rebuffed the rumors, insisting: "It's not happening - we are already at the lowest price points possible for that hardware."
Amazon's denial has not convinced everybody, however. Some tech bloggers have dissected the company's statement, arguing that the words "that hardware" hint at a brand new version of the Kindle Fire that comes in at below $100. If you can hear the grasping of straws, you are not alone.
There is, admittedly, one half-credible reason to believe in a budget Kindle Fire. Only last week, Amazon announced it would be dropping the price of the tablet from $299 to $269 (for the Wi-Fi-only version) and from $499 to $399 (for the LTE version). The price cut followed months of flagging sales, though Amazon denies that sales were an influence in its decision to drop the price.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Greenfield at Yahoo! has been pondering the economic plausibility of a $99 Kindle Fire. Her conclusion? Current production costs make such a venture unlikely right now, but a $150 Kindle Fire may not be so outlandish.
What do you make of the $99 Kindle Fire rumors? Would you invest in a cheap Kindle Fire of your own if the speculation turned out to be true?