Amazon.com (AMZN) lifted the veil of secrecy over its highly anticipated Kindle Fire on Wednesday, revealing a tablet device that will be priced at just $199 and could pose a threat to Apple’s (AAPL) blockbuster iPad.
Unveiled at a high-profile media event in New York, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos said the new device will have a 7-inch display, a fast dual-core processor, weigh 14.6 ounces and include access to free cloud storage.
The $199 price tag comes in at the very low end of forecasts from industry insiders and compares very favorably with Apple’s iPad, which goes for $499.
In addition to the tablet device, Amazon.com unveiled a new e-reader Kindle Touch device that will cost $99 and include cell phone service as well as a $79 Kindle.
But most of the attention was on the Fire tablet, which analysts have predicted could put pressure on the iPad.
Even though it is best known for its popular online marketplace, Seattle-based Amazon.com has already proven it can play in the hardware industry with its successful Kindle.
The company enjoys a serious marketing advantage against rival manufacturers because of the millions of customers who visit its website to buy everything from movies to TVs and appliances.
However, the Fire will not have an embedded camera, microphone or 3G connection.
Shares of Amazon.com were up 2.4% to $229.78 Wednesday morning after the Fire was unveiled, while Apple’s stock was up 0.59% to $401.77. On the other hand, shares of Barnes & Noble (BKS), which makes the Nook e-reader, slumped 6.21% to $12.39.
Amazon appeared to take a page out of the Apple playbook by keeping a tight lid on details about the device in recent weeks and sending out invitations to reporters for a secretive media event.