With Kindle Freetime, Kindle Freetime Unlimited, and an investment in an ed tech startup, Amazon has long shown an interest in the footie pajama customer base. On Wednesday they targeted those customers with a new kid's tablet option.
This tablet has the exact same hardware as the HD 6 and HD 7, only with a few additional features. It costs $50 more than the cheapest ad-subsidized models, and in exchange for that extra cost Amazon will sell you a tablet with a thick rubber shell, a one year subscription to Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, and a two-year "we double dog dare you to break it" warranty.
This tablet will ship on 21 October, and costs $149 and $189 - a very good deal.
Amazon is not the first to release a tablet built just for kids; this market has been around for at least 4 years now. But Amazon has launched a tablet which could dominate this market.
If I had a kid and were planning to get them a Kindle Fire, I would go for this one. Between the cost of the warranty, the year's subscription (which usually costs up to $60 itself), and the rubber shell, Amazon is offering a killer deal here. The warranty along justifies the price; SquareTrade is asking $50 on Ebay for a two-year warranty for a $100 to $150 tablet, and that is a more limited warranty.
But not everyone wants to get their kid a game and media tablet like the Kindle Fire, so it's not perfect for everyone. If I were looking for a more academically focused tablet, I would not buy this one. Instead I would look at what Fuhu had released lately, and see what names are mentioned as competitors.
Update: Here are 5 possible alternatives.
Even so, I expect Amazon is going to sell bunches of the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition.