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Amazon could go after budget-conscious holiday shoppers with $50 tablet

With the holiday season fast approaching, Amazon is aiming to tempt budget-conscious consumers with a super-cheap 6-inch tablet, the Wall Street Journal said Monday.

The company is aiming to price the diminutive device at just $50, that’s half what its current 6-inch Fire HD slate costs and even cheaper than its lowest-price Kindle e-reader, which retails for $79.

Related: DT’s pick of the best sub-$200 tablets

The move to target the low-end tablet market may be a sign of frustration with sales of its pricier Fire HD tablets and Fire phone, though it could simply be that the e-commerce giant feels it can offer a solid device to go up against a collection of generally poor offerings at this remarkably low price point.

The Journal’s source provided no specs for the device, though the report talks of a mono speaker rather than stereo, and adds that buyers shouldn’t expect much in the way of battery life, either. Amazon is likely aiming for a simple, durable offering that performs the basics a little better than competing devices.

The tablet’s low price point could be achieved by including ads on its lock-screen as it does with its existing range of Fire tablets. Amazon may even sell the tablet at a loss, using it as a way to sell services such as Prime and drive sales of its digital media.

Related: The 10 best tablets you can buy right now, at any budget

To keep costs to a minimum, the company has reportedly outsourced development of the tablet to firms in Asia. The move is said to have upset some at its Lab126 R&D facility in Silicon Valley, which recently saw a number of engineers laid off as the company apparently takes a stricter approach to the way it spends its money.

With so many people these days happily ignoring their tablets in favor of their large-screen smartphones, you have to wonder how much success Amazon will have with an ultra-cheap, 6-inch tablet. However, if it does land in time for the holiday season, it could certainly prove a popular buy for kids.

The Journal’s report also suggests Amazon is prepping new 8- and 10-inch devices for launch later this year. As ever, DT will keep you posted on all developments so check back later for more information.