One of the big rumors from last year was that Google would release a $99 Nexus tablet. Those rumors never went anywhere though. Now it's Amazon's turn to take up the rumored cheap tablet torch.
TechCrunch is reporting that Amazon will introduce a $99 Kindle Fire HD tablet later this year. The tablet will reportedly be powered by a TI processor and feature the same 1280x800 display of the current Kindle Fire HD.
What's interesting about this rumor is that the Kindle Fire HD is not the first tablet that comes to mind when a price drop is rumored. Amazon still sells the non-HD Kindle Fire for $159, and would seem to be the most likely candidate for a price drop to $99.
Still, the Kindle Fire HD being dropped to $99 would give Amazon a huge advantage in the current tablet wars. It would undermine every other 7-inch tablet on the market by offering better specs at an extremely low price while offering the entire digital content ecosystem from Amazon.
Amazon's digital content ecosystem is the main reason why this rumor is so believable. In the past, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was quoted as saying, "We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices." That philosophy is the sole reason why the Kindle line is so cheap, and how Amazon is able to lower prices on its tablets faster than the competition. In fact, the company just recently chopped a sizable chunk off the Kindle Fire HD 8.9's price. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to see the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD getting a price drop as well.
Regardless, this is all just a rumor for now. Amazon even told TechCrunch that its already selling the Kindle Fire HD hardware "at the lowest price points possible." If we're going to hear anything about a $99 tablet, it will probably be at a Kindle event later this year.
UPDATE: An Amazon spokesperson has told Business Insider that a $99 Kindle Fire HD is "not happening." The spokesperson also reiterated its previous statement to TechCrunch saying that the company is "already at the lowest price points possible for that hardware."