Whether to combat flagging sales or reflect lower component prices, Amazon dropped the price of its Wi-Fi 8.9" Kindle Fire HD today by roughly 10% - down to $270 for the 16GB model. The price of the 32GB model dropped by $30 as well, to $300. The LTE model received a much more substantial 20% cut, and now costs $400 - $100 less than the price it debuted for.


The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 isn't exactly old news - it began shipping only 5 months ago in the US, and $300 for the entry-level model was scarcely believable even at that time. Why now? There are basically two plausible explanations. First, the HD 8.9 isn't selling as well as Amazon expected. That's far from unbelievable, given the rampant success of the company's small Fire and Fire HD tablets, and the decidedly non-techy, frugal audience to which they are designed to appeal.

The alternative may not be so much lower component prices, but rather a component switch-up. The Fire HD 8.9 uses a TI OMAP 4470 chipset, and back in September of 2012, TI announced that it was winding down its mobile chipset business. The company's OMAP 5 platform (likely its smartphone/tablet swan song) is slated to hit the market in Q2 2013, but I doubt we'll be seeing many consumer-oriented products utilizing it. This price drop may reflect an upcoming early refresh for the HD 8.9 in an attempt to clear out stock before a model with new guts is unveiled.

Either explanation is, of course, speculative.

The Fire HD 8.9 is also now officially on sale in select European markets and Japan.