Amazon intros three new low-cost Fire tablets in small, medium and large

Amazon is wisely going after the mass market with a trio of relatively inexpensive tablets for those on a budget.

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The rumors and leaked images were accurate. Amazon has a trio of new Fire tablets available for pre-order and all of them share a common theme: They're relatively inexpensive.

Amazon's new Fire tablet, for example, costs $49.99. That's a budget price and of course the hardware itself reflects that.

There's a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor powering the new Fire, which should be more than adequate to run Fire OS, Amazon's twist on Android. The 7-inch IPS display will look good at angles, but the resolution is only 1024 x 600. That's reminiscent of the first small Android tablet I bought in 2010: The original Galaxy Tab.

You'll also only get 8 GB of local storage for the operating system, your apps and data. Amazon wisely included a microSD card slot, so for a few extra bucks, you can expand storage all the way up to 128 GB if you want.

The Fire has a 2 megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera, one speaker, single band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and up to 7 hours of battery life. Those aren't compelling specifications, but again, the Fire tablet can be had for a decent family dinner on the town.

Related: CNET's Amazon Fire Preview

If your budget allows for more tablet, the Fire 8 and Fire 10 are also brand new. Both share the same 1280 x 800 resolution screens; the key difference is the size -- these are 8- and 10.1-inch tablets starting at $149.99 and $229.99, respectively.

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There's a bit more horsepower here too.

The Fire 8 and 10 run on a 1.5 GHz quad-core chip, have dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, gain a 5 megapixel rear camera and a pair of stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support. You also get more storage to start with: 8 or 16 GB in the Fire 8 and 16 or 32 GB for the Fire 10. Both have a microSD card slot, as well. Each should run for 8 hours on a charge, says Amazon.

All three tablets can be pre-ordered from Amazon now, with a September 30 release date.

When I saw images of the new Kindle Fire 10, I wondered why Amazon was going bigger and thought that the price would have to be compelling; after all, the company's apps and content services are available on most other tablets.

By keeping the prices of the new Fire tablets low, Amazon isn't aiming at the high-end market. Instead, it's smartly targeting the mass market who might otherwise be looking at cheaper slates from RCA, HiSense and others.