Amazon (AMZN) will host a major event on Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif. Here's what to expect.
The company will release a new Kindle Fire. Last week, Amazon announced that it had sold out of its last-generation Kindle Fire. That means it is gearing up for a new release this week.
You can expect to see:
- A bigger display that's more like a Google (GOOG) Nexus 7, which has a 1,280 x 800 HD display.
- Possible ad-supported model with an ultra-low price.
- 4G LTE support.
- New browser.
- New content.
We got a preview of this last point on new content this morning with Amazon's announced deal with the Epix cable-TV channel. This gives Amazon a huge new lineup of video-on-demand content for Amazon Prime customers.
Netflix (NFLX) is down 9% this morning on this news, because it used to have an exclusive on this Epix content. Now, it's been opened up to others such as Amazon and probably Verizon (VZ) and Coinstar (CSTR) for Redbox.
This is a big deal for Amazon, as it doubles the number of titles it is offering to Amazon Prime customers. Those customers are of great importance to Amazon, as they plunk down $80 a year in subscription fees and spend three times the amount that non-Prime customers do. Amazon also announced last week that its two-day express shipping for Prime customers is more popular than its cheaper shipping option.
If Amazon gets more Prime customers, it wins.
The location of the announcement is also noteworthy for Thursday's product announcement. It suggests that there will be even more video content announcements like the Epix deal between now and Thursday.
TechCrunch has speculated that Amazon will also announce support for Hollywood's UltraViolet initiative, which would let you buy your content once and then watch it on a number of devices. Hollywood would love Amazon's support. Still, most tablet makers will wonder why they should pay to stream a movie that a user bought on someone else's platform.
Perhaps Amazon will also announce that any past Amazon customers who have bought DVDs from the service can digitize them (for a fee) to watch on their Kindle Fires.
Amazon may also announce a smartphone that it seems to have been working on, but that seems unlikely. I'd put it at a 10%-20% probability, but if it pans out, it could provide a big boost for the stock.
The stock is at a 52-week high but will probably run up ahead of the announcement on Thursday.