Cheap Kindles, expensive Nokia

Sometimes prices can be surprising.

The first bit comes from iSuppli, the company that tears apart gadgets and tells the public how much the parts cost. They recently estimated that the newly redesigned $79 Apple iPod Shuffle costs just $21 to make. Today, iSuppli announced that the Amazon Kindle's guts cost just $185. The thing retails for $359! That gives Amazon a profit margin of close to 50 percent.

What are Kindle users paying for? Research and design, for one thing. But also the Sprint wireless access that comes bundled with each Kindle, that allows users to purchase books and newspapers on the fly. Royalties on the chips used in the device should also be factored into the equation, as Business Week points out.

Even with those costs accounted for, analysts say the hefty padding leaves room for Amazon to make a price reduction in the later this year, while still holding on to profitability. As Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney told The Wall Street Journal, "Amazon is making a profit on both the razors and the razor blades."

Old-school Nokias highly sought-after

What would you pay for a secondhand cellphone with no Wi-Fi, GPS, camera, or even a color screen?

Does $32,413 sound fair?

A Dutch investigator recently observed someone shell out that much for the low-end candy-bar-style phone. The handset, it's alleged, is uniquely hackable, allowing those with the know-how to conduct "illegal online banking transfers," according to PC World.

Models of the Nokia 1100 manufactured in 2003 at a Bochum, Germany factory can reportedly be reprogrammed with someone else's phone number. They can then be used to intercept transaction authentication numbers (TAN), the one-time-use passwords many European banks text-message to customers. The result, apparently, can bring big returns for the hacker.

Nokia has said they don't know why the 1100, a model targeted at developing markets and originally sold for less than $130, would be commanding such a high price now, and denied any security flaws. "We have not identified any phone software problem that would allow alleged use cases," the company said Tuesday in an emailed statement to PC World.

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