Now that just about everyone and their brother is selling tablets, the inevitable price wars will begin. Acer is off to an early start, according a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ is reporting that Acer is planning to launch the Iconia B1 Android tablet for just $99, a major price cut compared to 7-inch tablets like the $159 Amazon Kindle Fire. Unfortunately for U.S. consumers, the company is currently planning on releasing the Iconia B1 in emerging markets, though it has submitted the tablet to the FCC. The launch is designed to combat Asus' rumored low-price Android slate, which is supposedly also due next year, though an Asus spokesperson denied such reports.
The new budget tablet for developing economies marks a pivot for Acer in its tablet strategy. According to the Journal's unnamed source, the company is shifting from higher-profit devices as competitors like the Google Nexus 10 drag prices down.
Acer's push for cheaper tablets isn't limited to the Iconia B1. Another source told the Journal that the company is developing a new Intel-based Windows 8 tablet as its current versions are "too pricey." These include the Iconia W510, which is selling for $549 and up, and the Iconia W700, which starts at $800.
Even if the Iconia B1 never reaches American shores, the day when a major manufacturer releases a $99 tablet in the United States will soon be upon us. There are too many players in the market, and someone will be desparate enough to take the plunge in order to move units. Maybe it will be Acer after all, or another Android proponent like Lenovo. Or maybe Amazon will finally take the leap, and drop the Kindle Fire to an ad-supported $100.