How much would Hardware 2,0 users be willing to pay for a Windows 8 tablet? Well, the votes are in, and it should make Microsoft and hardware OEMs sit up and pay close attention to the pricing of Windows 8 tablets:
The largest group of voters, 38% of he total, said that they would only be willing to pay between $200 and $399 for a Windows 8 tablet, while another 27% would be willing to go up as high as $599.
Only 16% of those who responded to the poll (over 1,400 voted) would pay $600, while only 5% would be willing to put down $800 or more for a Windows 8 powered tablet.
So the majority of Hardware 2.0 readers would be willing to pay the sort of money for a Windows 8 tablet that that they would expect to spend on an Amazon Kindle Fire Android tablet ($199) or a 32GB WiFi iPad 2 ($599). The readers have spoken, and I agree with them.
The $599 end of that price range should allow OEMs to grab a decent profit margin, but at the $200 price range OEMs would have to slash their wrists to bring Windows 8 tablets at these sorts of price point (even Amazon had to work hard to bring the Kindle Fire in under $200). The obvious price point for an entry-level Windows 8 tablet is $499, the same as the iPad, and this is what I would expect. If OEMs aim higher (like Motorola tried with the Xoom) then Windows tablets are once again likely to wither and die on the vine.
Note: All this hangs on the assumption that Apple doesn't throw a curve-ball and drop the price of the iPad at the next refresh. In which case, that would be a game-changer.
The price point for tablets has been set by Amazon and Apple ($199 for the Kindle Fire at the low end and $829 for the all-singing, all-dancing 3G iPad, with $499 being the sweet-spot). These are the prices as set by those who showed up to the tablet market early, and it's now way too late to start deviating from the script or setting new prices. If Windows 8 tablets come in at around the $500 mark, then I give them a chance. If OEMs get greedy and try to squeeze more from them ... well, they need to learn from what happened to Motorola with the Xoom and RIM with the PlayBook.