Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

Summary: HP's TouchPad now starts at $399. Acer's Iconia A100 starts at $329 (at least at Walmart and 8GB). And Vizio's 8-inch tablet can be had for $299. The screen sizes may vary, but the song is still the same: Tablet prices are coming down.

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HP's TouchPad now starts at $399. Acer's Iconia A100 starts at $329 (at least at Walmart and 8GB). And Vizio's 8-inch tablet can be had for $299. The screen sizes may vary, but the song is still the same: Tablet prices are coming down.

For tablet buyers---and anyone wanting to see Apple's iPad see a little competition---the price reality check is welcome. Vendors realize that Apple's supply chain prowess has led to a pricing advantage that's hard to beat and that plans to match the iPad on price just won't work. The upshot: These vendors have to take lower margins in an attempt to gain market share.

All tablets have some sort of weakness. Android has its quirks. Hardware is all over the map. Integration can leave a bit to be desired. Even the iPad, the market leader, has its issues---especially if you send your kid to NickJr.com and hope to play a Flash Dora the Explorer game.

See all tablet coverage

With prices falling we're at an interesting juncture in the market. At what price will these tablets look like values? Value in the technology space is all relative, but there's an intersection point where HP's TouchPad looks like a deal and consumers take the plunge.

Jason Perlow argues that HP should aim to be Pepsi to Apple's Coke. Where does that leave the Android army? Perhaps as generic soda pop.

In the end, I'm more than willing to look over flaws, slightly buggy software and other quirks if the price is right. That price for me is in the $250 ballpark. We're not to the realm of $200 workable tablets without too many compromises, but the market is headed in the right direction.

Add it up and $399 is the new $499 for tablets. By Christmas, $299 may be the equivalent of today's $499 tablet.

Here's a look at some of the latest contenders.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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34 comments
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  • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

    Good article. Thanks. PS: how do you think Samsung's case lose over Apple will play? There should be lower tablet availability right? How would that work price-wise if there is less competition?
    SinfoCOMAR
  • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

    seems if india can make tablets and sell them for 30 bucks, then we can only wonder what the profit margin's are for the ones sold by american manufacturer's.
    databaseben
    • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

      @databaseben@...

      I heard that was the subsidized price, not the real price. I heard the Indian government was subsidizing the cost of those $30.00 devices (which would make a lot more sense considering $30.00 seems ridiculously low for such a device).
      josh92
    • You wonder. We know.

      @databaseben@... <br><ul><i>if india can make tablets and sell them for 30 bucks</i></ul><p>You didn't really believe that, did ya? Do you have any idea what things cost? Just the materials cost -- at Apple's volume -- is well over $300 for the iPad.<br><br>The $30 tablet from India was a photo, a YouTube video, and a lot of news stories... a year ago. Has anyone actually seen such a device? No. Just like no one has ever seen the $10 laptop they promised before that.<br><br>The lousiest tablets -- small resistive screens, low resolution, slow processors, little RAM -- from the sleaziest Chinese "white box" houses sell for well over $200. How can anyone make a functional tablet for $30? Want the truth? They can't.
      Robert Hahn
      • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

        @Robert Hahn
        +1
        Ram U
  • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

    You just don't get it. Its not the price, well somewhat the price, but its the form factor. Tablets are not a good form factor, they only work in limited scenarios so no matter how cheap they get people still won't buy them unless you get sub $100.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

      @LoverockDavidson

      I suppose the book and magazine form factor has also been a problem right LD? Who would ever snuggle-up on the couch or in bed holding a book in hand to read (consume), it's a bad form factor and creates bad posture. How do students spend hours studying on these hardcover textbooks knowing that such a form factor is bad for consuming/learning? How did that Kindle device ever take off knowing such a form factor is bad, bad, bad for reading/consuming?

      - Logic
      dave95.
      • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

        @dave95.
        [i]I suppose the book and magazine form factor has also been a problem right LD? [/i]
        You got that right.

        Are you seriously trying to compare the fleixbleness of books and magazines to a hard sturdy and awkward to hold device like a tablet?

        -logic, get some.
        LoverockDavidson
      • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

        @LoverockDavidson<br><br>Last time I sat and held a book or magazine, I held it the same way I hold my iPad now LD. Either laying it flat on a table and looking down, no different from a book or mag (the IPS display comes in handy here). <br><br>Laying comfortably in bed reading and holding with both hands, no difference from a book or mag. <br><br>Or seating someplace comfortable like on a couch and again holding the tablet with one had and maneuvering the UI with the other. Again no different from how we use books/mags. <br><br>Do you hold your books with your feet when reading/consuming? <br><br>But certainly when Windows 8 drops, and all the Windows 8 tablets get released, it will be the greatest thing since,...... well since the iPad.
        dave95.
      • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

        @dave95.
        You may like to believe you are holding it the same way but your not. Magazines give you flexibility on how to hold it, if you want one page, both pages. Books are slightly different but still comfortable to hold. A tablet, well its just awkward to hold, even Steve Jobs demonstrated this when he first announced the ipad. Look at how uncomfortable he was sitting.

        [i]But certainly when Windows 8 drops, and all the Windows 8 tablets get released, it will be the greatest thing since,...... well since the iPad. [/i]
        Again, you got that right.
        LoverockDavidson
      • Lovecrock thinks the universe revolves around him

        The guy couldn't pick a winning product if his life depended upon it.

        @dave95.
        GoPower
    • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

      @LoverockDavidson Lots of people buy iPads. Look, a tablet is what it is. Either you have a use for one, in which case you buy one, or you don't and you don't buy one. Strangely enough, it is the purchaser's decision that matters, not yours.
      bargeemike
      • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

        @bargeemike
        Almost agreed but there are many people buying a tablet with no use for one. Although its their money and their decision they should be informed and know what they are getting themselves into first.
        LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

      @LoverockDavidson
      apparently you haven't used one for any significant period of time. I have a Nook (stock) and a Nook Color (running gingerbread, not honeycomb). Some people purchase them because they are 'cool', I could give a damn about cool, I purchased mine because they are functional. I use them for just about everything. The reason I haven't purchased a larger tablet is because I haven't come across anything I can't do with my NC that I need to.
      brentroger
      • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

        @brentroger
        I played with one for a little while at a store and that was enough for me to base my decision on them. Tablets are semi-functional. They work in limited uses and are by no means for the masses like the media wants you to believe.
        LoverockDavidson
    • Right...

      @LoverockDavidson.......and this is why Friday's Wall St. Journal reports that Apple sells every iPad it can make, at full price, no less. And why companies, large and small, are making them standard tools for employees for all kinds of uses. I know, I know, don't bother you with facts, your mind (?) is made up. Pathetic, really.
      frabjous
      • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

        @frabjous
        Still waiting to see these companies with them.
        LoverockDavidson
  • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

    "Jason Perlow argues that HP should aim to be Pepsi to Apple?s Coke."

    lol

    Based on what? HP should just be happy to be in the game at this point. HP feels a lot more like generic soda with their oddly-flavored WebOS than the Android tablets are.

    But, overall, price will always matter. If the consumer can't see the difference easily, the lower priced tablets will definitely win them over.

    In regards to functionality, I have little doubt that they are well on their way to winning out over laptops for the general consumer market. The tablet keyboard cases allow the tablets to more flexible, and, let's be honest, the majority of people don't need the local storage and processing power of the regular laptop for most of their needs. I'm guessing that many people will keep a primary Mac/PC or laptop, but will pick up the tablets with keyboard cases for the rest of their wants/needs.

    As games like Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies demonstrate, there is a huge market of people that are perfectly happy with low-CPU intensive games that can work over the internet or on a tablet.

    When I can pick up a decent quality tablet with keyboard case for $300 or less (and a decent data plan if those will exist in another year or so), I'll even end up getting one. It won't be a primary computer for me, but it is useful enough to take around.
    unbound55
    • RE: Next wave of tablets land: Will lower prices equate to volume?

      @unbound55 Tablets are not laptop replacements. They are a thing in themselves. This is why most iPad competitors aren't. They try to be something they aren't, laptops, instead of simply being tablets.
      bargeemike
  • Sad, Pathetic & Stupid

    Tablet manufacturers' race to bottom for zero profits compounded by a lame ecosystem, is like deja vu all over again. Review the success story of the iPod Touch for how this will all turn out.
    Delvardo