Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

Summary: I recently shared about the price consumers are willing to spend on tablets, and with information leaking out that OEMs are determined to price themselves out of contention I can't keep quiet.

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Last month I shared what I believe to be true about the price consumers will be willing to spend on tablets, and with information slowly leaking out that OEMs are determined to price themselves out of contention I can't keep quiet. My original rant was based on information at the time that the Motorola XOOM was going to be priced at an entry point of $799. I explained why I think that is too high, even for a well-equipped device. Now we are hearing that the XOOM will be retailing in Best Buy for $1199, an insane figure.

LG is showing off its upcoming Optimus Pad at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and it looks really nice with an unusual 8.9-inch screen. The insanity with Android tablet pricing continues, however, as word comes that the LG tablet will sell for €999 ($1350) in Europe. This is so far out in left field that it's clear the Android tablet genre may be doomed for failure on a massive scale.

Is the problem that vendors are cramming too many high-cost components (or features) in tablets to try to stand out? If so that is a strategy doomed to failure, as it prices the device out of the range consumers will be willing to pay. Apple set the standard with pricing on the iPad, and no matter how any competing device compares with the iPad it better be priced similarly. That means $499 for an entry level model (Wi-Fi only), and well under $1,000 for a fully equipped version.

Tablets are a different class of product that affect how consumers approach the purchasing process. They do not replace an existing class of product, so no price comparison works. It becomes more of a marketing process to stimulate an impulse purchase, and $500 is the magic price point to make that happen. Android tablet makers may be killing the genre before it even gets started. As analyst Michael Gartenberg is fond of stating, a company can sell 50,000 of anything, a point of view I share. But that sales volume is nothing in the consumer electronic space.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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64 comments
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  • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

    At this point I feel like all the manufacturers of Android (and other) tablets have succeeded in doing is having made Apple's pricing look good.. It's a shame that not one has yet proven competitive at matching the de facto entry-level pricing for tablets.
    Ghaleon_R
    • I am still hoping that one manufacturers will deliver a $400, 10" Android

      tablet, WiFi ONLY. The problem is Apple is doing the supply chain like nobody else can.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

        Well, Android requires a lot more processing power than the iPad. The iPad is 1ghz, 256 ram. The processing power in a Xoom is crazy but probably necessary.

        There are a number of low end, wifi only Android tablets on the market. It's not hard to find an Android tablet for less than $200. Quality is hit and miss and they aren't supported by any carriers, but you can find them.
        retnep
      • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

        @DonnieBoy Viewsonic g. Better specs than ipad and much cheaper.
        giagejoe
      • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

        @DonnieBoy Grab a Viewsonic G Tablet - $350, 10.1" dual-core 1GHz. Has a micro-SD slot and a real USB port as well so you can plug in a USB memory stick to load up movies, photos or documents.
        tonymaro
  • May just a place holder price and not the "real" price.

    We will see. Or it could be a ploy to get the sheep to think 800 USD is a good price.
    Bruizer
    • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

      @Bruizer
      Ah, you've decided to use your brain, unlike the author of this rant. Price anchoring is an old trick. Also, they are quoting the prices for the decked-out version. Wait for the Wi-Fi only version.

      p.s.-the most expensive iPad is $830.
      http://goo.gl/0OQi7
      Kangaruhs
      • That iPad does not sell well

        @Kangaruhs

        ASP of the iPad is 620 or so. The wifi only Galaxy Tab never showed. Will the Xoom?
        Bruizer
      • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

        @Kangaruhs

        Yup, raise the price even more to make the $800 entry price look reasonable. These guys are truly delusional if they think this will work.

        I think the author's rant is very valid still. $800 is way too much to pay.
        dave95.
  • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

    Those are TabletPC prices, which now have i5s, 4GB, Windows 7, and pen control + touch. You also get a real hard drive or SSD in a format that can be upgraded.

    THere's something wrong with LGs pricing. It may just be confined to them alone.
    macwilson
    • Windows 7 is a non-starter here, and Apple's tablet for $499 is very good,

      the right software and hardware to do the trick. You have to make a tablet (WiFi only) for under $500 to compete.
      DonnieBoy
      • DB, in you quest against all things MS

        @DonnieBoy you may have missed what he was saying:

        At these prices why would anyone want an Android tablet with it's limitations, when the same price gets you a full blown PC in tablet form that can do everything the Android tablet can, plus more?

        They need to drop the price of Android tablets to much lower then a tablet PC
        John Zern
      • But didn't you know?

        @John Zern Win 32 is on a massive downward spiral according to sources which I am not a liberty to name much less link to so you are just going to have to take my word for it... oh wait, there's a 64 bit version too? Well then that too is simply doomed to failure. /acting like a troll

        Wow, that made my head hurt... LOL
        athynz
      • Meanwhile, nobody cares about Win32/64 on tablets, they just buy iPad.

        Windows tablets have only sold in very small niches.
        DonnieBoy
      • You're right DB, what was I thinking?

        @DonnieBoy
        It's not like those same Tablets PC's wouyld run Linux, or anything else.
        You know what Linux I'm talking about, the ones Like Ubuntu that doesn't need to run legacy Win32 apps, but are more capable then Android tablets.

        http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/11/canonical-making-full-fledged-ubuntu-tablet-push-in-early-2011/

        Do they count?
        John Zern
      • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

        @DonnieBoy<br>What you say might be true with regard to the consumer market, but you are naive to ignore the business computing market. Hospitals, insurance companies, doctor's offices, and even restaurants and auto service dealerships buy tablets in mass quantities. And they want Windows 7 professional because the OS has a cursor, can join a network domain, and can run their software. The problem is availability--the HP 500 is shipping and has a 4 week waiting list. The Asus EP121 is shipping and has a 6 week waiting list. Unfortunately, neither of these has decent battery life, and neither has a battery which can be changed. We are just waiting for a decent product!
        Photog7
  • genre

    i am still convinced that there isn't such thing as a tablet market per se. it wasn't there and probably won't be. people buy the ipad, they don't buy tablets. so all the hope of the copycats to get a free ride on apple's innovations again will falter and the end of 2011 will see 30 million ipads sold but not many of the bad, patent infringing copies (that even cost more than the real thing).
    banned from zdnet
    • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

      @banned from zdnet Wow, you don't sound like Apple flag carrier at all. Even as far as saying "Apple's innovations" and "patent infringing copies". Wow, just wow.
      cbstryker
      • wow just wow

        @cbstryker way to address his points. wow. just wow.
        sportmac
      • RE: Rant: Android tablet pricing will kill the genre

        @cbstryker I share his POV, even though I am definitely not an Apple flag-carrier. There is no "nu-tablet" market. It has been completely fabricated by the tech press. There is an iPad, which people tend buy.
        OxBAADFOOD