Great Debate: Are $200 tablets a game changer?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | November 14, 2011 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: Do the arrival of Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Nobles' NOOKColor herald digital convergence for the rest of us? Jason Perlow and David Morgenstern face off.

Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow

Price is right


Not this time

David Morgenstern

David Morgenstern

Best Argument: Price is right

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

$200 is the magic price point

Jason Perlow: In 2010, Apple set off the "Big Bang" for the tablet industry, by introducing the iPad. While the consumer electronics giant did not create the tablet, they created the entire model for which all tablets must have today: an App store as well as cloud-based services to back it up.

However, at an entry point of $500, the iPad (and other full size Android tablets that followed) cannot ever be the  "People's Tablet" or the industry equivalent of the Volkswagen.

While cheaper than most desktops and laptops, iPad is still too expensive to stay the market leader. There is still a huge untapped market to fill for people that don't own a tablet at all and would prefer to spend considerably less money on a digital convergence device.

Indeed, $200 is the magic price point that will enable tens of millions of people to buy tablets and eventually propel us into the Post-PC era that Steve Jobs will establish as his true legacy.

It ain’t going to happen this time

David Morgenstern: Every couple of months there comes along a technology vendor with an announcement of a tablet that will knock the iPad off its dominating 75+ percent share of the market. It ain’t going to happen this time with Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Nobles' NOOKColor.

The problem for competitors is multifold -- even those as well-funded as Amazon and B&N, which have captive audiences in popular Internet storefronts. The Apple iOS/iPad combo is now a major computing platform for enterprise, business and consumer segments; the iPad is now integrated into many uses beyond simple content playback, including sci-tech and industrial segments. And its form factor is completely understandable by users. The iPad’s large user base make it attractive to developers, whether for consumer or business apps.

All these hurdles make it difficult for the competition, even devices with a smaller handprint. Perhaps other devices can find niches. Or maybe not.


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  • RE: Great Debate: Is Amazon's Kindle Fire the People's Tablet?

    $200 tablets are basically hardware storefronts. They may be a "game changer" but they're not raelly a challenge to the iPad. I do expect that we'll see a 7" iPad sooner or later, though. It's not the price of the $200 tablets that's most significant IMHO. The form factor is the more interesting aspect, and I think Apple is hurting itself by not recognizing that 7" tablets provide an ideal compromise between screen real-estate and portability that a 10" tablet cannot match.
    Reply Vote I'm for Not this time
    • $500 tablets are a rip-off.....

      .....because "somebody" can get away with it!
      "Major computing platform....?" lol
      Reply Vote I'm for Price is right
      • Kindle fire is a disappointment.

        At 250. Nook Color is the best buy so far. If they only added a mic and camera, Nook Color would be the best tablet!.

        Having said that. Asus Tablet at 300 is still the best buy around.
        Reply Vote I'm for Price is right
  • RE: Great Debate: Is Amazon's Kindle Fire the People's Tablet?

    The price is a significant factor. While the Fire is intentionally limited in scope, it does make you think about the trade-offs between price, form and function. As far as I'm concerned, I was never in the market for a small tablet (the 7" form-factor turned me off the first time I saw one), nor was I in the market for one of limited capability. But, with the price at $200 and, as an existing Prime customer I'm already part of Amazon's zombie army, I'm thinking I could do this. I wonder what the resale value of my year-old Kindle might be?

    Anyway, if I am ever going consider a tablet as a mobile productivity device (Apple need not apply), it's going to be 10" or larger. But Amazon is not pretending to be that sort of device; I'll look elsewhere when the time comes.
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • RE: Great Debate: Is Amazon's Kindle Fire the People's Tablet?

      @jvitous Kindle Trade-in value - not much. Between $20 and $100 depending on which model. Go here to find out how much Amazon will give you as a trade-in.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • RE: Great Debate: Is Amazon's Kindle Fire the People's Tablet?

    Yes it is a game changer. Tablets at $500+ were over priced for what they could do. Laptops could be had for the same price and do a whole lot more. $200 is a better price to consumers that want a tablet. It could still be a little cheaper though. Apple is going to face serious competition with the Kindle Fire mainly because of the price.
    Reply Vote I'm for Price is right
  • RE: Great Debate: Is Amazon's Kindle Fire the People's Tablet?

    It might be. Certainly more can afford it, but it all depends on if it has value for what the consumer needs. I personally refuse to buy iAnything, but I doubt I would buy this either because it most likely won't do what I want it to.
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Kindle is not an iPad - but...

    In no way is a Kindle an iPad killer or a substitute for it. Most likely it will drive people toward the iPad or other clone-like device after experiencing the feel of a "tablet" for reading and surfing. But the iPad does so much more and has such greater potential for uses. A Kindle is a Kindle is a Kindle. Yet, Amazon isn't stupid! Does anyone believe they are not working on a full-fledged tablet to really compete with Apple with a $400 product? The Kindle Fire is just an appetizer. Its a first step that will whet the appetite for people not ready to plunk down $500. (And yes, they'll end up spending more in the long run - just like all those who shelled out for a Kindle and will now upgrade to the Fire.) Kindle Inferno is next.
    Reply Vote I'm for Price is right
  • RE: Great Debate: Is Amazon's Kindle Fire the People's Tablet?

    Kindle Fire is the opening salvo of "good enough" tablets. It is really a no brainer for those already with Prime accts.

    I generally follow this line with my computer purchases as well. If I buy "good enough" this year, I can upgrade next year to something more powerful than the current "best" for the same money, have two devices and still spent less than if I'd gotten the best available at the time. Next year Fire II (or whatever) will be out also for $200 and be better than the current iPad2, Galaxys or Xooms. Will it be better than next year's batches of Tablets? No. But I'll still come out ahead.
    Reply Vote I'm for Price is right
    • Yup!

      I have a Transformer so I don't need one but I know a few folks who would - like said, it is a moderatively inexpensive step.
      Reply Vote I'm for Price is right