Get ready for the $50 Android tablet Black Friday 2013 deal -- again

Get ready for the $50 Android tablet Black Friday 2013 deal -- again

Summary: Specials from Walmart and Toys "R" Us list no-name 7-inch slates for cut-rate prices coming for the holiday shopping season. Will you be buying one?


When Intel recently predicted $99 tablets for the upcoming holiday season, it must have forgotten last year's deals. Those included a $49 7-inch Android tablet Black Friday special from Walmart, not to mention a $69 one from OfficeMax.

A year later, such deals look like they're coming back. Walmart already has some pre-Black Friday online specials available, including an Android tablet from third-tier brand Xelio for the familiar $49 price. Like last year's Black Friday deal, it includes an anemic 4GB of onboard storage, but this year's model offers a roomier 10.1-inch screen.

Likewise, the leaked Toys "R" Us Black Friday ad shows a Polaroid-branded Android tablet for $49.99, though this one is a 7-inch slate (again, with just 4GB of user-accessible storage). And regional retailer H.H. Gregg has a 7-inch Android tablet on sale for $69.99 as part of its pre-Black Friday special. (Yes, it has 4GB of storage as well.)

With most Black Friday deals still under wraps, these appear to be early indicators of more cut-rate tablet specials to come. They're invariably using Android for obvious reasons, though they're more likely to use an older version of the OS that is powered by basic specs (no Retina-quality displays, no latest quad-core processors). Given their status as the anti-iPad in terms of price and cachet, what is the impact of these bargain-basement tablets?

Market research firms like IDC have seen that such budget tablets are the reason that Android will surpass iOS as the top tablet platform and that once-hot eReaders are on the ropes. Gartner sees the tablet market bifurcating into budget and premium segments, not unlike the global cellphone market. 

It's tricky to track down sales info for budget tablets in the U.S., but for what it's worth, the Xelio tablet Walmart discounted to $49 is already unavailable online. With Apple showing little interest in reducing prices, developing markets and those who can't afford its iPads (or even Google or Samsung's premium Android tablets) can join the tablet revolution on the cheap via what one tech blogger is calling "the featurephones of tablets."

For basic Internet access, reading digital books and viewing online video, a $50 Android tablet may be enough, even if it's barely enough. For kids who will be happy with any tablet, and not just an iPad, budget models could make a good holiday gift. Will one be on your shopping list? Let us know in the Talkback section below.

Topics: Tablets, Android, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Amazon has many listed from $44 on up

    Just search on "tablets" or Zeepad.
    • I know exactly what to do with it.

      My shed is uneven on one side of exactly the thickness of this crap. I'll buy one just to make my shed even. I don't think it could be used for anything else.
      • You're gonna spend $50 on shim?

        That tells me a lot, not necessarily about the tablet.
  • People should read reviews from similar tablets from (kindof) known brands

    In the end, you get what you pay for. Most have a 90 day (parts only) warranty for a reason.
    • Well

      There are some that are decent if you don't want high definition screens and don't care about higher end gaming.
  • Not worth it

    Pure junk.A waste of money and time.
    • its good for the poor.

      we are like snobs, poo-pooing these cheap sort of things- needing our luxury iPads, etc. These could be someone's lifeblood - like nigerian email scammers need to make a living too.
  • £50 is below Mini number

    Yes, it will have a worse screen than even the iPad Mini !
    • Actually

      You can find some that have the same resolution on a smaller screen. These $50 tablets are likely the $100 tablets for some stores marked down. The Polaroid is lame and can be had at big lots cheap.
  • for some folks...

    ...this fits the bill. They can't afford even the lower end tablets, but need one for various reasons (school, can't afforda laptop, etc.). I don't like the cheapness of them, but I'm not buying one.

    If I needed a tablet and couldn't afford a decent one, I'd buy cheap.
  • Makes a useable 7" touchscreen if nothing else!

    Of course you have to do your own interface, but....
  • Cheap tablet

    If I could find one with a SD slot, and 4GB internal, and Wi-Fi with a screen resolution over 1024x768, I would probably be willing to part with $100, or less. It would be nice to have one that was light, and sleek, but as long as it is lighter than my laptop, and larger than my iPhone 5 screen, I might be interested. It is a way of sampling the Android ecosystem without a large financial investment. At $49 it would be an impulse buy.
    • So close - but i bet focalprice has one

      $96 7" 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, 1024x600, RK3066 dual core, Android 4.2.2 ... and PiPo has a decent rep, in the context of the cheap-o grey market. So close - and I bet has what you're looking for.
    • Found one, at Walmart

      Ha! $99 8" 1024x768, 1GB RAM, 8GB flash, SD slot, mini-hdmi out, Android 4.1 ... and actually, pretty well rated with lots of customer reviews.

      Hmm ... i might just drop a Franklin on this. Looks pretty nice. If you buy it, come back and post a review!
      • Nextbook 7

        8 GB flash, 1 GB ram, Android 4.1, $70 at Wallyworld last June. I stuck it in my pants pocket and wrote mail from Uganda and Belgium, took fair pictures (only front VGA camera), skyped, surfed, read books, did genealogy and read maps... got my money's worth I guess.
        • There's a perfect use for the low-end.

          Drag these things out in environments where you're only going to be web browsing and won't care if something happens to it. At these prices, I might break down and get one for out in the garage or tailgating.
  • HiSense at Walmart

    Following up on comments on a ZDNET article two months ago I tried Pipo 10 inch and HiSense Pro and HiSense Lite 7 inch. Pipo sort of weak. HiSense is everything I wanted. The Pro at $129 has an excellent 5 MP rear camera, all the slots I might want, good speed, good looking screen. The Lite is $79, lacks the camera but otherwise it's all good.
    My iPad adoring wife now runs around the house with the HiSense Pro and apparently can't tell she's not using a $339 device with a hint of genus malus. So buy lots so HiSense keeps making them and Walmart keeps stocking them.
  • Commodity

    Tablets today are going through the same differentiation and pricing scheme that calculators did in the 1980's.

    P.S. You can still buy an expensive (read 'premium') calculator if that's what you want.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • The sweet spot

    This holiday season will be in the price zone between the Kindle Fire and the iPad mini. Those two tablets define the bottom and top prices for the bulk of holiday tablet sales. The iPad air will do well, but the smaller tablets will be the top tech gift this year. Windows tablets will sell far less than the 16 million MS hopes for.

    Not everyone will agree. I am content to wait until January and see the sales results posted
  • As a consumption device its a good deal

    If all you do is watch Netflix, read Kindle books and listen to music, this is worth it. These are perfect for camping, taking on the road, whatever.
    A Gray