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There's Never Been a Worse Time to Buy a Tablet

Steven Blum
8

"Kindle Fire? What's a Kindle Fire?"

It's hard to believe what the budget tablet market was like a mere nine months ago, when Amazon launched its Kindle Fire for $199. Everyone, including the staff here at AndroidPIT, was amazed that any tablet manufacturer had the ability to offer stellar (back then) technology for such an unbeatable price. 

But if current rumors are to be believed, the tablet market is going to become so cost-competitive over the next six months that barely anyone is going to remember the original Kindle Fire. Not only is Apple releasing an iPad Mini for under $300 in the next few months, but Engadget is reporting that Microsoft is going to release their Surface RT tablet on October 26th for just $199.

$199? Yes, $199– for a tablet that isn't only incredibly innovative hardware-wise, but that also debuts the new Windows 8 UI, which is going to most certainly be a global success. Still, that pricetag for that technology? Can you believe it?

This is Engadget we're talking about; a site which has spies in many of the largest American tech companies. While the source is anonymous, Engadget has a good rep. Microsoft, with global revenues of $73.7 billion in 2012 thus far, certainly has the money to release a stellar piece of technology for less than the price it cost to make it, and recoup that investment through liscencing deals with other computer manufacturers.

If this rumor turns out to be true, there will be so much price competition in the tablet world that everyone (your Mom, your dentist, even your grandma) is going to be buying a tablet in the next couple of months. They're going to be just that cheap. After all, the Surface RT tablet is just the tip of the iceberg. We're also going to be seeing an iPad Mini for under $400, the new Kindle Fire 2 (which will probably be revealed around the time of the iPad Mini) and the Nexus 10" tablet (rumored to cost $300).

Then you have to think about how Samsung and ASUS will respond to this price-gouging. I have no doubt that they will release budget versions of their tablets as well. The ASUS Transformer Prime price tag will no doubt be slashed. I can also see Samsung releasing a budget version of their Galaxy Tab 7.7 because, if anyone can afford to slash prices, it's Sammy.

All of this is potentially bad news for the Nexus 7. Reports indicate the tablet sold 600,000 units during July (after the 15th, when it actually began shipping), while August and September should boost that figure by 1.1 and 1.2 million respectively. With competition like this, who knows how long Google can keep up. Certainly releasing a 10" Nexus tablet will help, but Jelly Bean is not the best selling point when the competition is a new, cheaper iPad and the first Windows 8 device.

But for consumers, even die-hard Android fans like us, this is all great news. Indeed, there's never been a worse time to buy a tablet than right now. If you're considering buying the Nexus 7, I'd wait two months. Hell, even if you want to buy an ASUS Transformer, I'd wait. There's so much great technology (and prices) right around the corner that it simply makes no sense to buy a tablet today or tomorrow. No, we don't know for SURE that Windows is releasing their Surface RT tablet for $199, but even if it costs $400, other companies (like Apple and Amazin) are bringing new, cheaper tablets that will force the rest of the competition to slash their prices as well. I don't know what's going to happen, exactly, but I know it's going to be big – and I know that it's going to make tablets accessible to way more people than ever before. 

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Comments

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    Christopher Silva Aug 16, 2012 Link

    Yep, it's going to be be Tablet buying time end 2012 and begin 2013...

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  • Matthew Whitehouse Aug 16, 2012 Link

    Hmmm. I wonder how much I would get if I sold my tab 10.1 ?

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  • Eric McBride Aug 16, 2012 Link

    If it is in good shape, maybe $250-275.

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  • ljhaye Aug 16, 2012 Link

    This price war will put too much pressure on OEMs and many will exit the tablet business. We will also see the rise of more vertical integration ala Apple with Amazon and Microsoft. Maybe even Samsung with their Bada software will also join the party.

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  • Steven Blum Aug 17, 2012 Link

    Ljhaye, that's an interesting diagnosis. I, too, wonder how the likes of Acer and Sony are going to be able to compete with the new guys. The winners are the companies who can afford to drop their prices.

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  • Siobhan K. Aug 23, 2012 Link

    So, I should wait until the end of this year before purchaing my first tablet?

    I was just about to go out and get either the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or wait a couple of weeks for the Note 10.1. (I could not decide. And NOW you say wait!? I am soooo confused!!!)

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  • Xiaoding Xiao Aug 25, 2012 Link

    Perhaps, the Surface 8 Software will finally force Android to deal with it's glaring lack of Java support! With a Windows tablet, no need for android at all.

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  • Mark R. Oct 10, 2012 Link

    Personally, Android is the reason I am able to escape from Microsoft. I like the freedom of the Android OS. Between my cell and tablet, my Microsoft windows laptop is becoming extinct very fast. Being tied down to Microsoft is almost as bad as being tied down to the iwhatevers (Apple).

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