The iPad ‘Killer’ Is Price

A PC World article argued that the “iPad Killers” are already dead before they’re launched because Apple is locking up the supply of components needed to make competing tablets. There’s also the separate question of whether competing tablets will measure up in terms of quality. However dozens of lower-cost Android tablets are anticipated over the next year. Specifically a new Augen Android tablet is reportedly coming to Kmart stores in the US. Positioned as an eBook reader it’s got full Web browsing capability and WiFi as well as access to all the Android apps. The price is $150. Here’s a video demonstration: There is unlikely to be any single Android tablet that “wins” in terms of overall user experience and quality vs. the iPad — though flash may play a larger differentiating role on tablets than it has one smartphones. But price will be a significant factor in buying behavior, as it always is. The market has been established by the iPad, now it’s “safe” for competitors to ape the iPad but at lower price points. And if those devices are “good enough” the lower prices will be persuasive to many consumers who don’t want to pay more than $500 for a device that isn’t a full computer replacement. Price reductions have been the driving factor in Kindle’s recent sales success, having dipped to $189 (it will likely fall further). I imagine we’ll see a decent sub-$100 Android tablet emerge at some point as well. Price competition will likely mean millions of tablets in US homes over the next several years, with corresponding implications for advertising and e-commerce.