Are Android tablet makers igniting a price war?


Competition is good for consumers. In a bid to better compete with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and Toshiba Thrive, Acer is cutting the price of its 10.1-inch Iconia Tab A500 to $395, reports DigiTimes. It still aims to achieve its goal of shipping 2.5 – 3 million tablets in 2011. But not if Asus has anything to say about it. The manufacturer plans to lower the price of its own 10.1-inch Eee Pad Transformer (which has a full keyboard dock) in response to a perceived threat by Acer. It’s estimated that other tablet makers may cut the price of their offerings to better compete.

This spur in competitive price cutting has already begun. The first Android tablet to hit the market, the Motorola Xoom, was $700 when it launched, but competitors like the BlackBerry PlayBook quickly refused to exceed the $499 base price of the iPad 2. That may not have been good enough, as Acer’s Iconia Tab debuted for $449 and Asus launched its Eee Pad Transformer for $399 (+ $149 if you want the keyboard). Most recently, the Toshiba Thrive hit shelves for $429. Keep in mind that only the Xoom was released before April and even it is now priced at $499. At this rate of decline, a dual-core tablet could cost $299 by this fall, though such a price seems quite low. It’s worth noting that though these tablets are getting cheaper, they all share largely the same dual-core Tegra 2, 1GB RAM specs. There isn’t currently a whole lot separating the pack.

For what it’s worth, we’re most excited about the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. Out of all the tablets, it is the only one with a working keyboard attachment, which is a huge benefit for those on the hunt for a netbook-like device. Acer may have some tricks up its sleeve though. A couple months back, we were able to check out the 7-inch Iconia Tab in person and walked away fairly impressed that such a small device could run Android Honeycomb so well.

Are you interested in an Android tablet? What price are you waiting for?