There’s a new sheriff in town folks, and that new sheriff is the cheap tablet.
Let’s face it, 2011 was a messy year for tablets. Apple did pretty well with the iPad of course. HP took a hit with their HP TouchPad. Oh, and RIM got quite a black eye with their BlackBerry Playbook.
Both the HP TouchPad and the BlackBerry Playbook were positioned to compete with the iPad. However, they weren’t as good as the iPad. So they got stomped.
But in getting stomped, HP showed the world that tablets other than the iPad could sale – if the price was right. When the price of the TouchPad dropped $99, they were plenty of buyers!
Then Amazon introduced their Kindle Fire for $199. Barnes & Noble put out their Nook Tablet for $249. In doing so, they confirmed what everyone was beginning to see for themselves. Shoppers will flock to tablets other than the iPad, if they’re cheaper. And they don’t even seem to mind if the tablet is weaker, or doesn’t have all the latest bells and whistles.
So a new generation of tablets is being born. Rather than relying on all the latest whiz-bang technology, the selling point is price.
The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet have gotten an early start on this wave. They’ll soon be joined by other tablets, and these new tablets will not be tied to branded content in the manner that the Fire and the Nook Tablet are.
Regular NFS readers will already be familiar with one of these new tablets. It’s called the Novo7. It’s not on the US market yet, but is expected within the next few months at a price of $99. The cool thing about it, other than the price, is that it comes loaded with the new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Like the Fire and the Nook Tablet, this tablet has a 7 inch screen.
Another tablet, which was introduced today and is expected to show up in stores by December 20, is the Nextbook Premium 9. This one is from a company called E FUN. The 9 inch screen provides quite a bit more real estate, but is priced not much more than the Nook Tablet. E FUN says the ‘street price’ will be $279.99. It comes with a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB memory, 4 GB of storage that is expandable to 32 GB on an SD card, and a 2 megapixel camera. Not high-tech hardware by today’s standards, but functional. The trade-off for the price. It comes loaded with Android 2.3. It’s a shame it doesn’t have Android 4.0 on board from the start.
Next year may be the year of the cheap tablet. More will surely come out. However, we expect that the lower-cost tablets will simply whet the appetite of shoppers. Later they’ll come back for bigger, better, faster… and be willing to pay for it.