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Handhelds The Almighty Buck

Are Tablets Just Too Expensive? 549

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-wait-for-them-to-come-out-with-subtablets dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Over at PCWorld they're asking a simple but valid question: Are tablets just too expensive? They point out that, weight-for-weight, pure silver is cheaper than most tablets, and that, like jewelery, tablets are highly thievable. The worst thing might be that the nascent tablet platform gets written-off as a high-priced niche for people with more money than sense."
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Are Tablets Just Too Expensive?

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  • by msauve (701917)
    silver is going up in price. Your new tablet will be worth it's weight in base metal in a year or two.
    • by spun (1352)

      Doubtful. Silver is pretty cheap. Even if it doubles in price, lots of things will still be more expensive than silver, by weight. Heck, a good kitchen knife is more expensive than silver by weight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kthreadd (1558445)

      Last time I tested my brick of silver could not connect to the 802.11 network that we have here, until they do I find the tablet much more useful.

      • by mcvos (645701)

        Yeah. I don't see why inert metal should be more valuable than a compact yet very functional device.

        I don't understand gold either.

        • Re:But... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Aqualung812 (959532) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:50PM (#35245500)

          I don't understand gold either.

          There are many reasons for it. NPR's "Planet Money" did a podcast asking the question "Why Gold?", and came to the conclusion that even if they had it to do all over again, gold is pretty much the best metal for using as a currency. It is rare, but not too rare, it is very inert, and it is easy to identify.

          Podcast: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/02/07/131363098/the-tuesday-podcast-why-gold [npr.org]

          I didn't get it before until I listened to that.

          • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by adonoman (624929) on Friday February 18, 2011 @02:05PM (#35245748)

            It is rare, but not too rare, it is very inert, and it is easy to identify.

            That's why fiat currency is so great. It's exactly as rare as we decide it should be. It can be made easy to identify and hard to forge. It's not exactly inert, but in a paper currency, that's a benefit, as the supply can be reduced through attrition. To link a paper currency to gold just removes our ability to adjust its rarity. Gold is great in a collapsed society that can't rely on a central authority to limit the money supply, but in a civilized country, it's just too limited.

            The only problem comes in when people can't agree how rare the currency should be. Some people think we have too much, some think there's too little, others think there should be no choice in the matter and it should be set based on a pile of gold bars stashed away being unhelpful to anyone.

            • by bberens (965711)
              Give me control of a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.
              ~Mayer Amschel Rothschild (alleged)
            • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by jjohnson (62583) on Friday February 18, 2011 @02:49PM (#35246492) Homepage

              By adjusting the fractional reserve requirements for banks in a gold-backed currency, you can increase or reduce the money supply just as easily as with a fiat currency. This is why the goldbugs are such total morons: They imagine that there's some limit on the money supply based on the limit of the gold supply; unless you have a 1:1 correspondence between gold and dollars (an economically crippling thing in itself), there's no effective limit because you can always adjust the ratio--just like with a fiat currency.

            • Re:But... (Score:4, Funny)

              by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday February 18, 2011 @03:06PM (#35246740)

              Fiats are indeed rare in the US, but not too rare, and easy to identify by their cheap-yet-econmical styling.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by CAIMLAS (41445)

              That's why fiat currency is so great. It's exactly as rare as we decide it should be.

              You mean the government can do so; it's called currency/market manipulation, and it tends to not work out so well for the little people.

              It can be made easy to identify and hard to forge.

              Money is historically very, very easy to forge. Gold, on the other hand, can't be in a fashion that some simple tests can verify.

              It's not exactly inert, but in a paper currency, that's a benefit, as the supply can be reduced through attrition.

              How is that a benefit? It then takes value out of the economy (again) to print more. You've absolutely no way to get a positive ledger simply through the operation of the system, without stealing/pulling from someone else's ledger.

              If you view "cur

          • Bullshit.... (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Gold is of little practical use. If people didn't use it for jewelry it would have no attractiveness at all. It is hardly ever used in dentistry any more. Only very small amounts are used in electronics, and only for it's conductivity and anti-oxidation attributes. And as an actual currency (as in coins) people used to file small amounts of gold off large numbers gold coins, effectively stealing money from the money itself!

            The only reason gold is valuable is because there are enough people out there tha

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Culture20 (968837)
              Add to this the idea that if gold is used as currency, a newly discovered mine is essentially causing inflation. Take the old D&D trick of Dragon Hoard Inflation; a great way to make players not spend their money all in one town lest they destroy it (a mug of ale costs 20 gold pieces, and in some cases gold pieces become so common that silver and copper are more valuable). Gold is convenient because it's easier to carry than a goat, and easier to use as "proof of work done for someone" than carrying t
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by stewbacca (1033764)

            Also from NPR on Gold:

            "Every self-respecting tenured faculty member in economics this country, almost without exception, would laugh [the gold standard] out of court."

            "Most economists agree that the gold standard was one of the causes of the Great Depression."

            "The world only emerged from the Great Depression when countries started going off the gold standard. And he rattles off this long list of countries — Britain, the U.S., Japan, France and others — that started to recover from the Depression

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moryath (553296)

        Tablets are currently closed systems for the most part.

        Give me an open system and we'll talk.

        • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday February 18, 2011 @02:02PM (#35245710)

          Tablets are currently closed systems for the most part.

          Give me an open system and we'll talk.

          What is there to to talk about? You don't seem to be the target demographic of tablets. "Open" brings nothing to the table for an end "user". Absolutely nothing. It also is no substitute for a rich and powerful API with deep access to OS functionality.

          Speaking as a developer of enterprise systems, I would always prefer access to a complete API that allows me to do what I need to get done rather than having to rely partially on API calls and partially on direct calls to the internal database/private APIs. The main reason why you want to stick to a public API is that have a much higher chance having your code break when a update or new version comes a long when you access unexposed internals than sticking with the public API.

          Open systems tend to encourage programmer laziness on the part of both the third party developers and developers of the platform and end users end up suffering because of it with bugs and incompatibilities when a new update is released.

      • by kenj0418 (230916)

        Last time I tested my brick of silver could not connect to the 802.11 network that we have here...

        Sure it can. Once. If you throw it hard enough.

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by beelsebob (529313) on Friday February 18, 2011 @02:25PM (#35246104)

      Oh my god, a Xeon X5690 weighs only a few grammes and costs $1700, that's 4 or 5 times the price of gold! How dare they make them so expensive!

  • I don't think they are "too" expensive. I just don't see why I would buy a tablet that does the same thing my HTC Evo already does...
    • You know how when you got your EVO, you were like "OMG, this bigger screen is awesome!". well, you can figure the rest out.
      • by mace9984 (1406805)
        Very true. I think I meant to mention the screen size as being the only real difference but I neglected to. Speaking of screen size though, that's almost a problem in itself. I can throw me evo in my pocket and carry it around without too much of a hassle. With a tablet I'm going to be either carrying it in my hand, or carrying it in a bag all the time neither of which is very convenient. As a side note, I think that was a verbatim quote of what I said when I got my evo lol...
        • by RapmasterT (787426) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:42PM (#35245352)
          My iPad never leaves my coffee table. I've seen people using them at work, but honestly unless you're planning on doing stuff while walking around, a laptop/netbook will serve better.

          That being said though, the tablet format is the ideal couch computing device. Sure, I could use my EVO, and frequently do while my girlfriend has the ipad, but screen real estate really does have value. Hell, try to use an RDP client on the EVO, it's an exercise in masochism, while on the ipad it works great.
          • by DdJ (10790)

            My iPad never leaves my coffee table. I've seen people using them at work, but honestly unless you're planning on doing stuff while walking around, a laptop/netbook will serve better.

            Depends. At the office, I've replaced my laptop with an iPad, and I'm quite happy with the results.

            Yeah, I need to type a lot sometimes, so I have a bluetooth keyboard. This lets me enter text as quickly on my iPad as I would on a laptop.

            So what's the advantage?

            Well, sometimes I'm doing things for which a tablet is better su

        • I think I meant to mention the screen size as being the only real difference but I neglected to

          Well, maybe it's the 'only real difference', but it is a significant one. It's sorta like how the most significant difference between a car and a pick-up truck is the flat bed in a back. Not a big change, but it affects the design enough that you end up finding out that the machine has different strengths.

          I wasn't sold on the iPad when it came out, figured my iPhone was essentially an iPad Nano. Then somebody got one for Christmas and, to my surprise, I dig it. It's definitely entertaining. If it went m

    • This. I currently own a 3.7" smartphone, and it does everything I could ever want from a pocketable device. As soon as I need a separate bag, I'm taking a machine that does everything I need in all other respects... when an ARM tablet can do everything my Win7/XP/Ubuntu laptops do, I might consider buying one.

      Until then, they don't have any place in my day-to-day gear, because the only advantage they offer over my smartphone (ZOMG, bigger screen!) is also a huge disadvantage, because they're too big to take

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:26PM (#35245092)

    They point out that, weight-for-weight, pure silver is cheaper than most tablets,

    I've also noticed that compared to a microwave oven, tablets are mediocre at thawing frozen dinners.

  • But, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FTWinston (1332785)

    The worst thing might be that the nascent tablet platform gets written-off as a high-priced niche for people with more money than sense.

    I wrote off the IPad precisely as described as soon as it was announced!

    • +1 And I'm going to probably do so for the next 3-5 years, until tablets actually become useful instead of an expensive toy that is less usable than a net-book.
      • +1 And I'm going to probably do so for the next 3-5 years, until tablets actually become useful instead of an expensive toy that is less usable than a net-book.

        People buy products based on their strengths, not their total capabilities. Funny how you've already forgotten the lesson we learned with smartphones and laptops.

        You netbook lot keep looking at what tablets don't have instead of understanding what they do have, that's why you don't understand, and why you keep repeating yourself over and over and over again. It's good to know we'll get to hear you keep bleating on about it for the next 3 to 5 years.

    • Re:But, but... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:34PM (#35245226)
      I agree. I was beginning to doubt that until a particular friend of mine went out and bought one. When it first came out he was excited by it, but he said that he was going to wait for the "killer ap" to come out for it. Six months later he went out and bought one. I asked him what the "killer ap" was and he said, "Well, it does this and it does that." All things that fell into one of three classes. Either his laptop or his Iphone already did them in ways that totally suited his needs or it was a functionality that was purely for play. He bought one because his sense of "cool" could not stand being without one any longer.
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday February 18, 2011 @03:21PM (#35247010)

        We've a few faculty that have purchased iPads. For all of them it is just a toy. They all continue to keep and use their desktop and laptop computers, one of them even has a netbook in addition to his laptop that he still keeps and uses. I've never seen them do any work with them, never even use them for a presentation which seems to be where they'd be most useful. They always travel with their laptops since they need them.

        So the tablets are just tech gadgets, just toys. None of them have presented a convincing case as to what they want it for, what they'd use it for.

        Nothing wrong with toys, but call it what it is. I've heard lots of hype about how amazingly useful they are in terms of productivity and so on but I've never met anyone who replaced their laptop with one for doing work. In actuality they all just get used for noodling around with, and often set aside.

        Our student is the funniest. He's a big time Apple zealot and of course got one as soon as it came out. Talked up a storm about how awesome it was and how it would revolutionize so many things, including gaming because "You can use all 10 fingers!" (apparently I don't on my keyboard according to him). He'd bring it to work all the time and usually use it to do e-mail, it was amusing watching him use the on screen keyboard at about 10-20wpm when he can type 80+ on a real keyboard.

        However these days, the iPad is not seen at work. He doesn't bother to bring it in anymore. Apparently as "revolutionary" as it may be, a normal computer is still what is called for here. The reality is, of course, he got it as a toy and it isn't useful to carry it in and now that the shiny new factor has worn off it just sits around his house.

    • by unassimilatible (225662) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:44PM (#35245398) Journal
      Great call, the things are selling like hotcakes. Gartner says sales will quadruple in 2011.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Great call, the things are selling like hotcakes. Gartner says sales will quadruple in 2011.

        And I gather that the Dow will hit 36,000 by 2010.

        Extrapolation is always risky.

        • by unassimilatible (225662) on Friday February 18, 2011 @02:22PM (#35246040) Journal
          My AAPL stock is up like 40 fold in the last 20 years. So yeah, I'll go with Steve Jobs' vision instead of yours, if it's all the same to you, Nostradamus.
          • by MikeURL (890801)
            Congratulations. Seriously.

            However it is worth pointing out that Apple stock cannot repeat that performance from here. That isn't to say you can't make a nice return, and Apple may eventually be worth more than Exxon. But Apple is never going to be worth 40 times more than Exxon (and by never I mean in most of our lifetimes).

            Then again I guess you can stick a pin in this comment and beat me up with it in 15 years. I'm just going by what happens once a stock becomes an ultra large cap. There gener
  • A gallon of gasoline is much cheaper than a tablet, and will actually get you someplace if you have a vehicle to put it in. That doesn't mean that gas is too cheap.

    • by mcvos (645701)

      On its own, gasoline won't get you very far. Ideally, you should have a car or motorbike to put it in.

      Although I imagine that cars are also cheaper per kilogram than tablets.

      • by Americano (920576)

        In fairness, a gallon of gasoline and a match can get you to prison, or the afterlife, even without a vehicle to put it in. That could be pretty far.

  • It should also be noted that owning a hunk of silver doesn't cost you an additional $30/month data plan.

    Yes, tablets are too expensive. But it's early days for them yet. Blame Apple's marketing department for making a bleeding-edge gadget into a mainstream must-have item. They'll stabilize in price eventually.

    • It should also be noted that owning a hunk of silver doesn't cost you an additional $30/month data plan.

      Tablet's don't have to require that data plan. The iPad has a wifi-only version, and there's been a wifi-only version of the Galaxy Tab about to be released "any day now" (for the last 6-8 months).

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:28PM (#35245138)

    pure silver is cheaper than most tablets

    What is the point of that argument? It is a worthless apples to Volkswagens comparison.

    .
    It looks like PCWorld may be trying to get page hits by jumping on the tablet bandwagon, and they are just trying to say something different, anything so long as it is different. Unfortunately for PCWorld, they forgot to make their article relevant.

  • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:28PM (#35245140)
    Film at 11.
  • Obviously tablets are too expensive if you don't have a real need for one; my i5 laptop with a GPU that's capable of playing modern games and a 640GB hard drive cost less than some of the tablets in TFA.

    OTOH if you really must have the tablet format, then they're no more expensive than a laptop.

  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:30PM (#35245158) Homepage
    I work with baseball players and it's extremely helpful to be able to put some clips and pictures on a tablet and take that out to the field to show them what I want to do. I used to do that with my iTouch, but an iPad is better because of the bigger screen. An iPad is also lighter and cheaper than a laptop.

    Maybe a tablet is overkill for some applications, but it's not for the ones I use it.

    This is the general problem with cost-based thinking rather than value-based thinking.
    • Was it too hard to hold the laptop up? I think I'm missing your point...

      I realize it might be 'handy', but that difference does not justify a new purchase. And if you didn't have a laptop and were to be making a choice between the two types of devices, I wonder if the actual PROS/CONS of the tablet would outweigh those of a laptop. I should note that a physical keyboard is extremely handy for *most* portable computing uses --- like e-mail, or slashdot, or forums, or address bar typing, or search queries.

      • by joebok (457904) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:58PM (#35245632) Homepage Journal

        Yes, I think you missed his point. Laptop form factor is great for being seated at a table. When not at a table, other form factors may be superior for certain tasks. Showing ball players video while standing on a baseball diamond - yes, a tablet form factor is far more appropriate. For my commute, even though I can have a flip down tray to put a laptop on, there isn't enough distance to open it and have a good view of the screen - the tablet form factor is much better for me in that situation - note also that I'm not doing things like typing, I'm reading or watching. I totally agree that if your use of a computer is pounding out text as quick as you can, a tablet would suck - but the convenience and versatility of the tablet form factor gives it a different niche that some people find worth the price. I certainly do!

      • by swb (14022)

        I realize it might be 'handy', but that difference does not justify a new purchase.

        I love the man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

        Handiness is also called "utility" --- many things in life have a utility value that doesn't quantify well and has a lot of value judgement.

        I'm sure you'd consider driving 20 miles with a load of lumber handier than walking the same distance with the same load -- would that justify a motor vehicle purchase?

        Or would you just argue against the lumber pur

      • by Lev13than (581686) on Friday February 18, 2011 @02:04PM (#35245724) Homepage

        Was it too hard to hold the laptop up? I think I'm missing your point...

        I realize it might be 'handy', but that difference does not justify a new purchase. And if you didn't have a laptop and were to be making a choice between the two types of devices, I wonder if the actual PROS/CONS of the tablet would outweigh those of a laptop. I should note that a physical keyboard is extremely handy for *most* portable computing uses --- like e-mail, or slashdot, or forums, or address bar typing, or search queries... etc.

        A laptop is a data in/out device. A tablet is a data out device. The OP presented a good use case for a simple device (light, plain screen, viewable by multiple people in daylight, good video integration, simple UI, instant on) that two people can use as an aid for problem-solving while standing in a field. There's no way that lugging a clamshell notebook out to the player is as convenient.

  • Obviously not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RapmasterT (787426) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:30PM (#35245164)
    I'm not sure what the motivation to ask the question "are they too expensive" comes from, when tablets (in generalities) are one of the hottest selling segments of the computing market right now. Can you imagine how long a marketing guy at Apple would have a job if he stood up in a board meeting and suggested that the iPad was too expensive...all while they're selling them by the millions.

    Now if the question were different, like "is tablet 'x' too expensive", then it might be an interesting conversation. I've seen several new tablets poised for sale at costs HIGHER than the ipad...which seems like a ridiculously short sighted move. You don't enter a market with a "me too" product priced higher than the established leader (unless you're Apple), unless you have something markedly better to offer. And frankly, "it's android" doesn't rise to that level.
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      They are certainly over hyped if nothing else...

    • by 787style (816008)
      What's hilarious is all of the people who forgot the expected base price of the iPad would be $999. Everyone was shocked when it was half of that. And now tablets are expensive?
  • IMHO, yes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Monoman (8745)

    I say yes but the market may say otherwise.

    I don't like how some (iPads) are offered as Wifi only or for 100 more you get 3G. I was under the impression you need to sign up for a plan.

    I want both WiFi and cell data for later short-term use like a vacation. Price the one model in the middle of the two and be done with it.

    • by name_already_taken (540581) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:47PM (#35245440)

      I say yes but the market may say otherwise.

      It may be that many people have uses for computing devices that don't fit into the desktop or laptop or smartphone models. For example, the iPad can be used to review pictures taken on a digital camera, without the need for a heavy laptop. I've seen them used for task training in industrial plants, and as a handy portable process monitor in a similar plant. Something the size and weight of a clipboard is a lot easier to deal with than a laptop. A thin tablet is easy to handle - particularly if you're not sitting at a desk while you're working.

      I don't like how some (iPads) are offered as Wifi only or for 100 more you get 3G. I was under the impression you need to sign up for a plan.

      I want both WiFi and cell data for later short-term use like a vacation. Price the one model in the middle of the two and be done with it.

      I'm not sure what you don't like about giving the customer the choice of not paying for a 3G radio if they don't want one. For example, a company can save a fair amount of money if they buy the Wifi-only model for use in an industrial plant.

      The Wifi-only models don't have a 3G radio in them. The 3G radio costs something. Most likely not $100, but certainly not $0. At some point, there has to be a price difference.

      The 3G model can be used without 3G service. You don't have to sign up for anything if you want to use a 3G iPad only over wifi.

      It sounds like you're not the target market for this type of product, or you simply don't know much about them.

  • by Manip (656104) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:32PM (#35245188)
    Unfortunately right now we have to kinds of tablets in the market - those which are useful and those which aren't. Most Android based tablets currently being sold are absolutely worthless due to poor software, poor screens, and extremely poor battery life. Then on the other side you have things like the iPad and a very small selection of "premium" Android devices.

    In the future you might see tablets come down in price but just like everything else they will be held back by batteries and or components which draw less power. Ultimately cheap manufacturers cannot cut corners when cutting power consumption since good modern batteries are expensive to make and good efficient components use rare earth metals.
  • by Dan East (318230) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:33PM (#35245216) Homepage Journal

    I think another element is that tablets are primarily oriented at content consumption, which places them into the same category as standalone DVD players, MP3 players, handheld game consoles, etc. And within those categories, yes, a tablet is at least double the cost of other devices. At least with a notebook the possibility of productivity exists, whether or not it is always utilized in that manner.

    As a comparison, you can purchase a rather nice and large LCD television with built-in internet connectivity such as Netflix, Youtube, Facebook, etc for the same price as a premium tablet. It would certainly seem that tablets should be in the realm of netbook pricing giving computing power, storage, display size, etc (especially when considering how much less mass and mechanical parts are involved with a tablet compared to a netbook).

  • That has to be one of the more ridiculous metrics I've seen. Most personal electronics are worth much more than their weight in a base metal. Its the nature of miniaturizing technology; value goes up with complexity and inverse to size. If anything, tablets are a slight step back, if compared to the iPhone etc. Silver is currently at about $315 a pound (converted from the Troy Ounces used for bullion). Most electronics considered portable would fall well above that curve. Certainly any smart phone yo
  • FTFA:

    Manufacturers can justify why tablets are so expensive. Large capacitive-sensor touchscreens are not cheap. Nor at the (relatively) high-powered processors tablet computers demand, or high quantities of computing-grade flash storage.

    No, the screens and flash storage are not cheap - yet. It took 25 or 30 years for computers to go from being more expensive then a car to being at the point now where people will buy laptops on impulse. With the expanding markets being squarely aimed at mobile computing, the quality will improve across the board and the price will lower drastically. Cutting edge adopters always pay more for less.

  • I've been working with several ARM tablets that work well. They don't seem to be available at overpriced -Buy stores with poor service, but I have found them here:

    http://www.eletroworld.cn/ [eletroworld.cn]

    http://www.allpmp.com/index.php [allpmp.com]

    • The electroworld site seems iffy, mainly because 3 of their offerings appear to be counterfeit iPads running Android.

      No offense intended, but this is why I take the sub $200 tablet examples with a huge grain of salt. It just has the feel of "you can buy a similar watch much cheaper if you go to the stranger selling them on the sidewalk." What could possibly go wrong?

  • Yes, if you want mass penetration. No, if you're trying to create an elite super-class.
  • Here's what I want:

    I want an electronic device approximately 8.5 x 11 inches in size that I can write on with a stylus just like writing on paper.

    I need to be able to store some PDF versions of textbooks on it also.

    This device would give me one single thing to carry all my college text books and notebooks on.

    I want this device to cost no more than $300.

  • early adopters paying higher prices, that's what we're seeing right now. In a few years the price for a functional tablet will come down by 20% or 30% due to competition and cost reductions. There's already a fair spread in price and capability, between the extremes represented by the Kindle (starts at $139) and the iPad (up to $829). Smart phones are in the same category. Right now the market is concentrating on making them feature rich. Once they have reached the point of being "good enough" you wil
  • Shit these things are just laying around coffee tables at starbucks.
    I thought they were free.

  • by mu51c10rd (187182) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:52PM (#35245524)

    You can get Android tablets at $100...I would hardly call that expensive. However, like anything else, you get what you pay for too. This article only focuses on high end tablets...which just like any other product, will always be more expensive than their low end counterparts.

  • Worth every penny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarusa (104047) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:52PM (#35245526)

    The iPad has been worth every penny so far. $50 a month (500+tax)/12 is less than my smartphone bill, and it's well worth not having to lug around the laptop most of the time. I've saved a ton of money on magazines and books which are now always available in one 'book'. And it's a great little gaming device so I've saved a lot of money I would have spent on much more expensive DS games instead.

    Now I'd like to escape the Apple ecosystem, so a ~$500-600 10 inch tablet with Honeycomb would be extremely attractive. And certainly justifiable, especially with the sale of the iPad which is still worth quite a bit used.

    The ones without any sense here are the people who can't even imagine the huge number of ways you can use a tablet to improve your life. Unless you're one of the people who really needs a full laptop with you constantly - then it's arguably too much for too little gain.

  • In a surprise turn of events, Apple is able to undercut most other tablets in price due to the enormous volumes in which they buy components. We are talking billions at a time (almost $8B from Samsung alone [macobserver.com]), giving Apple volume pricing, and allowing them to come close to cornering the market on 9" LCDs, and get a good chuck of flash at great prices as well. Apple's vlume-pricing power makes Wal-Mart look like a mom-n-pop.

    All that cash (over $50B) that Apple has sitting around, losing money on T-Bills, w
  • Really? Since when does the threat of something being stolen make it too expensive? Your car, your watch, etc are all easy to steal but that doesn't stop many people from spending hundreds or thousands on watches or $50k+ on cars. And since when is a tablet easier to steal than a laptop?

    Missing from the article's analysis for the most part was the value proposition -- why do people spend more for an iPad than they might on a laptop which can do more? Simplicity of operation, form-factor, applications a

  • Well, that's not very surprising, since tablets are made to be light. Duh! And I don't think tablets are any more theft-prone that laptops. This whole article retarded.

  • by roc97007 (608802)

    For what they offer, tablets are too expensive. Part of this is probably NRE, most, I believe, is because they're the next cool gadget and marketeers know that gadgeteers will pay a premium to have one first.

    For the purposes of this conversation, I am excluding the sub-$200 tablets that are still running Android 1.X, can't use the market, and have no upgrade path. (waves hand...) Those aren't the tablets you're looking for.

    I'm actually looking forward to Microsoft getting into the tablet market and

  • by __roo (86767) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:56PM (#35245600) Homepage

    A year before the iPad came out, a friend of mine spent well over $2,500 on a MacBook. She saved money from her $10/hr job to buy it. A year later, asked for help writing a resume to try to find a better job -- and it turns out that she didn't even know if she had a word processor installed on it. Literally all she had ever done with it was use iTunes to play music and use Safari to check her mail, look at web pages, and watch music videos.

    My friend really wanted an Apple product. She lives in Brooklyn, and she sees all of the other people her age covet those Apple products, and she wanted the status of being able to take out an Apple product in a coffee shop. If the iPad had been around at the time, she would have been able to save almost two thousand dollars, and she'd still end up with a device that serves exactly the same purpose: basic web browsing and video playing, with a big Apple logo that other hip Brooklyn people will use to recognize that she fits in.

    I'm not sure if this can be generalized to all tablets in general, but I think it speaks to exactly the right price point for the iPad. It was a brilliant move for Apple to introduce the iPad at a time when people were starting to have less money to spend on computers. People who hesitated about buying, say, a MacBook Air could still buy the cachet of having the latest Apple product. And it hasn't seemed to cannibalize Apple sales at all.

    (Disclaimer: I've used a MacBook Pro as my main computer for years, and I really like it. That may or may not have colored my opinion.)

    • by owlstead (636356)

      (Disclaimer: I've used a MacBook Pro as my main computer for years, and I really like it. That may or may not have colored my opinion.)

      Technically, black and white aren't colors.

  • Archos very nice gen8 Android 2.2.1 tablets are $100 to $349 [archos.com], depending on screen size and features. That seems pretty reasonable to me. I have the 101, and I know four other people that own them as well. At the top end, they cost less than I paid for a Palm PDA seven years ago.

  • by sootman (158191) on Friday February 18, 2011 @03:27PM (#35247086) Homepage Journal

    You know what else is "too" expensive? Fancy clothes, fancy cars, fancy food... basically, anything you don't want to pay that much for is, by definition, too expensive.

    And the comparison to silver is just plain dumb. OK, so silver is cheaper, and you know what else? It does FUCKING NOTHING but sit there, displacing its volume in air, and reacting passively to Earth's gravity. Can it show you pictures? Send messages? Play movies and music? Can it do anything at all other than hurt your foot when dropped?

    Saying that printer ink costs more than gold is interesting because printing is such a mundane task and ink has been around for centuries. (In fact, homo sapiens were using ink before they ever placed a value on gold.) Saying a ridiculously complex device, packed full of the finest microscopic circuits China can produce in volume, costs roughly the same as the least valuable "precious metal" by weight, isn't quite as interesting.

    The one interesting thing is that you can indeed trade twenty pre-1964 silver dollars for a base iPad. :-)

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