2013 May See the Floor Fall Out From Under Tablet Prices

MIT Technology Review and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Acer is preparing to launch an Android based tablet in the $99 range.
A “person with direct knowledge” of the project said the Android-based tablet would be priced “around” that amount, so don’t hold me (or the Journal) to it. If so, it would be the first time a major brand like Acer breaks into that price point, which the Journal says is mostly the province of “Chinese white-box tablet makers.” That $99 price point is especially important in developing markets; prices will reportedly vary from one country to the next. The tablet may never even go on sale in the U.S., since that’s not the main market this is trying to reach.

Regardless of whether this particular tablet reaches North America or not, it is a strong indication that current tablet models are vastly overpriced. According to Tech Review $99 may be far from the bottom of the price drop.
How low can we go? Will we ever see tablets break the $50 price barrier (and would they be even passably good)? VentureBeat’s Jay Goldberg visited Shenzhen not long ago and found a device that could be purchased at volume (20,000 units) for $35 apiece. The downward price pressure on tablets could lead to their proliferation throughout the world. One blogger notes: “I’m happier owning a 45 dollar product which my pals in Africa can afford to chat back with me on, than I am with a $850 device which I play solitaire on.“

It appears, at the very least, that Apple is going to have to come up with some very good reasons why people should pay so much more for their device.

It also points to something else: How long will people continue to pay $100 / month for a mobile phone when a tablet or smart phone, a Skype account ($0 - 60 / year) and a Wi-Fi connection will get you the same thing (even if it won't work when you're out of Wi-Fi range).
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