Santa Clark here with a prediction about the hot electronics item this coming Christmas season. I expect to see moderately priced Android tablets hitting a mass market level with “impulse buy” kind of prices starting at $199.
I was a skeptic at first and didn’t think the market was ready for mass adoption of tablets until HP put its TouchPad on clearance at $99. With a discount like that, those things flew off the shelves! (The only problem is the TouchPad runs on WebOS, which is like a cousin to old Palm OS, and there’s not a whole lot you can do with that operating system. But the price was what really drew people.)
Amazon recently debuted its new Kindle Fire tablet, and I’m starting to hear the company may ship as many as 6 million units this Christmas season. The online retail giant set the price at $199, less than half the cost of Apple’s least-expensive iPad, although the Kindle Fire comes with just a 7-inch display. Lenovo, meanwhile, will have its own $199 tablet.
So you’ll have a split market really. This will be the Christmas of the $500 iPad 2 vs. any of the $200 Android tablets. Android will then outsell Apple in the tablet market, making Apple a very successful boutique brand with the millions who love it, while Android will be the popular mass market alternative.
One final note: Make sure any Android tablet you get this holiday season runs the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS. Anything less — like the 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS — is fine for a phone, but not for a tablet.