Jostling for position
We've long thought that Apple's decision to price the iPad not as a premium product but as a mass-market one was intriguing. While Apple's presumably still making a nice margin on each sale, we reckon most of that probably comes from charging £80 for 16GB of flash storage and £100 for a 3G chip. The basic iPad2 only costs £399, and that's a problem for everyone else.
Tech blog Engadget spotted that RIM's tablet offering - the BlackBerry Playbook - is now available to buy in the UK at Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse (which gives you a sense of how it's positioned, not surprising considering it requires a BlackBerry phone to function properly), and it came as no great surprise to see the 16GB version priced at £399.
In fact the pricing of tablets is so dictated by Apple that RIM has gone for price parity across the range, with the 32GB PlayBook costing £80 more at Carphone Warehouse and the 64GB one costing £160 more. Phones4U has opted to extract an extra 95p of lovely profit from each one.
Meanwhile fellow tech blog SlashGear reports that one of the few tablets set to undercut the entry-level iPad has been delayed. The Acer Iconia Tab A100 is a seven inch Tegra 2 Honeycomb tablet that was set to come in at £299 with 3G, thus undercutting the equivalent iPad2, albeit with half the storage.
Acer UK told SlashGear that the A100, which had been due to hit the shops about now, has now been postponed until sometime in the second half of this year. We can only assume Acer has decided to give the product a bit of a rethink in keeping with the general strategic overview that has accompanied its change of CEO.
Coincidentally, or maybe not, the same site and authors have been among the first to get reviews up of the HTC Flyer. HTC's entry into the tablet market is a seven inch Android tablet with a difference: it runs Android 2.3, has a Snapdragon rather than Tegra chip, and comes with a special ‘Magic Pen'.
Both Vlad and Chris come to similar conclusions: that the Flyer deserves a lot of credit for trying to do something different, and that the product has a lot to commend it, but good old pricing will once more be an issue. HTC wants you to shell-out £480 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and £600 for the 32GB 3G one. In both cases that's more than the equivalent iPad 2, which is bigger and has a dual-core chip. Hmmm.