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Are Tablets Just Too Expensive?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-wait-for-them-to-come-out-with-subtablets dept.

Handhelds 549

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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549 comments

But... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245072)

silver is going up in price. Your new tablet will be worth it's weight in base metal in a year or two.

Re:But... (2)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245090)

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:But... (2, Funny)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245116)

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.

Re:But... (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245322)

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... (3, Informative)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 3 years ago | (#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... (1, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245612)

Gold allows money-based trade, rather than barter. Unlike fiat currencies, it is very hard to counterfeit, and thus devalue, therefore it can hold its value predictably for long periods of time.

Re:But... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245634)

So, do you understand Fiat Currency any better? Why Fiat Currency?

The problem with Fiat Currency is that it has no basis in value, except the faith of people in it. You think that is any better way of valuing something?

Re:But... (2, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245444)

Tablets are currently closed systems for the most part.

Give me an open system and we'll talk.

Re:But... (4, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:But... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245558)

Yeah, but at least your brick of silver doesn't subject you to vacuous articles like this one on PC world.

Re:But... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245722)

Depends on what you want to use it for. Good luck trading your wifi tablet for food when TSHTF after the zombie apocalypse.

The answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245076)

No.

Re:The answer (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245202)

Indeed.

Tech like this.. money actually doesn't play much of a part. There is enough diversity in tablets, that if someone really wants one, they can probably find one in their price range.

Personally, I have no interest in a tablet. It has nothing to do with money.. it's just not something I want or need. The fact that a tablet costs more than the same weight in an arbitrary precious metal has nothing to do with anything.

Re:The answer (4, Interesting)

borjonx (1243634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245678)

IMHO the best is the tablet with the physical keyboard. i.e. those nascent laptops where the lid (screen) can swivel 360 and fold back down so it looks like a thick tablet. That way you have a tablet when u want one, and a Real keyboard when u want to enter lots of text. Pat

Not too expensive (2)

mace9984 (1406805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245080)

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...

Re:Not too expensive (2)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245096)

You know how when you got your EVO, you were like "OMG, this bigger screen is awesome!". well, you can figure the rest out.

Re:Not too expensive (2)

mace9984 (1406805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245250)

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...

Re:Not too expensive (4, Insightful)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not too expensive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245622)

For me, that highlights why the Laptop/Netbook does *not* serve better. If I'm walking around, I use my iPad for almost everything at work and home (more every day). If I'm stationary, screw the laptop, give me a cheaper desktop with two+ huge screens. Laptops are now the middle-ground, and less needed all the time. The tablet price issue will shrink as welcome iPad competition moves in. I can't wait for the day I can finally stop carrying my "work computer" back and forth every day.

Re:Not too expensive (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245496)

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 everywhere.

I'll stick with the Android smartphone + Thinkpad X Tablet Series combo, thanks very much.

today's random factoid (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:today's random factoid (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245716)

True.

This just in! A $1 piece of plastic is better at scraping ice of my windshield than a (formerly) shiny new $150 Android tablet!

Pure silver is cheaper, pound-for-pound, than a lot of things we buy. That's the difference between buying a lump of base metal and a manufactured electronic item.

No. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245094)

No. This is just someone butthurt that their little junk Android tablet failed while the iPad continues to smoke the competition. So because of this they need to drum up some made up crap about how tablets are being written off when in fact iPads are highly prized on many people's wish lists.

Dumb comparison. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245100)


Why pick silver? Because it's less money. You could say it's a great deal if you use platinum.

Of course you can take a lump of silver and bash someone in the head with it for making such a comparison without causing damage to the silver. An iPad would probably be needing a trip to the Geniuzz Bar.

Re:Dumb comparison. (0)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245490)

Mod parent up.

This just in...iPad worth more than copper! Crude! Corn! Coal!
Of course, it's cheaper than gold, or platinum, or diamonds, or...yeah. The comparison is so dumb that we're discussing it instead of the possibility tablets cost too much. Do they? Well, netbooks are considerably cheaper. So...probably.

But, but... (2, Insightful)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245104)

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!

Re:But, but... (1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245222)

+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.

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

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

And meanwhile, Apple can't make enough of them (4, Insightful)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245398)

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

Re:And meanwhile, Apple can't make enough of them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245510)

It's a BUBBLE based on a fad

Ah, "fads." (4, Insightful)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245650)

Right, like the iPhone and iPod. As a shareholder, I can live with these 10-year "fads."

I'm sure you are putting your money where your mouth is and shorting Apple r buying puts, right Nostradamus?

Re:And meanwhile, Apple can't make enough of them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245590)

Never underestimate the number of people with more money than sense.

Re:But, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245720)

Yeah, because flat panel televisions like all new consumer technologies debuted at a price point where it was affordable by the masses. /s

Comparison is irrelevant (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245112)

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.

Re:Comparison is irrelevant (2)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245394)

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.

Re:Comparison is irrelevant (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245552)

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.

Add the weight in silver of the data you transfer. (2)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245132)

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.

Re:Add the weight in silver of the data you transf (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245214)

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).

Re:Add the weight in silver of the data you transf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245556)

And even with the 3G one you don't have to pay data service every month (or ever. I haven't paid for a month yet).

Re:Add the weight in silver of the data you transf (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245652)

there's been a wifi-only version of the Galaxy Tab about to be released "any day now" (for the last 6-8 months).

They're just waiting until they've sold the first 100 3G models...
*rimshot*

Ridiculous argument (2)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Ridiculous argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245486)

I am not saying that there is a connection, but it does occur that PCworld has been a microsoft shill in the past and Apple is the biggest player in tablets right now.

One example of this 'shill-like' tendency is the current story about why Ballmer was not invited to the White house to the tech summit.

                                                  "The White House appears to have decided that geography trumps innovation."

New technology is expensive, but the prices drop (2)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245140)

Film at 11.

Re:New technology is expensive, but the prices dro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245338)

Except this article is largely about how new technology is expensive, but prices are *rising*.

Is this a trick question? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245152)

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.

They are too focused on cost and ignore value (5, Informative)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245158)

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.

Re:They are too focused on cost and ignore value (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245370)

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 kb might not matter to someone who has a low word per minute speed, but for fast typing nerds like me there is a huge difference between what a physical kb can do and what an on screen touch kb can do. Physical kb means I can get the thoughts out nearly as fast as I can think of them --- touch kb means it will be a while before my thought gets the satisfaction of completion (via communication).

Re:They are too focused on cost and ignore value (4, Insightful)

joebok (457904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245632)

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!

Re:They are too focused on cost and ignore value (2)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245690)

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 purchase or what it would build as an argument not to have a vehicle?

Re:They are too focused on cost and ignore value (3, Insightful)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245724)

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.

Re:They are too focused on cost and ignore value (1)

plalonde2 (527372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245744)

Look at the parent's application. Yes, having the keyboard there gets in the way. Needing to hold the laptop and press keys to control the playback while trying to show someone a video *standing* on a sports field doesn't work as well as a tablet.

I'm surprised you didn't recommend he use a pencil-and-paper playbook. We've made do with those for years.

Get off the hater bandwagon and actually think about what it might be good for.

Re:They are too focused on cost and ignore value (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245664)

My laptop was $300 which may have been really really good deal but generally, I doubt people would buy an iPad over a laptop based on price.

Obviously not (4, Insightful)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Obviously not (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245738)

Apple need their products to be a little too expensive. It's a branding thing. Their products are seen as premium - if they were sold cheap, people wouldn't see them as special and must-have. It's the same basic model as seen in designer clothing: If it wasn't expensive, people wouldn't have any reason to buy it.

IMHO, yes (1, Interesting)

Monoman (8745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245170)

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.

Re:IMHO, yes (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245328)

I am not sure if you're still under that impression, but it was never true. The 3G version does not require a data plan unless you want to use 3G. In addition, it's no-contract, so you can purchase a single month at a time. That might be more time than you need for a vacation, but it's far less than you'd pay with any kind of PAYG plan.

You're not the target market (5, Insightful)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:IMHO, yes (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245702)

None of the iPad models come with a contract. The 3G models have a setting that you can toggle on or off at will that lets you purchase a plan for that month at a fixed cost, with no long-term contract. It'd be perfect for something short-term like a vacation. ;)

Good tablets - yes (2)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Content consumption vs productivity (3)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245216)

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).

It depends (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245232)

I guess to be fair, there are a lot of people who ought to be paying off their high interest credit cards instead of buying a tablet. On the other hand, they're adults; they make the lifestyle choices and they accept the consequences.

The other critique I think is valid is that a tablet is likely to be worthless in just a few years due to the cruelly crossed streams of obsolescence and failing electronics. So it will boil down to how much of a gadget lover you are. I myself am pretty much of a gadget lover, but haven't sprung for one just yet.

They must be too expensive... (0)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245242)

... because I haven't bought one yet, lol.

It's hard to justify hundreds of dollars spent to replace a great piece of hardware I already have (epic 4g / newish laptop) simply because it has a touch screen and that it's been advertised/astroturfed/pop-culture-driven into us.

And so I say "meh."

Same goes for most electronics (1)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245268)

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 you could name...

Archos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245282)

I keep seeing Archos tablets in the 200 to 300CAD range, but I've never tried one. If it's anything like my iPad, that seems very reasonable to me.

P.S. I didn't buy the iPad. It was a bonus from work.

Re:Archos (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245450)

The big advantage of an Archos device is that it is more open than an Apple, supports more formats, and has much more storage.

It partially satisfies the "displacing the laptop/netbook" criteria in a manner better than an iPad.

Archos 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245286)

Nice, my $299-$350 archos 101 tablet (480 grams) costs less than silver per gram! Not feeling so bad about avoiding the pricey alternatives.

Syntax error@summary:line 1 - Missing Qualifier (1)

cognoscentus (1628459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245308)

When Android tablets can be had for less than $100, I'm curious as to which market they are too expensive for. I suppose there are cheaper net-enabled feature phones, which may offer the added bonus of cellular network access, but they're probably not significantly more performant or otherwise functional than said tablets.

I don't think the manufacturing costs of a tablet in itself are a factor in the inflated prices being asked, but rather the fashion aspect. Being fashionable is always going to be a highly profitable commodity.

Of course it's expensive (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245310)

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.

apple's entire market described in 10 words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245318)

"a high-priced niche for people with more money than sense"

Maybe the Tablets Bundled With 3G or Psuedo 4G (1)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245342)

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]

Re:Maybe the Tablets Bundled With 3G or Psuedo 4G (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245528)

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?

I want an electronic notebook for $300 (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245404)

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.

Re:I want an electronic notebook for $300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245438)

Archos 101, 10.1 inch screen (almost the size you want), capacitive screen, $299

early adopters (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245416)

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 will see the prices drop from their current $400-600.

Expensive? (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245446)

Shit these things are just laying around coffee tables at starbucks.
I thought they were free.

Maybe, but wait. (1)

GreyLurk (35139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245488)

Yes, but they're first gen tech. The first gen is always too expensive, because it covers the R&D costs. Look at Blu-Ray Players circa 2005, which cost $400+ for the cheap ones. Fast forward 5 years, and we've got Blu-Ray players available at grocery stores for $100 a pop. Ultimately, people are paying for the "Ooh Shiny" factor now, but in a few years we'll see the price drop, and you'll be able to pick up a capacitive touch screen 7 inch tablet with 1024x600 resolution and an LTE modem for $150 bucks.

hell YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245522)

Tablets are a total ripoff right now and, although I'd like one, I refuse to pay more than $200 for one. Plus, I'm not getting anything that doesn't have dual-cores, at least 1 gig of RAM, at least 16 gigs of storage, which should be easy to do for $200. Until then, it's netbook city for me.

Expensive? (2)

mu51c10rd (187182) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (4, Interesting)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

For once, Apple has the price advantage (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245532)

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, which some shareholders have bitched about, has actually come in handy. Don't question the Jobs.

About the dumbest pricing analysis ever (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245534)

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 aren't massable against silver but have value to the people who buy tablets.

My sense is that they might cost too much to become disposably ubiquitous now, but arguing their current popularity and mindshare won't lead to more models, cheaper parts and the usual march toward lower cost just seems naive.

Right now they are somewhat more expensive because the technology isn't free (flash, capacitive touch screens) and the R&D that goes into their usefulness isn't either.

Why not a future poor man's tablet based on networked storage and remote program execution? Figure the innards at 1/3 of current prices based on reduced parts count, manufacturing improvements and economies of scale and they may be the new $19.99 cell phone.

Sure they are more expensive than silver, but... (1)

stevediver (1034380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245568)

Have you ever tried surfing the web with an ingot of silver? Besides whenever I look at photos on my silver tablet, they always seem to look like me! Seriously, this is a silly comparison. I also love the comment about how businesses will never invest in tablets because they are too expensive. My experience is that businesses will invest in whatever computing device will help them do business especially. I see plenty people who travel with tablets because they are easier to carry around than a laptop.

By Weight? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245576)

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.

Xoom is expensive (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245580)

Someone explain to me why I should pick one over a similarly specced Notion Ink Adam.( $375-549). The comparison to silver is ridiculous; most of the cost of devices is the R&D, manufacturing (not to mention the slick marketing). None of these are components of the cost of silver ingots.

Yes. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245594)

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 diluting it a bit. I wouldn't buy a Windows 7 tablet on a very large bet, but I suspect that Windows tablet offerings will help drag the price down when millions of people read the reviews, decide to stick with their PC, and leave a glut on the market.

You also have to look at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245596)

the fact that for the same weight of silver it's just that, the same weight of silver. There is no development cost, no machining, building, distributing, packaging, etc. I'm not saying that tablets aren't too expensive, but comparing it to a metal that's value is dependent on current market conditions seems kind of silly.

Archos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35245598)

Archos 70 is the answer

iPads are perfectly priced status symbols (4, Interesting)

__roo (86767) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245600)

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.)

Archos (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245616)

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.

It's the niche that's the problem (1)

jokermatt999 (1536127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245706)

It's not just the price, it's that there's not enough reasons to get a tablet over a laptop other than the "new shiny thing" reasons. Laptops are just about as portable and can do more. Yes, there's things that tablets are better at (content consumption like books and movies, touch screen applications), but not enough to justify the price. It's out of "impulse buy" range, and it's hard to think of enough use cases that wouldn't be served adequately by a laptop to excuse the expense. At least, that's my opinion. I'll ignore the "weight of silver" comment, because I have no idea where that came from.

Sure! (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245712)

Silver's battery doesn't die out in 3 years, its warranty doesn't expire, doesn't require repairs, additional software, or upgrades, and doesn't need a complex manufacturing process. What's your point again?

Yes. And they're silly (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35245740)

For the price of a tablet, you could get an arguably more powerful desktop machine. And on that desktop, you could easily produce any content you wanted, including spreadsheets, CAD/CAM, code... and not be limited by the primitive touch UI paradigm with its clunky virtual keyboard and mouse. Then you could take a break and consume some content, like /., or Half Life.

Tablets are primarily consumption devices because of the one-user-input-fits-all quasi-miracle of the touch screen. When a tablet can run and let me use Blender just as easily as a form factor with discrete user inputs, I might consider one.

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