Phones are the first thing someone usually sees as it's so easy to text, browse, and tweet from the palm of your hand but now and days you can also do that from your tablet to harness more power. With the rise of the iPhone, out came Android and Palm to try and give users more options available (I am tired of the phrase "walled garden" so I won't be using it, but you all know what I'm referring to). Research In Motion's (RIM) Blackberry is seriously struggling to stay afloat and not go the way of Palm and even Nokia is flailing for options as to what their next move should be. That's great and all, but the next question we need to ask ourselves as potential customers of the next big thing is, price.
How much bang for your buck are you really getting?
When the iPad was launched, there were the model variations like the iPhone in terms of Gb size ranging from 16Gb to 64Gb on both Wi-Fi only ($499, $599, $699) and Wi-Fi and 3G models ($629, $729, $829) and the prices are current as of writing this article, as per tradition it would be expected to have a possible price drop before launching the iPad 2 (the refreshed iPad in case that Apple doesn't add a 2 to the end of it). We know Apple for a few things, one of them being their "our way or the highway" attitude and for usually being the more pricey option in the market. But now with Android tablets being explored, are they really the pricey option in this ring?
Supposedly the Motorola Xoom Android Tablet was spotted in a BestBuy price tag pic being priced at $799.99 and made a lot of people surprised at the price (the image is courtesy of Engadet.com). Right now, the iPad is looking like more economical tablet option even at its biggest Wi-Fi model. But then again you have other tablets that run Android, if you can call them that (I say that because Google has said that the tablet OS is Honeycomb). The Galaxy Tab, which made ripples, does not run Honeycomb (as they're usually one step behind. Am I right Galaxy S variant owners?) and right now with T-Mobile is priced at $249.99 (on web price) and on contract. Without a contract the Galaxy Tab will cost you $499.99, now these prices are for T-Mobile.com and can change at the retailer's option and by the release of the Galaxy Tab 2. The Tab 2 is rumored for a February 13 debut along with the Galaxy S 2 but there is not a set price as of yet, though that might change with a leak or something as the February date approaches. Another tablet option is the Dell Streak 7 for $499.99 or on contract for $199.99 via T-Mobile.com and is running Android 2.2, once again this is another Android "tablet" that is not running the Google Tablet software known as Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
Blackberry, the beloved of RIM, has tried to get into the touch screen game but it isn't doing so hot and are making a tablet called the Playbook. This tablet is relatively small in comparison to the other tablets out there in the market currently with a seven-inch LCD screen, the same size as the Tab but in previews it does look smaller. TechNewsDaily has a source that claims that this tablet will be priced at $499, which is the same price as the Tab and nowhere near the price tag of the Motorola Xoom.
Android, our poor Android, once again you are being held up high by companies who wish to exploit you. Why is Motorola charging so much for an Android tablet? Granted the "tablets" that are currently out there are subsidized by contracts on the major cellular carriers, the iPad isn't and is still less expensive than an alleged Xoom tablet. A lot of people refer to the new devices with the phrase "is it an iPhone/iPad killer?" and that phrase got old really fast, but with the Xoom priced that high, it and Android 3.0 better blow a lot of people's socks off and sell like hotcakes and Justin Bieber memorabilia.
Android is able to meet the needs of so many people through its ability to come in at an entry level, mid-range level, and higher end level devices but never has a price been so high that heads turn and ask themselves, well what makes it so special?
Sadly, I wish I could tell you that its better than sliced bread and hotter than the mess that Miley Cyrus and Christina Aguilera are. I can't, and only time will tell but I really think that Android tablets need to re-evaluate their marketing strategy especially with Honeycomb coming out as the Tablet Android OS, and that those without out it (ahem, Samsung, ahem) are nothing but big phones? If Android keeps a higher end price tag, it can end up being a Palm-flop. Their (HP-webOS) new tablet isn't very impressive (in fact they didn't let people touch it) and the demos they had of the device made it look slow. webOS is pretty, but how does it stack up against the big dogs? Not very well. There's no point in me keeping my BMW in my garage to look pretty and just go get the mail; no way. You gotta bust that puppy out and make it pur and roar, that's what makes a BMW, a BMW. The same thing applies to phones and tablets. In other words, you have to ask yourself, are you getting your money's worth?
Android has been an emotional roller-coaster ride due to its quick updates and lack of carriers and OEMs to push out their skinned UI versions to their device (even Google has yet to update the awesome Nexus One. Come on guys, I thought you were the example?). I'm sure a high price tag for any tablet will be a huge factor in whether these tablets get classified as a "must have" or "it's nice". Remember, graduation is coming up for a lot of students out there...
I, as I'm sure a lot of you guys will too, will watch and see how the Motorola Xoom plays out and pray that Android keeps up the good fight because with every move that it does right, there's a chance to take three steps back and never recover. Palm no longer exists, HP made that clear at their event this week, will Android fade away too?
Of course it won't, but as far as tablets go, right now I won't choose an Android tablet over my iPad. The Xoom might change things as I'm graduating soon and will be looking at beefing up my office and computer resources (I consider tablets as computer accessories, they can't do everything but are easier on a bad shoulder to take whenever you go) for grad school. Though, to be honest, I wish the Xoom would make me drool and drop the iPad like the yesterday's stinky cheese. I know what you guys are saying, why even own an iPad? Because Android hasn't tapped into that area yet and met a need my phone could nor my laptop could (weight and a bad shoulder from surgery make it hard to haul a laptop). Android is even making me want a Windows based machine, but OSX works too well for me, but alas, I embrace Android and it sleeps next to me on my nightstand every night. Android tablets have that potential, SO much potential, just like the Android OS does but prices will be a crucial factor. The economy in the USA is starting to recover and people may start looking at buying things that they may not "need" but a high price tag will give anyone a soft-off if the product isn't absolutely spectacular and actually works, not just pretty.
What do you guys think? Our readers are well informed as well. Let us know what you think about the Xoom and the future of Android Tablets and if Android should even go into the tablet world. We love to hear what you guys have to say and value your opinions. You heard mine, long-winded I know, now let us hear yours.