Tablets finally undercutting $500 iPad, but will it matter?

As you already may well know, the iPad is not a tablet PC, it is an iPad. Thus is the brilliance of the brand-masters at Apple and thus is massive success the iPad has seen so far. What we've been seeing over the past few months is a welcome change on the part of many manufacturers and carriers trying to sell their tablet computers in the face of a very much iPad-saturated market: price cuts. A whole heck of a lot of price cuts, in fact, with everyone from HTC to Lenovo cutting tablet prices on carriers and in big time tablet-pushing stores like Best Buy.

On the other hand, many manufacturers, carriers, and stores continue to release tables at $500 and above at the outset – a good example of a device that might well be so overpriced that a price cut might be imminent is the HTC Jetstream [check out our hands-on video here], a device we'll be reviewing here on SlashGear soon, which has been released for $699.99 attached to a 2-year contract. Off contract, the tablet costs over a hundred dollars more than the largest off-contract iPad ($699 for the 64GB version) at $849.99. Do you see the problem with this picture?

Then there's this other list of tablets, mostly Android, one WebOS, one BlackBerry, each of them under or cut under $500 to compete:

HTC Flyer [Android 7-inch] reduced from $499 to $299.99

Lenovo K1 [Android 10-inch] reduced from $499 to $329.99

Asus Eee Pad Transformer [Android 10-inch] $399

Toshiba THRIVE [Android 10-inch] $399.99

Acer Iconia tab A100 [Android 7-inch] $329.99

BlackBerry PlayBook [QNX, BlackBerry 7-inch] reduced from $499 to $299.99

HP TouchPad [WebOS 10-inch] famously discounted from $499 to $100

Amazon Kindle Fire [FireOS modified Android 7-inch] $199

And the iPad 2 retains its belt for best selling tablet on the planet. The only way we're going to see this end is, if I may be so bold, the market is carved out by several of these $199 loss-leaders working as well (or better) than the Kindle Fire. If there's such a thing as market saturation, it does not exist here in the mobile operating system world.

No ONE tablet device will ever out-sell the iPad, as it's not a product, its a means to an end. Each new iPad is the iPad, it's not a new product, and as price cuts happen on tablets that are already released, like it or not, people lose faith in their ability to get support for these devices in the future. On the other hand they have the iPad, the WORLD leader in tablet sales, one product carried by one single brand, with one mobileOS. Only a combination of future products engaging our interest (in this case, the iPad eroding iPod sales, for instance) and the low prices AT RELEASE TIME of tablets from alternate groups will cause the iPad to lose out on market dominance.