The tablet market is booming. Some analysts are predicting that in just a few years more tablets will be sold than desktop PCs. Nor is it just the iPad that’s selling?
Certain android tablets are beginning to make a splash as well. But with more and more tablets being sold, consumers are more eager than ever to get the best deal.
In this article, we’ll consider whether and how it’s possible to get a quality tablet for an affordable price.
Let’s start with the iPad – the world’s most popular tablet. On one hand, 3 million new iPads were sold in the first weekend, on the other hand, there were some consumers who complained about the price, which starts at $499 for the 16GB version.
What to do? Users who have their heart set on an iPad but don’t want to fork out $500 have one other option – buy iPad 2 slates instead. Many stores (including Walmart, Best Buy and the Apple store itself) now offer the 16GB iPad 2 for $399 – a hundred dollars less than the Retina-equipped new model.
If you really want to save money, you may even consider getting a used model – many of these can be found at Amazon in almost perfect condition.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire
The good news, though, is that the iPad is not the only quality tablet on the market right now. And if you look outside Apple, you’ll begin to notice a number of lower-price alternatives. Perhaps the best of these at the moment is Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
Like the iPad, the Kindle Fire provides a fast browser and full-color experience whilst allowing you to watch videos and consume content in a highly satisfying manner.
And, significantly, the Kindle Fire is $300 cheaper than the new iPad. If you’re looking for a quality tablet for an affordable price, the Kindle Fire is arguably your best bet. (Gadget fans who wish to compare the Kindle Fire with the iPad can read more here).
Google and Microsoft set to Launch their Tablets
But what if you don’t want to go with Apple or Amazon? Well, if you want to stay within the realm of tech giants, you may wish to wait for Microsoft and Google, both of whom are said to be launching an alternative to the iPad.
Their tablets – set for release later this year – will (reportedly) be at least a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than the new iPad. How cheap will they be exactly? It seems nobody is sure. Initially, there was speculation that the Google tablet would cost just $149, making it even more affordable than the Kindle Fire.
However, recent reports suggest that Google may be forced to sell their tablet for the same price as Amazon’s tablet, given the cost of production. In any case, consumers can hope to get their hands on it later in the summer.
Tablet from Microsoft
What about Microsoft? Their plan is apparently to release a number of Windows 8 based tablets later in the year as well. It seems that like Google, Microsoft wishes to make tablets more affordable by selling the Windows 8 models for less than $300.
However, it is currently rather difficult to say exactly what these tablets will be like. Some commentators have questioned whether they can really be of the highest-quality, given the inevitable restrictions on screen-size and resolution.
For one of the trade-offs of a lower-price tablet is a smaller screen and (potentially) a lower-quality display.
In short, we can see that more and more companies are seeking to offer high-quality tablets at an affordable price.
For die-hard Apple fans, one way to save money is to invest in an iPad 2. Those who wish to cut costs even further would do well to consider Amazon’s Kindle Fire (the current king of Android tablets).
It remains to be seen whether Google and Microsoft can offer viable alternatives to the iPad and Fire whilst selling their tablets for less than $300.
Jeff Young is a frequent guest poster on technology and gadget blogs. He focuses mainly on tablets and tracks the latest developments within the tablet market and industry