Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Death of the Tablet computer?

After predicting the rise of the Slates this year, I fear the revolution could be over before it has begun. Let's get one thing straight. Tablets/Slate computers fit in between smart phones and your general laptop. They are for things like surfing the internet when you can't be bothered to boot your main PC and when your phone screen is too small for what your upto, and of course for playing Angry Birds.
They have no optical drive, and tend to have limited storage, at best around 64GB. They, at the moment, can not replace the Dell machine on your desk or lap. 
And yet the price of them is insane. The new Xoom is a good example. $600 on a 2 year contract, or a stupid price of $800 without said contract. For that price you could buy a fairly decent 17 inch laptop, 4GB of RAM, atleast 500GB hard drive and an optical drive that will let you rip and burn all the music and movies you feel like.
Apple have had amazing success with the iPad, £429, which is still alot, but when you consider a entry level Apple laptop is £879 its all relative. For half the price of the laptop you get a device which can do half the things. Can't rip music, can't watch DVD's, and can't import your camera pictures out of the box.
Now take HP's new WebOS tablet. Rumoured to be priced around the £500 mark, their entry level laptop, £350. It just doesn't make sence and it gets worse. 
Samsung Tab £429, Samsung laptop £300. And the tab is only 7 inches! Dell Streak, (marketed as a tablet) £429 without contract and only 5 inches, Dell 15 inch laptop £300.
Prices like this only attract geeks like me. They are no good for the average person on the street at sometimes double the price of the netbooks they are supposed to be replacing.
Of course you could buy a Chinese ePad for around £140, but for the love of God, don't. For these to actually take off, companies like Samsung and HP need to go back to their laptop price structures, half the price of Apple for similar specs and half the looks...

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