Tablet price wars

Just when you thought tablets couldn't get any cheaper, it seems that everyone has been cutting its prices. The price of tablets is plummeting, and the ultimate winner is you.

The first price cut was the most dramatic: HP cut its TouchPad's price from £400 to £90, prompting a rush as desperate tablet fans tried to get their hands on the cut-price kit. The UK has sold out of TouchPads now, but HP intends to sell another 200,000 devices in the next few months at steep discounts. So far it's unclear whether those discounts will be as big as the ones we've seen already - we suspect not - or whether the UK will be included.

HP's not the only one discounting, though. RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is turning up with discounts of as much as $150 in the US, although that's for the pricier models; entry-level PlayBooks have dropped by $50, and Motorola has cut the price of its Xoom tablet too. At the time of writing Dixons has cut the price of an entry level Xoom to just £330, making it considerably less expensive than other premium tablets.

The biggest discounts may come from Lenovo and Amazon. The former's IdeaPad Tablet is launching in the US for just $199, while Amazon's forthcoming Kindle tablet is expected to retail for $250 or less. That means consumers can choose from two rather well screwed together Android tablets for half the price of a typical tablet - without ending up with a glorified place mat. That's bound to have an effect on the rest of the Android market, but don't expect any discounts from Apple: the firm is selling as many iPad 2s as it can make, so there's no reason for it to cut its prices.

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