Acer sets the pace on PC tablet pricing

Acer is moving into the tablet world and bringing with it a competitive price tag, which analysts and media boffins have said could cause a drop in the current prices other manufacturers are charging.

The predictions come as Acer announced that it had set the price tag of $449.99 for its Iconia Tab A500 tablet.  

Currently every manufacturer is setting their price tag around the same ball park as Apple’s iPad, which launched at $499, but has since been knocked down to $399 to make room for the iPad 2. However, as analysts have rightly pointed out manufacturers are missing a beat as many people will flock to have this statement piece of technology over, for example, a Samsung Galaxy, priced in the same band.  

Furthermore a Wi-Fi-only Xoom will set people back $599 , while the G-Slate burns into pockets at around $750 without a phone contract.

Although the PlayBook looks good with a $499 price tag, users are required to splash out some more as the tablet needs a user to link up to a BlackBerry phone to run basic apps such as email.

However, as the WSJ points out the Iconia Tab also has some more benefits being the first to run Google’s Android operating system. A WiFi-only version of the Iconia Tab went on sale on April 24 for $449.99. A new model that works on AT&T Inc.’s 4G wireless network is slated for release this summer for an as-yet-undisclosed price.

The paper has also drawn differences between Acer’s offering and Apple’s biting tablet. It says that although the 1.33-pound iPad 2 is lighter than the Iconia Tab, Acer wins in the battery life category.  Then there’s some cosmetic bits and bobs such as the way each one sets out their homescreen

The Acer tablet also offers a few key features not available on the iPad.

For example, while the iPad offers access on its home screen to basic apps such as a Web browser, still and video cameras, and email, the Iconia forces users to click on an “Apps” icon in the top, right-hand corner of the screen to find those apps.

One senior analyst who declined to be named told TechEye: “This was inevitable. Different studies have shown how big a margin Apple makes on the iPad, with the bill of materials (BOM) not amounting to a great deal.

“I’ve been astonished that makers of other tablets think they can charge the same for their machines as Apple does for the iPad. While Apple may be able to keep its prices high, the other tablet players will be forced by Acer to reduce their prices to a more competitive level.”