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Tablets. You either love them or you hate them. Despite being versatile machines that are great for taking your work and entertainment with you, many question their plausibility and have written them off as toys. The truth is, tablets may very well be the future of mobile computing. As desktop and mobile platforms merge, tablets will become increasingly useful and will likely gain the attention of a much larger audience.

The largest hurdle for manufacturers thus far, however, has not been convincing consumers that tablets are useful or great at what they're intended to do – mostly multimedia and games. The biggest obstacle has been price and keeping costs down. Although a tablet will likely suit the average consumer's needs, it's almost impossible for them to justify a relatively underpowered and less functional tablet over a laptop for the same price. A laptop, though it is not nearly as lightweight or portable, is quite obviously more deserving of a $400, $500 or $600 price tag.

Problems with pricing have affected essentially all manufacturers – besides Apple, of course – who have attempted to enter the tablet market over the past several months. Apple beat other OEMs to the punch by almost an entire year and set the standard for what a tablet should cost. They set the bar pretty high (or low, in terms of price), with the cheapest iPad priced at $499.99. Other manufacturers have struggled to match such a low baseline. Take Motorola for instance. The first version of the XOOM on Verizon (3G enabled with the promise of a later LTE upgrade) was initially released for $800. Since then, Motorola has reevaluated their pricing structure and adjusted it accordingly. And OEMs like Acer, ASUS and Toshiba have managed to keep their tablets below $500.

Despite having adjusted pricing and some OEMs actually undercutting Apple by quite a margin, tablet manufacturers now face another pricing issue: deep discounts. From the time the HP TouchPad was first rumored, it was a tablet worth keeping an eye on. Long story short, HP missed their window of opportunity, overpriced their tablet and completely failed at marketing. They countered by almost immediately discounting their pair of tablets $50, by way of rebates. Not long after, they permanently dropped the price of each of the TouchPad models $100. Still, sales were extremely stagnant and HP abruptly decided to pull out of the webOS hardware business and proceeded to slash the price of their tablets to $99 (for the 16GB version) and $149 (for the 32GB).

These heavily discounted tabs were quickly swept up by buyers who had been waiting for a good deal on a tablet, those who were on the fence about it and people who never desired a tablet in the first place. And that's the point. A large number of fence riders now have their hands on a decent tablet with minimal collateral damage to their wallets. Those who were looking for a deal either got their hands on a tablet or will be waiting for another deal to come along. The remainder either still do not want a tablet, already have one or are on the prowl. But after one reputable tablet having been sold for a mere $150 at most, the BlackBerry PlayBook facing some discounting of its own, do you honestly think buyers are still going to buy from the current crop of tablets for $400 and up?

Of course, there are always going to be those who don't pay attention to any of this. But as someone who keeps up with mobile news, you would think all of this sporadic discounting should make them apprehensive.

Such deep discounts can clearly help lesser-known manufacturers and platforms snag some of the market share. But it doesn't come without repercussions. Consumers now expect manufacturers to slash the price of their tablets if they do not immediately perform well amongst the competition. Even if it isn't the tablet we want, if the price is right, you and I both will be heading out, head to toe in our battle armor, to fight for a dirt cheap tablet.

Again, as tablets and PCs become more like one another, this issue will slowly fade away. Next year's upgrade in specs will make justification for a $500 tablet much easier again (as if it ever was to begin with). But even I, an avid tablet lover who doesn't mind paying full price for a shiny new tab every once in a while, can't justify buying a tablet right now. Some manufacturers just don't get the pricing game, and they're too quick to discount after they realize they've messed up.

What say you, ladies and gents? Are you apprehensive when it comes to buying a tablet nowadays? Are you waiting for a deal? Or are you afraid that the tablet you buy will be discounted soon after you buy it? Sound off below!


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104 Reactions to this post

"Are tablets worth it?"


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Loi Tan Vo I'm using one to write this haha
Francisco Luna Well.... is it a tablet or a 3D mouse/stylus imput pad?
Harsha Halyal Tablets are like slates which we use it earlier days . .
Sergio Nayar You can do amazing things with tablets and pretty much anything you do with full blown computers if you know how to do it. Except burning DVDs and such. Learn how to complement and mix tech and you'll be amazed.
Erik Rosli Imho, the tablet is a luxury item that you don't necessarily need. Surfing the web and e-mails on the go? Any BBs, iPhones and Android powered smart phones can do that. That goes for movies and gaming as well. My take on tablets is that they are relevant for those who need the bigger screen to do all the said things. And of course, ebooks are meant for tablets.
Kevin Joel Android tablets are, Apple ipad gets boring after a few days...
Henry Murillo Not worth 500 buks... 150 to 250 yah. I could get a whole computer for 500 to 600!
Brandon Ricker I think so, tablet and smartphone, no computer now, can dload music on the tablet and stream movies over the internet or dload them for later, edit notes or right them, print off on a WiFi printer use hdmi to mirror on tv etc. Just as good as a laptop will agree price point right now is high but fair I guess for the portability
Anonymous no... they're just another toy
Salomon Murillo Hard to decide, but not yet right now do to the price of them.
Paul Davis Ipad 2 is worth every penny, games, porn, and college e-book... Oh and it plays yo gabba gabba on netflix, turns my baby quiet everytime!
Oseki Paisley the evo 4g is good or samsung gs2.
Brian Tarango Hey im trying to decide ethier to get the samaung conquer or the evo 4g
Josh Billingsley Anyone who says no is just jealous. And tablets do do video chat. Fyi for the moron who said they dont. And I have a physical keyboard built into my case. And a wireless mouse. Other than burning dvds and flashing roms to my phone there's nothing my tab Doesn't do for me.
Justin M. Houston They'd be better if you could do something simple like, say, print from them for free!
Tony Abiama I love my touchpad... Incredibly useful. Browsing is of course much better than my Evo
Joel Gomez Yes. Surfing the net, reading emails, doing daily computer stuff is very convenient. You just sit on a couch and relax or be anywhere. The screen is big.
Cory Wilson I'm getting the Samsung galaxy note
Dwayne Demaurivert Yes just a bigger screen
Roman Galysh In my computer class it was stated by my professor that 80% of businesses are moving to tablets, and some of the schools have already implemented them into their classrooms
Chris Nelson They are worth buying more portable and easily to do simplier tasks. Ipad 2
Patrick DeCastro If 90% of your daily computing consists of blogging, reading and various forms of media consumption, then yes. I cannot think of a good reason to get one if you plan to do any really productive things other than light research.
Kip Count Toys.
Sokpeah Proeun Samsung galaxt tab 10.1 baby!!!!
Sokpeah Proeun Yes if you are always running around on business, plus they hold alot longer charge than laptops.
Adrian Allen My 10.5 inch android tablet broke in 10 months very fragile and not water proof but anyway just wore out in 11 months and had to buy nothing since then
Cyrus Vargas Tablets are just luxury items. They can help you but they're not a necessity at all. Don't run to buy a tablet thinking that it'll improve your work quality significantly.
T.J. Howells Sure. I have one so yes. But I regret it aittle
Thomas Boehnlein @Derick Williams Good luck drawing diagrams with your keyboard. Some of us are scientists and engineers.
Derick Williams Er.. don't confuse your dislike of windows, with some magical property of tablets that doesn't exist.
Israel Leiva XOOM pad takes care of all my pc needs. Better than a netbook or laptop. I'm not a Windows fan.
Derick Williams lol... I have yet to see anyone give me a valid reason to use a tablet over a netbook. I love how people talk about "all the great possibilities and uses" and sure enough, what do people use them for? 1. internet browsing. 2. ebook reader. 3. Take notes by hand! really.. lets be real here people.. it isn't like there is much use for these things to begin with. And I want to strangle people who take notes by hand on paper.. seriously.. its less than a penny per sheet of paper.. And 9 times out of 10 if you have *any* skill what so ever.. typing will be loads faster.
Alexander Villalpando Not for 699.99 like the NYC jetstream.
Stian Grøtåsen For most people, yes.
Najwa Najj yes its pain killer
Broderick Whitten If u can afford it sure buy what u want.
Asher Enciso I find netbooks to fulfill my needs much more then any tablet.
Nathaniel Hull the tablets are just oversized snartphones, without the phone.... so not worth it at all, especially if you already have a highend dual-core phone... so they are just a waste
Daniel Pintor Not yet.
Jaime Andrade Ipad 2makes sense to me. If i can't look it up on my droid charge then Ipad 2, its better then firing up that old dinosaur desktop.
Justin Spry If they were 200 and not 500 i would buy one. They don't have they same as a cell phone like making a call.
Ismael Sergio Molina I use to think they were worth it, but now I just feel that a smartphone can do everything I want a tablet to do.
Mj Williams I've been using a tablet pc for 4 years. The tablets that are loosely based on the ipad are crap but real slates are quite good
Lamar Sarracino Yes they are definitely worth it!!!! But only if done properly with the best hardware out there!!!!!!!
Steven Bucklew Tablets should be no more than 400 dollars. Makes no sense when certain tablets and laptops are in the 500 dollar and up range. Tablets have less features than a laptop.. Why cost the same? I have both an iPad and a transformer and I prefer the transformer.
Allen Drewe If you have a decent computer a tablet is totally superfluous. If you don't then yes they are worth it.
Marcelo Gutemberg DeSouza Tablets are just another way to get your money. I mean samrtphone with 4.3 screen and notebook isnt enough
Brian Fruge I have i pad 2 hell yea
Lani Pasion I have my my mac pro laptop and my android cell. don't see the need for a tablet.
Brian Keith Tablets yes iPad no
Robert Cucurella My EVO 3d is a monster u can plug it to a tv and ita like a computer
Ladale Toliver They are worthhaving but not worth the price of having
Eric Mitchell I had both the iPad and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and I have to say that I am not satisfied with either. If I am going to spend over $500 on a tablet it has to do at least more of what a computer can do rather than doing something on a phone
Byktor Urvaes No to me... I prefer a laptop and a good smartphone.
Fernando Gonzalez Absolutely. Got ny Transformer and haven't touched my desktop since. I'll be getting the keyboard dock soon too. Win
Mark Fisher Jr. It depends on what you need it for. Otherwise, its not worth it.
Terrence Meekins I have a Motorola xoom and while I love my tablet and wouldn't go anywhere without it, nobody needs a tablet. Its incredibly convenient and has changed the way that I do everything...I don't NEED it. I do video calls...I compose emails...I text message...I browse web, I check stats, I go to commercials websites in an instant, I do research, shows the kids videos of things they have questions about instantly....all on a 10.1 inch screen...and if my phone rings...no bother. I keep right on going. I dont have to wait for it to boot up. Dont have to shut it down. Dont have to keep it plugged in...nor worry about the power chord. I will use it all day long and not even think about the power chord. When i leave the house it fits in my glove compartment and when i am out visitting...I can all the same things I do at home with it instantly. Nope...nobody needs one but for me it was well worth it
Kristopher Davis @Ishmal Paschal... Tablets can make calls..Google voice number and a simple app...someone else said no video calls..r u serious? Of course they do...another said no real OS for tablets just kinda OS...ever hear of honeycomb? Built for tablets..I think people have no knowledge in tablets when they comment
Johnny Chingas I use my iPad 2 more than my laptop
Abraham Arciniega Tablets r like mini computers, they are fast and portable. I have and it continues to blow my mind
Barry Washington No, all manufactures need to take notes from what HP did, its not that ppl don't want them, they just cost too darn much. (At least for me)
Ziggy Torres Not at this time. Its a luxury. Laptops are alot more productive as of right now.
Jepoy Omlet Yes the Lg optimus pad is
Travis Lamar Pachan None of the so called tablets either android ios or webos bases are worth it. The only worth while tablet it's the Sahara slate. They were the first and the first to get it right.
Tarun Khatwani love them or hate them it's still an obsession .not a necessity ..Il still buy one :)
Lennes Shaw I have an ipad2 and its cool I dont like the garageband prefer gb on an mac desktop
Nicholas Bucholdt Yes, my life is on my Touchpad now. My computer is neglected.
Ishy Pas No. They're impractical for my tastes. Everything I can do on a tablet, I could already do on my laptop/desktop and better might I add. Since tablets can't even make calls, what is the real point of even owning one? I'd rather do my work with a physical keyboard anyway. I don't even see anyone with tablets out anyway, either a cell phone or nothing at all.
Jeremy Gross id rather get a macbook air over ipad my parents think i should get an ipad for school but they dont know
Tim Miyashiro @David Typical person who bought a tablet and now has buyer's remorse.
Tim Killian When Windows 8 come out yes. Now? Not really. Unless the price is right.
Cameron Pearson Ye the only people who think there not are people that carnt afford them
Jeremy Abad I like tablets. They are convenient.
Arnulfo Barajas yes might get. a ipad this year
Sharat Sean Rahman All the new smartphones with the bigger screens can do whatever the tablet can and more....tablets = useless
David McClellan @Charles... I believe the original iPad is the only recent generation tablet that can't make video calls...
Darren Penix I have one and I have to say they're not worth it. I wish I was still in my 30 trial period
James Newman If they drop the price on them then maybe. As soon as they put an actual OS on them, not something like Android or iOS, then they will be about worth the prices they are now.
Reggie Johnson depends on the type of work you do, and the price.
David McClellan So because you sit at a computer desk all day, it's a toy? You're right, you're the only one alive in the world. Talk about self centered
Tim Miyashiro If I get one for free.
Matic Krmec Sure they are... but not this generation :D the next one will be better :D
James Gustavo Hidalgo Yes..... sike
Michael Brooks Yeah, my Galaxy Tab is mobile, and fulfills all my needs
Chris Kift Depends what job u got really
Francis San Pedro Yes. The TouchPad is worth it.
Roger DeOliveira I have a computer within arms reach 99.9% of my day, so there is absolutely 0 need for a tablet. If in that .01% i need to access something online I have my smartphone that can handle it. So yes, it is a toy.
Jacob Bessey If they did not cost as much as a laptop or a desktop maybe
Charles Jones not at all. They should at least come with the ability to make video calls.




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