Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The tablet marketplace is widening, but we still may be one selling season away from mass-market adoption.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD tablets are a real value proposition starting at $199 and $299. But they do come with ads to make up for the money Amazon is losing on each tablet it sells.
The ads created a backlash and Amazon now has a solution: You can pay $15 more to not have the ads bombard you. We’ll see what people do. I’d rather save the $15 and see the ads, but that’s just me.
The Kindle Fire HD has all kinds of capabilities that blow past the shortcomings of the original Kindle Fire. There are no restrictive prohibitions on Android apps, and it has a built-in camera and built-in Skype. The goal is to get you more and more into the Amazon ecosystem, especially consuming more of its video.
Now Toys R Us has a new tablet called Tabeo that ships in October and will be available in stores in the third week of that month.
At $149, Tabeo introduces a new low price point for 7-inch tablets. It’s designed for kids. It’s safe from sticky food and you can even drop it, and it has apps for kids. Plus, there are restrictions for parents to control how it’s used.
Until I have one in my hand, I can’t yet tell you if it’s a good buy at $149.
But you see where the marketplace is moving. I had said last Christmas that we’d need a $99 tablet for the tablet market to really blow up. For most electronics, $199 is the impulse-buy price. Yet my perception with tablets is that they’ll have to be priced at $99 for widespread adoption.
We’ll see what happens after this coming holiday shopping season.
– Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog