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So Sharp announces it will launch a tablet called Galapagos. It promises it will be really cool, and it promises the price will be competitive.  People will love it and flock to stores to buy so many the factory won’t be able to keep up.

So let me get this straight:

In an ultra-competitive tablet market, Sharp announces a tablet with a name many can’t pronounce, with no price or launch date?


I’m really excited about Android tablets. I don’t like the iPad’s lack of flash,
no USB ports and since I don’t have a Mac, don’t like the lack of compatibility.

And I fear, in the end, I may end up buying one.

It looks as if Samsung, being released Sept. 18, and Motorola, possibly coming
in October, are being released through cell carriers. That scares me. While no
one has said so, does that mean the carriers will require data packages and
contracts in order to get the tablets at a reasonable price?

That’s how the cellphone game works. Get a phone that retails for $549 for $99
as long as you sign a two-year contract and buy a  $29.99 a month data plan.
Will carriers try the same trick with tablets — $299 with a data plan but
$699 without? And will they try to force a two-year contract on all tablet

If they do that, these android tablets will be dead on arrival.  Consumers are getting sick of being nickled and dimed for every new gadget that hits the market. That consumer frustration helps Apple. The iPad, for all of its flaws, doesn’t require any contracts and users can buy a data plan month-to- month. That’s enough to make me
change my mind and buy one.

The huge IFA conference in Berlin just wrapped up, and I was struck by one
thing: most of the Android tablets to be released in Q4 this year will be
released outside of the  U.S.

Toshiba announced it will release its 10.1-inch tablet in European, Middle
Eastern and African markets, but was silent on when it would come to the U.S.
Viewsonic’s 7-inch tablet has received some early, strong reviews, but U.S.
consumers won’t be able to get it here (unless they order online, of course).

While no one’s saying so, this appears to be a reaction to the iPad’s strength
on the U.S. market. While many analysts thought that Android manufacturers would
try to roll out their devices in time for the holiday shopping season, it looks
as if only smaller players (Archos, for example) will do so. (Rumors persist that
Motorola will be out in a few months, but I’ll believe it when I see it).

In the end, it probably makes sense for Android manufacturers to wait until Q1.
By then, they should be in a better all around position — from a technical,
product and marketing standpoint — to make a splash.

That is, of course, unless Apple decides to announce its iPad V2 in Q1. Then all
the media hype goes back to Apple

That’s the question now that Barnes and Noble has announced it will sell its
lowest price e-reader, the Aluratek, for $99. This comes on top of the price
drops for the Kobo, Kindle and Sony products just to name a few.

This all makes sense as the market continues to grow. As e-readers become
cheaper to make, manufacturers can drop price and go after a segment of buyers
who think price, first — and in this economy, who care what the logo says as
long as you get what you want at a price you want to pay?

Does this mean Amazon should be wary? No. The Kindle is a better product and
offers more product than anyone. Their buyers are more likely to be swayed by
product reliability, functionality and depth of offerings. They’ll still be
e-reader king for a long time coming.

But I do wonder: with the Christmas season upon us, will other manufacturers
drop below $99 in an effort to corner that low-priced market?