I don’t generally make my tech choices based solely on price, and I don’t recommend others use price as a primary factor in tech purchasing decisions, but at some point price is certainly a consideration. With a handful of $99 Windows 8.1 tablets coming soon, that magic, sub-$100 price point could make Microsoft a very compelling choice for those in the market for a tablet.
It may not sway consumers from buying an iPad, but it could put a serious dent in the Android tablet market. Someone who wants an iPad generally wants just that–an iPad. They’re not in the market for a “tablet” per se, and they’re OK spending the $500-plus to get the iPad.
However, much of the consumer tablet market is interested in having a tablet without breaking the bank. For those people, there is a plethora of Android and Kindle Fire tablet options for $250 or less–many available for under $200.
When Microsoft and its partners bring Windows 8.1 tablets for under $100 to market, though, those Android and Kindle Fire options will be much less compelling. Say what you want about Windows 8.1 as a desktop OS, a tablet for under $100 that can run the full Microsoft Office productivity suite, and all of the apps and tools users are already familiar with will be a hit. There will be no need to find or buy mobile app alternatives, and users will be able to just use the same applications they already know from their Windows PCs.A $99 Windows 8.1 tablet won’t replace a PC as a primary computing device for most people , but for under $100 the tablet will be an ideal mobile companion, or bedside device. Microsoft may be late to the party, but this next generation of Windows tablets will put Microsoft on the map, and will be a serious challenge for Android tablet manufacturers.
For more on the cheaper tablets and laptops coming from Microsoft and its partners, check out the article I wrote for TechRepublic: Microsoft ready to go head-to-head with Chromebooks and Android tablets.