Buying A Full-Price Android Tablet Looks Risky

Android tablets are great for entertainment: they work with Flash, they offer a huge and open market of free and paid apps, and you can set one up easily without needing to hook into a computer. The one thing you shouldn't do? Buy one the second it hits the market.

Right now, you can purchase the Optus MyTab for $99. When I tested it late last year, it was a pretty impressive device — even the resistive screen wasn't that big a problem. However, back then, it cost $279. That was still cheaper than more expensive rivals, but six months later it has been slashed to just over a third of that original price.

We've seen the same pattern with lots of other first-generation Android tablets. The most dramatic example was the original Galaxy Tab, which started out priced at just under $1000 but has been on sale more recently for less than half that price. Telstra's T-Touch Tab has also fallen below $200.

Most of the attention in the Android tablet space has now shifted to devices that use Honeycomb, which has an interface primarily optimised for tablets rather than phones. Many of those devices are already cheaper than the first-generation Android tablets were; the Galaxy Tab 10.1v is priced at $729, while the Toshiba AT100 is $579. And given what has happened so far and the schedule of new devices due between now and the end of the year, I'll be amazed if those prices haven't fallen further before Christmas comes around.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all: competition and constant technical evolution mean we're getting better, cheaper devices all the time. (Pricing on the iPad also dropped dramatically when the iPad 2 was announced, but the process took much longer — close on a year — because Apple controls the entire process.)

However, it does mean that if you buy a new Android tablet the second it comes out, the chances are you'll be cursing a little three or six months down the line. Obviously, if you've enjoyed using the device over that period, you might not care. But if you've signed up for a long-term contract, you're likely to feel more than a little ripped off.

Lifehacker's weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.


Comments

    Which is why the Kogan 7" Agora tablet look to be just the right price for features and price for me.

    I'm still waiting on mine in the next batch but I know what I'm getting for $189 (cheaper if you get it on LivePrice). That is something that will allow me to read PDF's, e-books and some internet just before bed instead of using a bulky (in comparison) laptop.

    Until the full featured Android tablet market settles down, which could be anywhere up to another 3 to 4 years, I'll just use something that suits my needs for now. Sub $200 tablets will do me just fine.

    Don't buy on the first day or even first week....just like everything else.

    This has always been true for emerging categories that evolve quickly.

    The advice I give to people is to make the best decision you can on a new phone/laptop/tablet/car/appliance/etc., then STOP RESEARCHING THEM for at least three months!

    In most cases, there'll be newer, cheaper, better models coming along, and what do you achieve by beating yourself up about it?

    Enjoy the device for the purposes you bought it for!

      Do you ever buy any technology then? because I dont know about you but if I did that it would just a constant wait period without buying anything as there is always something just over the horizon.

        You didn't actually read what Ian wrote did you borganstein?
        You're disagreeing to agree!!!

    Ordered one Optus my tab for $99 from dicksmith. Cheap as chips.

    When you say "right now you can buy" it, can you provide a singly store that isn't sold out?

    Wait, is this article suggesting that technology prices dropping as they age is a BAD THING(tm) ?

    Apple is truly the only manufacturer who can get away charging the same price for 12 consecutive month, at which point a new model is released and the old model gets a whopping 5% discount. And people line up for this, knowing that some sucker will buy an 11 month old iDevice for the exact same price they paid on day 1.

    Encouraging people NOT to buy something because one day it may be cheaper is kind of an odd thing for a "kind of" tech-related blog to be doing.

    anyone got the kogan agora 7" yet? A batch should have shipped on June 3. I am in for the next batch but I am curious as to what it is like.

    That photo looks suspiciously like a Pendo Pad,

    I have (had) a Kogan tablet ... It was good until it suddenly became non responsive for no reason ... I had put it on standby and when I tried to turn it on after a few hours ... It wouldn't respond at all... Its getting sent back to Kogan as we speak ... I am sure I just got a dud device but it is quite frustrating..

    i think you can check http://www.itabletpcshop.com about the 7 inch android tablet !

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