May 23, 2011 at 6:09 PM ET
A report by Tim Bajarin, tech analyst and contributor to PCMag.com, is first to mention possible pricing for Amazon's impending — but as of now unconfirmed — Android tablets. There would be a 7-incher for $350, and a 10-incher for "around" $450, says Bajarin, citing unnamed sources.
I have to say, those prices could be right on the money. A $350 7-incher would put it at $100 more than Barnes & Noble's Nook Color. That would work, because it would presumably have more power, and would run more Android apps out of the gate, but would still cost far less than competing 7-inchers from HTC and RIM, which sell for $500.
A $450 tab that would go up against the iPad would also be a clever price. It's the same as the Acer Iconia A500, $50 more than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, but in both cases, it would top them, because it would come with the full weight of Amazon's services (and marketing muscle). You would get a "premium" product for that price, rather than a commodity product.
But the reason I have some skepticism is that Amazon would be cutting down their profit margins like crazy to meet these price points, and I don't know if they'd want to do that. They consistently charged more for their e-ink Kindle, and even now, in a season when you finally can find $99 e-ink e-readers, the lowest Amazon is willing to go is $114 — with subsidies from sponsors. The point is, they don't give away any money they don't have to.
Though I would love for Bajarin's pricing to be final, a $400 7-inch Amazon tablet would still be perceived as competitive if it was a full-fledged Android machine; and a $500 10-incher would do fine against its Android-powered competition, if not the iPad itself.
More on e-readers from msnbc.com: