New Year's resolution must have been to sell a more affordable tablet, as evidenced by the Tablet S receiving a much needed price cut. The 9.4-inch tablet now sells for $400 on Sony's website for the 16GB model, and $500 for the 32GB version, down from $500 and $600 respectively (though both were recently selling for $50 off MSRP).
The $100 price cut isn't exactly shocking. Sony, like everyone else, is suddenly faced with the reality that there are at least two low priced and capable tablets on the market, one of which belongs to Amazon (Kindle Fire, $199) and the other to Barnes & Noble (Nook Tablet, $249). The Kindle Fire is proving especially popular with millions of sales during the holiday shopping season, according to Amazon.
Where Sony's Tablet S has an advantage is size. It's a 9.4-inch tablet, a sizable difference compared to the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, both of which are 7 inches. But as we pointed out in our review of the Tablet S
, Sony's timing stinks. In addition to competing against a pair of low cost tablets, over on the high end Asus is getting ready to release its Transformer Prime tablet, a $500 slate with superior specs and a clear upgrade path to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). Here's what we concluded:
"Take away the IR remote (and, to an extend, DLNA support), you're left with an average tablet that struggles to compete with better equipped full-size and lower price three-quarter size tablets."
Slashing a C-note off the MSRP helps Sony's case, but unless street pricing dips to around $350, the Tablet S will likely struggle to stand out from the crowd.