Haleron Lowers The Tablet PC Price Bar With $199 iLet Mini HAL

We've said it before, and we'll keep right on saying it: the tablet is back in a big way, but the consumers have yet to have time to actually speak. In other words, only time will tell if people are ready to re-embrace the tablet PC, which was largely rejected years ago as being too bulky, too niche and too expensive. Honestly, this whole marketing push feels a lot like 3D. Consumers never really asked for 3D to make a comeback, but all of a sudden, motion picture producers decided--seemingly across the board--that 3D was the way forward.

We've seen company after company detail their tablet PC plans, and while many have yet to materialize, there's little doubt that analysts will be watching sales of the JooJoo and iPad over the next couple of months in order to get an early idea if this "comeback" is for real. But here's a thought: what if the iPad was just $199? Apple probably won't even lower the MSRP on that device to under $200, but a smaller company like Haleron has no problems going for broke. After all, it's going to take something drastic (like a Core i7 inside of a tablet, or a tablet that costs $199) to get attention in a world full of Sony, Samsung, HP, Lenovo, Dell and Apple.

And that's exactly what Haleron is doing. The 7" iLet Mini HAL is one of the most stylish slate PCs that we've seen, and the starting price is an almost unbelievable $199. Of course, it won't be the fastest tablet in existance, with an older 600MHz VIA CPU that will almost certainly have trouble playing back 720p and 1080p content. It will also ship with 128MB of DDR2 memory, and instead of using a full-on operating system, it will rely on Google's Android, which is typically reserved for smartphones but has made the occasional departure before. 2GB of Flash storage will be provided, and 10GB of cloud storage is included as well. This is more of a glorified e-reader than anything else, particularly with that mobile OS, but still, it drives a hard bargain for less than $200.

The device is expected to start shipping next month, and we could certainly see a lot of tablet PC skeptics taking the plunge here as more of an impulse buy than anything else. Will you be one of those early adopters, or are you waiting to see if you really need a tablet when your netbook is humming along just fine?