Consumer oriented tablet computers are hitting the streets faster than anyone can count. Some of the tablets coming out this year will be budget models meant to function primarily as eBook readers, web surfing devices, or portable video players. Others will have high performance multi-core processors, high resolution displays, long battery life, and these high end models could replace a laptop computer in many situations.

So far the Apple iPad has been the runaway success story in the tablet space, with Apple shipping almost 15 million units in 8 months last year. But dozens of companies are hoping to compete with the iPad either by producing cheaper or more powerful devices. Surprisingly, we’re not seeing many tablets that offer more features and a low price tag though. Prices seem to range from under $100 to over $800 for consumer tablets, and for the most part it looks like you get what you pay for, although there’s certainly room for discussion on that point.

But how much do people actually want to pay for slate-style devices running Google Android, iOS, HP webOS, BlackBerry’s QNX software, or even Windows? I realize that some people wouldn’t spend a penny to get a tablet because it’s not a device that fits their needs. But I posted a poll this weekend to see how much people are willing to spend on a tablet that does meet their needs, and I was pretty surprised at the results.

The first surprise was that more than 1300 people responded in just a few days. The second surprise is that while the vast majority of respondents are only interested in tablets that run $500 or less, almost 20% would be willing to pay more than that, with 153 people saying they’d pay up to $600.

39 people said they’d pay up to $700 and another 37 said up to $800 was a reasonable price. Wile only 4 people considered $900 a decent price, 27 people said they’d be willing to pay up to a thousand dollars.

Another surprise? While the “under $200” option was fairly popular, with 172 votes, more people said they would spend $300, $400, or $500 on a tablet than “up to $200. I suspect that’s because most people realize that if you spend $200 on a tablet you’re not likely to get premium features such as a high resolution display with wide viewing angles, a full range of sensors — and for now at least, official support for the Google Android Market.

You can see a few more graphs showing the poll results after the break, or you can click on the image at the top of this post to see an interactive version of the graph.

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13 replies on “Poll results: How much you would pay for a tablet”

  1. I think the Ipad’s success stands in stark contrast to the results of this poll and most of the comments. Perhaps most who visit this site are younger, less affluent individuals who don’t want to (or can’t) spend much on anything – Although I am willing to wager most of you have phones whose retail value was $500.

    No, these tablets (both Android and Apples) will be a success if not simply because the huge tide of mobile computing it is riding on.

    Personally, I am looking forward to my first tablet – mostly for easy web consumption and reading of magazines and newspapers. The rest is icing on the cake and is easily worth $600. This is the attitude of most folks I talk to who have a middle class income…

    1. Yes, just pretend you justified your purchase of these toy tablets. The iPad’s success is mostly due to hype and Apple’s marketing. Then people rationalize their purchase and look down on others at the same time in the same way you do in your comment.

      1. try not to take it personally when folks disagree with you. You will find life to be less stressful 😉

  2. the worst pie chart ever. instead of making all sorts of random colors why dont you make it a gradient so that its easier to where the trends are

    1. Worst chart ever? Aren’t you being a bit harsh? Um….on second thought you might be right. I’d say blame Google and not Brad. I’m not sure what I’ve enjoyed more. The results of the poll or the chatter about the poll itself. Is the tablet chart discussion fascinating or it is the chart quality discussion that’s fascinating. Hmm.

    2. The big numbers are at the top of the legend that identifies the patterns or colors. Look at the chart –12 o’clock is 23.3% and the first item on the legend. Now read clockwise. Even a color blind one-eyed homeless person could read this chart, that’s is how charts work that is how anyone can read a chart from London to Tokyo.

  3. I think I could see myself getting a few tablets. One tablet I could see myself getting would be the (yet to be sold) colour Kindle sized A4. I could see myself spending $200-400 for that device. That would be used exclusively as a device for reading magazines and graphic novels, etc., that need more space and colour to be good.

    A Wacom unit that is also able to run Photoshop (not as a peripheral, but as a tablet). If it was A4 or A3, I’d probably pay about $1,000 for it. Maybe a smaller one for travel I’d pay around $500.

    A tablet that docs into a keyboard. A portable typewriter the size of the Palm III with a battery life of about a month I’d pay $100-200 for.

  4. This study does show that people don’t really have much of a clue how much these things cost to produce. If the Xoom cost ~$278 to make then there isn’t any way it’s getting down to $350. You have to remember, that $278 is just the hardware. That does not factor in the design work, software work, marketing, etc. . .

    People think these tablets should cost close to cheap netbooks but, netbooks don’t have anywhere near the hardware–solid state drives, capacitive touch screens, gps, accelerometers, gyroscopes, etc. . .

    Tablets won’t be dirt cheap till some of these hardware items drop in price significantly. Hopefully that will go quicker than it did for desktops since mobile devices in general are selling at significantly higher rates and have a much faster upgrade cycle.

    Expect tablets with decent specs to stay around $500 for a while.

    1. What manufacturers need to realize is that if there isn’t a market for a $800 device, then no premium feature is going to create one. Also your note about cost of manufacture is somewhat cogent but misses a point: The cost of software design, marketing, etc, are not based on the volume of units sold.

      To put it into perspective if that Xoom Tablet that costs $278 to manufacture would sell for let’s say $500, and that means MoMo makes 25 bucks per tablet, but sells 2 million of them, as opposed to 1 million at $600 and makes $35 bucks, they’ll make more money. (I know it’s not quite that linear in real life, but there is some truth there as well)

      So yes you can’t ignore those other costs. But you can’t over value them either. With enough volume they become meaningless, and if you price yourself out of competition, you’re hurting your overall return.

      So if a majority of people DO NOT want to spend more than $500 on what is by and large a luxury computing device… It would behoove most manufacturers to not come in above that point… And placing your product ABOVE the market leader in price, even if your product IS nicer (which could be debated), seems suicidal to me.

      Ultimately the market will speak. I could easily be wrong. But I think MoMo’s pricing strategy is going to do more to kill their product than anything Apple will, and their WiFi only model better hit the $500 mark, or I fear their product is barely going to make a ripple as it sinks like a stone.

    2. Doesn’t matter how much they cost to develop and produce. It has nothing to do with a person’s personal value of the device. For me, I wouldn’t pay much for an iPad or Xoom. At their current state, they don’t provide me much functionality.

      So paying $300-$800 for something that’s not very useful is pretty stupid.

    3. This just shows that all the hype over tablets is just that, hype. Not a whole lot of people would actually buy one unless they were cheap (in price only).

      1. I agree, I wouldn’t pay for half of the asking price for any of the Android tablets and iPad. They just aren’t that useful.

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