Last week, Lenovo released additional details about its Lenovo IdeaPad A1 7" WiFi Android Tablet, including the price tag: The device will only cost $199 for an 8GB model. However, according to Engadget, only the 16GB and 32GB versions will be available in the U.S., to be sold for $249 and $299 respectively.
Despite that curious (and a bit irritating) caveat, the news is appealing. The prices are very low for a tablet manufactured by a brand you've actually heard of, and as HP proved a few weeks ago, consumers are willing to hop aboard the iPad alternative train at the right price. In fact, before HP slashed the cost of its discontinued TouchPad to an unheard of $99.99 for the 16GB tablet ($149.99 for the 32GB), 45% of dealnews readers said that they would buy the device if it fell below $300. And boy, they weren't lying; so many TouchPads were snatched up in such a short period of time, HP is rumored to be manufacturing additional devices to fill the need.
Each of the IdeaPad A1 tablets are under $300, but does that mean it too will see a massive frenzy of orders? Compared to the TouchPad, the A1 features several "downgraded" specifications; the A1 features a single-core (instead of dual-core) processor, 7" LCD (instead of a 9.7"), WiFi connectivity only, and an outdated OS (Gingerbread instead of Honeycomb, although to be fair the TouchPad's webOS was discontinued). Will the downgrade in features dull the demand?
Moreover, there's the psychological element to the TouchPad's success. Yes, $99.99 and $149.99 are fantastic prices on their own. But how many people flashed their credit card at the bat of an eye because they knew, just a week ago, that each legitimately cost several hundreds more?
Regardless of how the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 sells, there's a possibility that we may be seeing an overall slide in iPad alternative prices, in order for the numerous tablet runners-up to become legitimately competitive.