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Click to see full-sizeMore low-priced tablets are hitting the market (click on the thumbnail photo). Last issue I asked whether tablets were dead or alive, because HP had just dropped its WebOS line of tablets and smartphones. Those tablets sold out at $99 and $149 so fast that HP cranked up production again and is selling another batch at $99 to meet demand, which shows that once the start-up costs of designing and tooling the production lines are paid for, the cost per unit is very low.

Now Samsung, Lenovo and Toshiba have tablets on the market as low as $199 for the 7-inch Lenovo Android A1 with front and back cameras, which make it an oversized smartphone. (It will sell for $249 in the U.S.) You can get a Samsung Galaxy Tab WiFi model on Amazon.com for $236. The 10-inch Toshiba Thrive sells for under $500. So as I wrote last issue, prices are dropping.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Clarke's Third Law

The big news, though, is Amazon's 7-inch "Almost-Android" Kindle, due in November at $249 for the initial WiFi-only model. Why do I say "Almost-Android"? Because Amazon has customized the underlying Android OS so much that it's hardly recognizable as Android: you'll get your e-books from Amazon.com and read them in the built-in Kindle reader program (which you can also get, BTW, for any PC or Mac), you'll download your apps from Amazon's AppStore, and you'll store your music on Amazon's Cloud, so it looks like Google is totally shut out of the picture. But there's no camera: big mistake! Amazon may bring out a 3G or 4G model, and one with a 10-inch screen, sometime next year.

All this will certainly bring price pressure on Apple, which will doubtless drop prices on its iPads in order to stay competitive. But Apple has long ago paid for the start-up costs of designing and tooling the production lines, so it has been making a killing on these tablets up to now. And it means that Windows 7 tablets - if they ever hit the market - will have some stiff competition.

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Speaking of prices dropping on tablets, how about a $25 computer? Check out this video; $25 PC alpha board successfully runs Linux. The Raspberry Pi credit-card-size computer has 128Mb of RAM, an SD card port, 2 USB ports, and a video port. Here's the article: Why a $25 PC? Because it's the price of a textbook . Yes, prices are falling! Oh, wait: if you want more RAM and a network port, you'll have to add $10.

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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