Microsoft Office on ElitePad
As seen in a two dollar shop? Not quite, but cheap enough to sell in bulk

There are lots of things to like about a Windows tablet, the price isn’t one of them.

Prices for the first crop of tablets running Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 operating system typically cost as much as iPads. They quickly rise to levels far more expensive than Ultrabooks.

Android tablets often cost less than half the price.

Given Apple’s market leadership and the cachet attached to the iPad brand, this makes life hard for people other than Microsoft selling Windows 8 tablets. And even Microsoft doesn’t sell its Surface tablets in the large numbers it might if the price was sharper.

Admittedly Windows tablets target a different market. People don’t buy them for the same tasks as Apple or Android tablets. Nevertheless, the price difference is extreme, so many potential Windows tablet buyers are going elsewhere for their hardware.

Relief could soon be on its way from Intel. Last week the chip-maker said a new generation of processors is on the way which could see tablet prices drop to as low as US$200. After allowing for currency, the usual technology price-gouging and GST that should see devices land in New Zealand for around $300.

That price is likely to kick-start sales and grab market share away from Android and possibly even Apple. Of course, it won’t do anything to help slumping PC sales.

Incidentally, that price is less than consumers were expected to pay for Windows software upgrades a decade ago.

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