The most effective iPad competitors so far have competed on price with smaller, 7-inch tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 (both priced at $199).
The soon-to-be-unveiled crop of Windows 8 tablets is more of a wild card. No one can say for sure how well Microsoft's new Windows 8 interface (previously called Metro) for Windows 8 tablets will be received or what the demand is likely to be from business and professional customers eager to get a tablet that can run Microsoft Office as well as other Windows apps (for the x86 models).
Now comes a report that Asus plans to release two tablets priced higher than the entry level iPad. According to leaked documents ZDNet said it obtained detailing Asus’ holiday roadmap, the company plans to release the Asus Vivo Tab RT (TF600T) starting at $599 and Asus Vivo Tab (TF810C) starting at $799.
While some tablet vendors have previewed Windows 8 tablets, the official releases along with full specs and prices aren’t expected until October 25 when Microsoft makes the finished version of Windows 8 commercially available.
One thing the Acer and all other RT tablets will include that the iPad doesn’t is the latest “touch-friendly” version of MS Office 2013. An optional keyboard dock with extended battery life ($199) will also be available.
The more expensive Asus Vivo Tab is based on Intel’s Atom Z2760 processor and sports a larger, Super IPS+ 11.6-inch screen. Acer’s RT tab is a 10.1-inch model.
Microsoft has yet say what its own Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets will sell for.
The software giant didn’t confirm or deny a recent report that the Surface RT could sell for as low as $299, but analysts say that price seems unlikely without some kind of subsidy in the mix.
The other factor working against $299 is that Microsoft would likely be under-cutting its partners on price and would rather keep them happy.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted this week as saying:
"If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That's the sweet spot."