Apple iPad 2 vs. Tablet Competitors: 10 Reasons Price Cuts Won't Help

News analysis: Price cuts tablet makers recently announced are nice. But the cuts are unlikely to increase sales of competing tablet models versus the Apple iPad 2. To gain ground against the iPad, competitors must find some way to offer a superior product.

Price is vastly important in today's technology industry. With the economy the way it is and a growing number of people thinking more about saving than spending, companies must determine the right price point that will induce consumers to buy their products.

As of late, several tablet makers, including HP and Vizio, have made that abundantly clear. Vizio's 8-inch tablet retails for $299, and HP was recently forced to drop the price of its TouchPad to $399 and $499 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively.

Those companies ostensibly believe that they're onto something with cheaper pricing. They undoubtedly feel that by offering lower prices than that of the iPad 2, they can get some of those customers that don't want to spend $499 for the cheapest version of Apple's tablet.

But what those companies don't realize is that they're thinking is all wrong. Pricing their products lower won't help their cause one bit. In fact, it might end up hurting them even more.

Here's why lower-priced tablets won't succeed against Apple's iPad 2.

1. They're still expensive

Whether vendors want to admit it or not, even at $400, their tablets are quite expensive. Today's economy is not going all that well, and both consumers and enterprise users aren't so willing to spend cash. At $400, many people view tablets that they know can't compete with the iPad 2 as still too expensive. The Vizio tablet is closer to where prices should be, but even then, there's debate about the true value of a given tablet. Until these companies make customers see intrinsic value to their products' design, even $300 or $400 might be viewed as too expensive by some folks.

2. The difference isn't enough

Apple's cheapest iPad 2 is currently on sale for $499, which means the HP TouchPad is $100 cheaper. Considering most buyers are voting with their dollars that the iPad 2 is more appealing than the TouchPad, HP would have needed to get more distance between the devices to actually capitalize on its cheaper price. The fact is, with its many more applications and superior software, the iPad 2 is a better bet. And $100 isn't enough to get customers to think otherwise.

3. Android isn't up to par yet

Other devices, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Motorola Xoom, can't keep up with the iPad 2 for one key reason: Android. When the Xoom launched, Android's Honeycomb platform was viewed by critics as not even ready for a public launch. Even Android 3.1, while much nicer, still feels less than polished. But iOS 4 is nothing of the sort. Until Google's Android platform can trump iOS, no price cut will change the opinions of customers who want a superior product.

4. Neither is WebOS

If Android can't keep up with iOS, what makes anyone think that WebOS is any different? HP's operating system comes with some neat features, like being able to tap the tablet against an HP smartphone to transfer content, but it still lacks all the applications on iOS. What's more, the operating system is still an unknown quantity for many customers. Apple's iOS, on the other hand, has won consumers' confidence. Until HP can overcome that identity problem, even its latest price cut won't matter.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...