Between the Mobile World Congress and Apple’s upcoming iPad event, set for March 7, there’s been no shortage of tablet coverage recently. Although the iPad 3 has arguably stolen the spotlight, Samsung and Sony have done their best to vie for attention. Well, maybe not their best, but they’ve made an effort. Each has announced an impending tablet that will debut before Apple shows off its latest entry: Samsung will introduce the Galaxy Tab 7.7 on March 1, and Sony will offer up the Sony Tablet P threes days later on March 4. Ordinarily we’d applaud this sort of gadget onslaught. After all, when three of the industry’s biggest names throw their hats into the ring, surely consumers will reap the rewards. Except Samsung and Sony have bogged down their tablets with ridiculous contracts and prices that are sure to turn off consumers while ruining any chance the companies had of seriously challenging Apple for big-dog status.
When Samsung made its latest Galaxy Tab pitch, for instance, instead of giving consumers reason to overlook the rest of the Tab family’s disappointing performance, the company overshadowed the tablet’s 7.7-inch, LTE credentials with this fuckup: The Galaxy tab 7.7 will set you back a minimum $499, and that’s with a 2-year contract. If you say to hell with carriers, the price of the puny tablet swells to an eye-watering, deal-breaking $699.
And Sony, already bleeding money, is similarly stupid. Its Tablet P, a 5.5-inch tablet with a Nintendo DS-like ability to fold in half, will price itself off the market with a 399-dollar contract tag, and that price skyrockets to $549 without a contract.
If you’re wondering why those prices are bound to sink both products to the bottom of the gadget heap, a place reserved for hare-brained, half-baked efforts, look no further than Apple’s leading tablets. You can get in to a 9.7-inch iPad 2 for $500, and a carrier-backed version that won’t saddle you with a contract comes in at $629. Despite a rumor that the iPad 3 could command an 80-dollar premium, odds are those prices will carry over. In fact, if anything, the iPad 3’s rollout could slash its predecessors’ prices. That’s the word, anyway. But even if that last rumor doesn’t pan out, the iPad will lord over its pricier-per-inch Samsung and Sony competition because, well, it provides a better bang for your buck.
Not that it has to convince consumers of its worthiness. Two years and more than 55 million iPads later, Apple has comfortably established its tablet as the one to beat. It’s up to the competition to make compelling arguments for relevance. But they haven’t. Samsung and Sony have shot themselves in the collective foot with foolish prices and led two more lambs to the slaughter. Good show, guys.