Just a few years ago, we would have laughed off any insinuation of tablets costing less than hearty three-course meal. In today's evolving tech world, anything is possible - like a 7in tablet that costs less than US$35. Yes, much less than the budget-friendly US$149 (S$186) XO Tablet from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative.
That's the indication by analyst firm Linley Group, which also highlighted that these inexpensive tablets could be powered by a quad-core processor. And why wouldn’t this be possible? We’ve already got them priced at US$45 (S$56) on Amazon.
Granted they’ve currently got low-resolution screens with single or dual-core processors manufactured by a Chinese company called Allwinner, but once this chipmaker ships its “fully formed” quad-core A33 chip for US$4 (S$5), the cost of tablets are expected to dip under US$35 (S$44).
Lesser known vendors in China will most likely be making these tablets with Allwinner’s chips, which will also enable the tablets to have better performance, as well as support 1280 x 800 screen resolutions.
Obviously these manufacturers won't lock horns with the likes of Samsung or Apple, but it'll put a significant amount of pressure on vendors to drop the prices of their entry-level tablets.
And these almost disposable devices could be here soon. Nathan Brookwoord, an analyst from Insight 64, highlighted that mass production of the chip is already underway and cheap prototype tablets are already being built in China.
“It’s absolutely scary what they’re doing. They operate on very thin margins; the kind of margins that no US vendor can think about running on,” he was quoted saying. We reckon we’re going to be in the midst of a Chinese mobile boom very soon. Or we might already be in it.