It is apparent that the tablet market has exploded with devices offering a variety of options from screen display resolution, size, weight, touch sensor, connectivity features, processor speeds, materials, and drivers. Apple recognizes the competition coming from Android's mass producing line of tablets and has taken steps in lowering its pricing structure. Apple has been reported to be utilizing circuit suppliers in Taiwan in an attempt to lower costs for building an iPad 3 unit, possibly fearing competition later this fall.
Barrages of Android tablets that have continuously saturated the market are offering improved quality and performance in comparison with Apple's iPad 2. Though iPads are still dominating the field, the signs of change are creeping in as Android maintains momentum with faster processors and more competitive pricing. Amazon's recent tablet along with the Asus Eee Pad, ViewSonic ViewBook, and Coby Kyros MID 7024 are all lower priced Android tablets that could take a bite out of iPad 3 sales even before the third generation device is even released.
Pressure has been amassing on Apple to deliver the next revolutionary tablet that will place it head above shoulders among the current available devices. This includes a powerful processor that can competed with Android's upcoming quad core NVIDIA processors along with a highly anticipated resolution of 2048 x 1536 retina display. The screen will be vital as Apple has been rumored to be bringing 1080p video output to watch high definition, HD, quality movies. Packaging everything into a lighter and slimmer material casing will accrue additional costs, one that Apple will attempt to minimize before the 2011 Fall release.
According to Digitimes, new circuit chipset suppliers have been called upon to help reduce cost structure. Companies such as Capella are called to offer light sensors, Integrated Memory Logic are to supply gamma/Vcom buffers, while Novatek are in charge of LCD's, and Richtek provide power chips. The quality of the iPad 3 will come into question as components have been shifted from higher end producers such as Samsung and LG toward Taiwanese suppliers.
Competitor tablets such as Amazon's new 9 inch tablet are taking on Apple's iPad by going cheap. Amazon outsourced its production in order to reduce cost for better competitive pricing at $299. Limited features and quality on the touchscreen display gives customer options to choose from a full feature offering in an iPad or if they can be satisfied with a cheaper lower end offering.
The Viewsonic Viewbook VB730 is competitively priced at $230 and comes packaged with a 7inch screen with a 1 GHz ARM A8 Processor. The screen displays an 800 x 400 resolution touchscreen and comes with an HDMI port for high definition viewing.
If you are looking for an even cheaper alternative, check out the Coby Kyros Mid7024. It is amazing priced at $164.44 and comes as a 7inch tablet running on 1GHz Cortex A8 processor. The resolution of 800x480 pixels make it quite attractive, especially with its ability for 720p and 1080p high definition output to HDTVs through the HDMI port.
Asus offers another alternative in their Eee Pad Transformer tablet. At $399, the tablet delivers higher quality build features. The processor impresses with a 1GHz NVIDEA Tegra 2, 16GB of storage, and offers dual cameras.
Other venues are being explored to lower cost of tablets down to $10. Major League Baseball and T-Mobile are exploring options that would allow fans to rent 4G tablets at baseball home games to access ESPN, magazines, or TV sites.
Apple may not be too concerned with the lineup of cheaper tablet alternatives. The Cupertino based company has continued to focus on delivering quality products, but cost begins to be an issue as more and more tablets pile into the market each month. The iPad 3 will surely hold advantages with its release of iOS 5, high number of available tablet apps, potential integration with iCloud, and consistent excellence in design. Apple will do its best to keep the pricing as competitive as possible, which can be good news for consumers and bad for the lower priced competitors.