Tablet PCs won't come cheap

When a new crop of tablet PCs debuts next week, they aren't likely to be cheap.

Prices of tablet PC models from Acer, Toshiba and Viewsonic, posted on CompUSA's Web site this week, range from just over $2,000 to $2,500.

Toshiba's new Portege 3505 Tablet PC, for example, was described as coming with a 12.1-inch screen, a 1.3GHz Pentium III processor from Intel, both 802.11 and Bluetooth wireless networking, 512MB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive. The 4-pound device will sell for $2,499, according to the site. The company may offer a couple of less-expensive models with less memory or smaller hard drives as well.

Toshiba declined to comment for this story, but acknowledged that it had contacted CompUSA, which pulled the information from its site. CNET News.com viewed the information before it was taken from the Web site, and it is possible that prices or other details may change.

The Toshiba tablet is one of a number of new portable computers that use a specialized version of Microsoft's Windows XP that offers handwriting recognition, among other features. Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard are scheduled to release devices based on Windows XP Tablet PC Edition on Nov. 7.

Microsoft has been working on its conception of tablet PCs for more than two years in a bid to create a more functional portable computer that people can operate using a pen. Many of the details about it, such as the features in the operating system software, have already been revealed.

But so far manufacturers have been mum on price. Some, such as HP, have said their tablet PCs would cost roughly $200 more than a similarly sized "ultraportable" notebook PC. That premium would put most devices based on Microsoft's Tablet PC software into the $2,000-and-above range, whereas the average selling price of a consumer notebook is about $1,475, with the most popular models running between $1,200 and $1,500. Businesses tend to be willing to spend somewhat more.

As a result, the relatively high prices on tablet PCs could limit the new computers to a small group of well-heeled consumers and business customers at first, analysts have said.

View: The full story

News source: C|net

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