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This year we decided not to publish a fully-fledged Black Friday-related article, but instead release several news-stories covering hot prices on popular products. Please note that in many cases Black Friday prices are valid in online stores from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Nonetheless, some offerings are limited in time or quantities the retailer/e-tailer has.

It is absolutely clear that media tablets continue to be the most wanted gadgets on the market, whether it is Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday season or a regular day. It is natural to expect a lot of end users to desire to get a slate computer at a discount price, so numerous retailers and e-tailers are offering rather great deals.

Three years after the media tablet product category emerged, the market of media tablets became very broad. There are inexpensive 7”-class tablets mostly for games, electronic books and social media; there are 8”-class slates which are more suitable for broader amount of applications, such as video, blogging, active email, etc.; and there are 10”-class tablets that can support almost any apps and arguably offer the best balance between mobility, performance and comfort. Naturally, different tablets fall into different price categories. For example, some 8”-class tablets are more expensive than some 10”-class slates. Before go shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, try to understand for what you actually need a tablet.

Low-Cost Tablets

While in the previous years media tablets under $100 featured completely outdated system-on-chips and old-gen Google Android operating systems, these years inexpensive tablets seem to be rather decent.

For example, there is Coby MID7033-4 with 7" display that has ARM Cortex-A8-based chip and 4GB of NAND flash storage inside as well as Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system for $69 at Walmart. Besides, Walmart offers Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet 7” with TI OMAP4 1GHz processor and 8GB of storage for $99. Target offers even a better deal: it has Google Android 4.0-based Maylong 7" MVP-270 tablet (ARM Cortex-A8 at 1GHz, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage with 802.11abgn WiFi and card reader, 800*480 screen resolution) with keyboard, case, and earbuds for just $99. BestBuy sells KindleFire 8GB with $30 BB gift card for $159, which is not a bad deal at all.

In fact, there are a lot of various inexpensive tablets from companies like Coby, HKC and Sungale, just search online at your favourite retailer.

Mainstream Tablets

Bigger and better tablets with Google Android 4.0 operating system are also available widely and at low prices. Walmart sells Ematic EXP8B with 9.7" IPS screen, 1.2GHz processor and 8GB of storage for only $139. Besides, there is a LePan media tablet with Android 4.0, TI OMAP 4 4430 dual-core 1GHz processor and 4GB of NAND flash memory for $189. If you are not afraid of buying a refurbished product, then you can get Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (GT-P3113-TS8ARB) with 7” screen, 8GB NANF flash and 1.0GHz dual-core processor for $149 or a brand new one for $179. Perhaps, the sweetest deal is offered by Target, which sells Visual Land Prestige 10" (ME-110-16GB) media tablets with ARM Cortex-A8 1.2GHz SoC, 1GB of memory, 16GB of storage, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, microSD card reader and all the bells and whistles for only $139 in different colors.

Even though Apple, the No. 1 supplier of media tablets on the planet, rarely gives discounts on its products, other large suppliers of tablets with respected brand name can easily be acquired at huge discounts.

High-End Tablets

In fact, even Apple iPad can be acquired in a sweet deal. Target offers fourth-generation Apple iPad 16GB Wi-Fi black and white models with retina-class screens and A6X system-on-chip for $499 with $60 gift card, which is essentially a $60 discount. More advanced Apple iPad 4 models are also available with $60 gift cards.

Among other interesting deals, Amazon offers ViewSonic ViewPad E100 (9.7” screen with 1024*768 resolution, Google Android 4.0, ARM Cortex-A8 at 1GHz, 1GB LPDDR2 memory, 4GB NAND flash, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi) for $249; Acer Iconia A200-10r16u (10.1” screen with 1280*800 resolution, Google Android 3.2, Nvidia Tegra 2 [ARM Cortex-A8 at 1GHz], 1GB LPDDR2 memory, 8GB NAND flash, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi) for $269; Lenovo Idea S2110 (10.1” screen with 1280*800 resolution, Google Android 4.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon Play [dual Cortex-A5 at 1.5GHz], 1GB LPDDR3 memory, 16GB NAND flash, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi) for $319.

  

BestBuy sells Acer Iconia A200 tablet for $249; Asus TF300T-A1-BK slate (10.1” screen with 1280*800 resolution, Google Android 4.0, Nvidia Tegra 3 [ARM Cortex-A9 at 1.2GHz], 1GB LPDDR2 memory, 16GB NAND flash, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi) for $279.

Target has discounts on high-end tablets from Asus, for example, Asus Transformer TF700T-B1-CG tablet (10.1” screen with 1920*1200 resolution, Google Android 4.0, Nvidia Tegra 3 [quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 at 1.6GHz], 1GB LPDDR2 memory, 32GB storage, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi) costs $459; while Asus Slider SL101-B1 (10.1” screen with 1280*800 resolution, Google Android 4.0, Nvidia Tegra 2 [dual-core ARM Cortex-A8], 1GB LPDDR2 memory, 32GB storage, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi) is priced at $549. Unfortunately, Acer Iconia A200 at Target are more expensive than in other stores and are available for $299

Walmart also sells higher-end tablets at lower cost than usually: Asus TF300T-B1-BL 32GB is available for $349, Toshiba Excite LE (10.1” screen with 1280*800 resolution, Google Android 3.2, TI OMAP 4430 [dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 at 1.2GHz], 1GB LPDDR2 memory, 32GB storage, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi) is priced at $379.

Just as expected last year, prices of mainstream Google Android-based media tablets dropped to the range between $199 to $499 (or even lower) depending on the screen size and capabilities. Moreover, it looks like next year it is possible to expect further drop of mainstream pricing to the range between $199 and $399 or even below.

Apple this year introduced lower-priced iPad mini for $329 and continued to sell iPad for $399. Since market share of the company’s media tablets is dropping, next year it is possible that the company will again attempt to make its slates more affordable.

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