We’re starting to see the first wave of tablets subsidized by carriers, which makes them look cheaper than Apple’s iPad, which is not subsidized.For example, the Google Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab will be subsidized down to $400 by Sprint Nextel, which announced today that Galaxy Tab sales will begin on Nov. 14.
But that cheaper price is only if you want to sign a 2-year contract, which will set you back $720 or more over two years. Sprint is offering two data plans for the Galaxy Tab: $30 per month for 2 GB of data, or $60 per month for 5 GB of data. (It’s interesting that even Sprint, the “value” carrier, isn’t offering an unlimited-access plan for tablets.)
Carrier subsidies have done wonders for sales of expensive smartphones. Will they also become the way most people buy tablet computers? We’re sceptical — that second data plan is costly.
But at very least, the lower prices may be enough to bring the slightly tablet-curious in the door. Whether they walk out with Galaxy Tabs and Sprint contracts — or beeline to the Apple Store for an iPad — is a different question.