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Try this, try that and see what entices customers. That's the mantra for tablet makers that are experimenting with new tablet features in the elusive quest to deliver the next big hit.
Heavily discounted PCs and tablets will be sold by top retailers on Black Friday, which marks one of the most active shopping days in the U.S. Walmart and Best Buy will offer fully equipped laptops for under US$200, continuing a promotional price battle they have engaged in for years. The sub-$200 laptops have slow processors and may lack key components, but could be effective desktop replacements for basic tasks like office productivity applications, Web surfing and video.
The demand for low-priced tablets has gone up in recent months, as witnessed by the mad rush to buy Hewlett-Packard's $US99 TouchPad tablet. However, at such low prices, these devices lack the speed and graphics found in Apple's iPad or Samsung's Galaxy Tab, which have the latest processors and graphics hardware. But at that price, the tablets are decent entry-level devices for first-time users.
For those who got their hands on the US$99 HP TouchPad tablet, a few complementary accessories are also available on the cheap. There are TouchPad sleeves priced from under $10 to $30, and discounted screen protectors under $5. But like the TouchPad, many accessories are also running out of stock in stores like Wal-Mart and Office Depot, so grab them before they completely vanish.
Prices of consumer tablets are now falling as device makers try to pull buyers away from Apple's iPad, which is priced starting at US$499. Some tablets under $300 may sacrifice features, but are good for basic activities like web browsing, video playback and casual gaming.