Cheap US$99 tablets from white-box tablet players have been around for three years now, appearing in the markets of developing countries even before the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Galaxy Tab was the first Android tablet from a major manufacturer. These cheap low cost white-box tablets and the Samsung Galaxy Tab however, made little traction in the market.
It was not until the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire almost two years ago that Android tablets would start to make serious inroads on Apple’s iOS domination of the tablet market. The Kindle Fire which run its own version of the Android operating system, was sold for US$199 in selected countries. A year ago, Google unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet, sold through the Play Store in selected countries, starting at US$99.
The trend of major players launching cheaper tablets was not going to stop. This year Acer released its Iconia B1 tablet with a retail price of just US$149. More recently ASUS announced its 8GB 7-inch MeMO Pad HD 7 with a retail price of US$129.
Digitimes‘ sources, predict that a $99 Android from a major manufacturer could launch by the third quarter of 2013. This is not too hard to believe. In developing countries, local brands selling ODM designs have already broken this price point. In the Philippines, Cherry Mobile released its own US$99 tablet, the Cherry Mobile Fusion Bolt. The Fusion Bolt comes with a 7-inch HD display, a quad core processor and 1 gigabyte of RAM for US$99 and its performance is close to a Google Nexus 7.