Will high prices thwart WinTel tablet sales?

Windows-based tablets powered by Intel x86 processors may ultimately be priced in the $600-$900 range.

According to DigiTimes, the relatively high price points are due to the fact that both Redmond and Santa Clara are currently refusing to drop their hardware and software quotes.

As a result, says the Taiwanese-based publication, consumers may opt to choose ARM-powered tablets, some of which carry significantly lower price tags.  

Then again, Microsoft and Intel may not have much maneuvering room in terms of pricing, as reductions for Windows 8 software and Clover Trail-W platforms could negatively affect PC price points – even if it did help increase WinTel tablet share.

Intel also faces difficulty on the notebook front, as current Clover Trail-W price points may prompt vendors to choose ARM chipsets designed by Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to reduce costs.

Indeed, although Windows 8 mobile hardware has yet to hit the market, the $200, 7-inch (Android) Kindle Fire has taken the tablet space by storm with its uber-low price point and more than adequate functionality. 

As such, Microsoft and Intel might find it quite difficult to convince consumers to shell out $600-$900 for a Windows 8 tablet, which currently lacks a comprehensive app ecosystem like the one built around Android and iOS (iPad) tablets.

Similarly, consumers may be perfectly willing to shelve concerns over backwards compatibility (ala legacy apps) if they can pick up an Windows 8 ARM-powered notebook for a couple of hundred dollars less than an x86 device.