An IDC analyst doesn't like what he's seeing so far from PC makers and their pricing for Windows 8 products.
Lenovo and Acer this week began disclosing pricing for tablets and convertibles that range between $499 (Acer) and $1,099 (Lenovo). Bob O'Donnell, program vice president of clients and displays at IDC, doesn't think this kind of traditional PC pricing bodes well for the sales of newfangled hybrid devices.
"The problem is these things are priced way too high. Look at the history of tablet products priced above the iPad. Not pretty," he said today in a phone interview.
Though many of the new Windows 8 devices have physical keyboards -- and therefore are not a tablet in the strict sense that the iPad is -- they are being marketed as touch-centric devices. The idea is that the physical keyboard delivers the productivity (i.e., Microsoft Office) that the iPad can't.
CNET editor Rich Brown expressed similar pricing sentiment about the IdeaPad Yoga 11, which comes with RT, the more limited version of Windows 8 that doesn't run older Windows software.
"I can't say I'm excited about the Yoga 11. [An Nvidia] Tegra 3 tablet running Windows RT and priced at $799 definitely wouldn't be my first choice...The keyboard attachment is appreciated, but whether it justifies this tablet's very high price remains to be seen," Brown said.
"Unfortunately, I think the Lenovo pricing is indicative of where the other guys' pricing is going," said O'Donnell.
Even a cheaper Windows 8 tablet hybrid, like the Acer Iconia W510, is priced ($499) at, but not below, the starting price for the iPad. Add a keyboard dock, then the price jumps to $749.
O'Donnell points out that hybrids like the Iconia W510 use a lower-performance -- though more power efficient and battery-life-friendly -- Intel Atom chip. Essentially, an updated version of the Atom processor that powered Netbooks in the past. Which isn't necessarily a positive thing and makes it hard to justify the relatively high price.
Dell may be making some Windows 8 product announcements later this week or next week, so it remains to be seen if all PC makers follow suit with pricing.
And Microsoft's Surface tablet? O'Donnell believes pricing will not be below the iPad.
"I think it's $599 for the RT version of Surface and $999 for the Intel version, when it comes out next year. That seems to be the general consensus in the supply chain," he said.
"So, the big question is, will it be $599 with the keyboard or $599 without the keyboard," O'Donnell added.