Mark my words, 2013 will be the year of the $100 tablet.
Maybe not right away, but already we're seeing models like the Archos 70 Titanium for $119 (coming in February). It's just a matter of time until some major manufacturer hits that magic $99 price point.
Don't want to wait? For a limited time, and while supplies last, All4Cellular has the refurbished Amazon Kindle Fire (first-gen) tablet for $95.96, plus $2 for shipping. That's after applying coupon code A4C20 at checkout. That's the lowest price I've seen, and, I believe, the first time the Fire has dipped below $100.
Amazon's Android-powered (but heavily modified) tablet features a 7-inch screen running at 1,024x600-pixel resolution -- low by today's standards, but I'm in the camp that believes you don't need a massive number of pixels on a screen of that size. A year ago, before some of the higher-resolution models appeared, we all thought the Fire looked pretty darn good.
Other specs include 8GB of storage, Wi-Fi, unlimited cloud storage courtesy of Amazon, and, of course, access to Amazon's App Store.
As noted in CNET's review of the Kindle Fire, the tablet works beautifully for consuming media like books, music, movies, and games, though it lacks some desirable features like Bluetooth, cameras, and expandable storage.
Of course, those criticisms came $100 ago. For 98 bucks out the door, the Fire's shortcomings are much easier to overlook.
There's just one wrinkle: All4Cellular doesn't mention the warranty. I phoned the company and was told that it's covered against defects for 30 days, but the rep wasn't sure if there might be a manufacturer's warranty as well. (FYI, Amazon offers a full one-year warranty when you buy refurbished Kindles directly.) Sometimes a limited warranty is the price you pay for a low price.
Another option: sit tight and wait for the inevitable across-the-board lowering of tablet prices. (I suspect even Apple will drop the iPad Mini to $299 before long.) Your thoughts?