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Fondleslab costs must tumble, says analyst

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Punters could be tempted to buy a non-Apple fondleslabs, but only if prices tumble – and that could be about to happen, say analysts.

The iPad remains pretty much unchallenged and although Samsung, Asus and Acer have made the best stab at taking on the US tab titan, Amazon's loss-leading Kindle Fire (our review) is the device earmarked to dent Apple's market share this Christmas.

"Amazon's Kindle Fire could shake up the tablet market," said CCS Insight principal crystal-ball gazer Gavin Byrne.

He said the "keen price" and marketing might of Amazon's web portal will pull in prospective buyers.

"In the longer term, Amazon's strong media offerings, including streaming movies and TV shows, may threaten Apple's dominance of this area," he said.

Seven-inch models represented just 2 per cent of volume tablet sales in August, but Amazon's machine could boost the numbers, the analyst claimed.

The world and its dog seems to have launched fondleslabs and as a result, more and more consumers will view price as the primary factor when shopping around.

Analyst Context expects more tablet and smartphone bundles this Christmas, and for second-generation Samsung and Asus machines to provide stiffer competition to Apple and manufacturers to "cut prices heavily in a bid to boost sales" and clear stocks.

"Clear price points and propositions are not yet established," said Salman Chaudhry, mobile analyst at Context.

"It seems that consumers have tended to play safe and buy on the strength of the Apple brand; however, we are expecting factors like operating systems, apps and interworking with existing devices to become part of the decision-making process."

Neither analyst revealed the pricing sweet spot, but HP clearly hit the mark with its TouchPad fire sale, however this tactic has not yet worked for the PlayBook, though RIM did not hack the price to the same degree.

So far Apple has not budged on price since it made the fondleslab popular, and is unlikely to do so as relatively low-iPad margins prevent any such actions. ®

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