10" ASUS Transformer tablet to cost $400? Probably not, but we can hope!

I know I talk about Android tablet prices a lot. It's a subject I'm passionate about. A few weeks ago I lamented the fact that the $600 price tag on the Motorola Xoom WiFi was cause for celebration. At least it wasn't $800 or worse, that crazy $1,200 price we saw listed at one time. $600 is an improvement but I still want a $300, 10" Android tablet with good specs.

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Today saw a glimmer of hope. Engadget posted a story pointing out that the ASUS EEE Pad Transformer Tablet (that name really rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?) was listed at Best Buy for $399.99. It wasn't for sale at that price; it was listed as a "Coming soon" item. That's not $300 but it's getting close, and the Transformer is a 10" (1280 x 800) tablet that has a Tegra 2 chip and comes with Honeycomb installed. It's got 16 GB of storage (there's a 32 GB model as well). Definitely good specs. This is good news indeed. In fact, it might be too good to be true. Engadget later updated their post saying the page was removed, and sure enough it's nowhere to be found on the Best Buy site now. And let's not forget that $1,200 Xoom price Best Buy once posted; that was certainly wrong. We do have an official price for the same device in the UK: £379 which works out to about $612 US. This is comparing Apples to oranges, but a 16 GB iPad 2 costs £399 ($644 US) in the UK and $499 in the US, so we're probably looking at another $500 10" tablet when the ASUS Transformer gets an official price. That puts it $100 less than the Xoom and on equal footing with an iPad 2 16GB, so a $500 price makes sense. But a guy can dream, can't he? We should see official pricing soon, and I'm going to be crossing my fingers and hoping for $400. [Update: Just as I was about to submit this post I saw an article at AndroidCentral claiming Amazon Canada had the Transformer listed as coming on May 7th for $399 Canadian, or about $410 US. Once again, the page the post is referring to has been removed. But perhaps there's hope after all!]

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith.

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