Slate sticker shock: Asus Windows 7 tablet priced at $999

Device with Microsoft OS costs double Android-powered tablets unveiled by Asus

For years it's been said that Apple and co-founder Steve Jobs use a "reality distortion field" to create buzz about the company's products and cultivate an army of devoted customers. (Also see: Microsoft hyping Windows 7 tablets at CES - Deja Vu or desperation?)

Turns out Microsoft also has a reality distortion field. Unfortunately, the folks in Redmond apparently have turned this dangerous machine on themselves. It's the only explanation for why Microsoft is releasing a tablet computer through Asus that is at least twice as expensive as three Android-powered tablets also unveiled Tuesday by the Taiwan-based computer maker at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Eee Slate, with Windows 7, starts at $999, while the Eee Pad MeMO and Eee Pad Slider each cost $499. A third tablet running on Android -- the Eee Pad Transformer -- costs even less, starting at $399. Not to mention, of course, that Apple's hugely popular tablet, the iPad, also sells for $499. I don't think this pricing strategy is going to work to Microsoft's benefit. It'd be one thing if the Windows 7 tablet were going to be twice as good as the Android devices. But don't count on that happening. It'll be loaded up with Windows apps, most of which users don't want. Perhaps even worse, as Business Insider's Matt Rosoff points out: It's not even designed for tablets. The user interface is designed for a cursor and a mouse, not fingers. There are few touch-enabled applications for it. Android is cheaper, built for touch, and has more than 200,000 available apps. Well, sure, but if you exclude the inferior tablet functionality, bloatware and much smaller selection of apps, the Windows tablet clearly is worth twice as much as the others!

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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