Blog Post

$699 with contract? Good luck, HTC Jetstream tablet

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

On Wednesday AT&T announced the HTC Jetstream, the company’s first Google Android (s goog) tablet that will support the carrier’s upcoming LTE network. Similar to other tablets running Android 3.1, the Jetstream uses a 10.1-inch display, but with a twist: The capacitive touchscreen works with the HTC Scribe digital pen accessory for note-taking and drawing.

AT&T (s t) is supplementing the Jetstream with a new 3-GB data plan that costs $35 a month. Customers who agree to a two-year contract on the new plan will be able to purchase the Jetstream for $699, a subsidized price likely to put many consumers off.

To a gadget addict like myself, there’s much to like about the Jetstream on paper: a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon (s qcom) processor, support for today’s HSPA+ mobile broadband networks as well as future LTE networks, a new version of HTC Sense software for improved usability and dual camera sensors, including an 8-megapixel rear camera, to name a few key specifications.

But AT&T seems to be betting on LTE as a key differentiator here and perhaps as justification for the relatively high subsidized price of the Jetstream. I think that’s a mistake. We’ll see when the tablet hits stores on September 4, at $699 with contract, reportedly $849 without.

AT&T needs only to look at the tablet pricing of its rivals Verizon (s vz) and Motorola Xoom (s mmi) to get an idea of how well a tablet with a two-year contract will sell at $700 or more. Simply put: It won’t, at least not well. Granted, the Xoom certainly faced other issues outside the initially high price, because it was rushed to market with some key flaws: general instability, a limited number of tablet-optimized applications and a promised LTE hardware upgrade where “coming soon” meant six months later. In a sense, LTE support for the Jetstream is also “coming soon,” because AT&T hasn’t yet launched its LTE service. And when it does, it will only be in 5 markets to start and 10 more by year-end.

While I expect that HTC’s hardware and software won’t face the same problems as the Xoom, it still needs to answer a key question: What justifies the price premium over an Apple iPad 2, (s aapl) which can be had without a contract?

16 Responses to “$699 with contract? Good luck, HTC Jetstream tablet”

  1. Terence Cowan

    I can definitely say I will not be selling my Xoom for this (as I was seriously considering it)… I was able to go to and pick up my Xoom for $439 plus accessories = $560 (including the HD Dock)… With the recent software upgrades, my Xoom is completely stable, with Micro SD card access and zipping along at 1.6 GHz and STILL getting a few days worth of a charge…

    Don’t know why everyone beat the Xoom up so bad but, when your the first to market, I suppose you risk things like that happening.

    That being said, the Jetstream is priced at a fairly loaded laptop price point!?!?!?!? WHY??? No thanks, rather buy a laptop at that price… Hell, even the Samsung 10.1LTE is overpriced…

    iPad wins, even if the competition provides superior hardware and software on their pricing and advertising alone…

    Not to mention customer loyalty… What were you thinking ATT???

  2. If AT&T is only going to discount a fraction, HTC should be smart and create a LTE tablet that can work on either AT&T or Verizon’s network and sell it outright at that price. Then the customer would have more options and a more open device.

      • Yes, as I recalled you also had to buy software for Windows PCs. But the reason many chose the platform to begin with is the thousands of readily available choices of software in the market.

      • Another issue is that the PRIME APPS are only on the iPad/iPhone. No developer of high end hardware products even thinks of introducing an app for anything other than Apple iOS.

        It is easy to Bing the subject to verify this point using the Internet.

  3. Techngro

    Um…Are HTC and AT&T smoking some of “da god erb, mon”? People were saying that manufacturers would learn from the HP Touchpad price drop, and that future tablets might be more reasonably priced. Well…good luck with that.

  4. Ricky Cadden

    What’s sad is that everything else is a pretty big win. I used the 7-inch HTC Flyer with the Scribe pen for a few weeks, and *really* enjoyed it, but wished I had a larger screen to scribble on. The specs (processor, etc) are where they need to be, and IMO, Sense would be a welcome addition to Honeycomb, which I find rather bare and sparse.

    Even AT&T’s new plan is pretty good – $35/mo is MUCH more palatable than the ridiculous $60 they tried before.

    However, $700 with a 2-year contract (don’t they realize Tablet’s are outdated within 6 months these days?) is completely ridiculous.

  5. Code Honor

    Its way too expensive,I was waiting to see what else was going to be released before I purchased a tablet. Look like i’m up for the Asus transformer after all.

  6. Who ever decided on this price should be fired imediately. You could get an Ipad for less. The answer to beating the ipad is to price them cheap as possible. HP already revealed the answer by pricing their touchpad at silly prices and they flew off the shelves. Whats wrong with these people?

    • You could get an iPad for less; with lesser processor, cameras, data radios and screen resolution. I’ve kept my iPad around for a while, and when the 3rd generation (iPad) is released I will likely replace it. If I could have subsidized it, I would have. Look at the price of some of the high end smart phones and then look at the contract pricing. This seems right on target.