Toys R Us is running an in-store only clearance on tablets, starting today. The two tablets up for clearance primarily are the Acer Iconia Tab A500, and Sony Tablet S. Pricing is $239.99 and $299.99, respectively for both.
It’s the lowest pricing we’ve seen for either tablet in brand new trim. The Sony Tablet S currently carries an MSRP of $399.99. Both tablets already have official Android 4.0 upgrades, and are two of only only a handful of devices to receive official Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades to-date.
The clearance at Toys R Us also includes some other non-Google-endorsed Android devices, including a 10-inch Archos tablet for $199. However, none of the other tablets on clearance are capable of being upgraded to Android 4.0.
Unlike no-name, generic tablets, the Acer Iconia Tab and Sony Tablet S are both NVIDIA Tegra 2-based tablets, that carry the full Google Experience suite of apps, including the Google Play Store, Google Play Music, and Google Play Movies, in addition to Maps, Navigation, Talk, and YouTube access. Google also is offering Google Play users the Google Chrome web browser beta, which is expected to remain exclusive to Google Experience devices when it exits beta later this year.
The price slashing at retailers continues a sad trend of iPad rivals, in the form of sluggish sales. Both the Tablet S and Acer Iconia Tab A500 are at least highly competitive with the iPad 2, yet are unable to maintain price-parity with the device. The iPad family of tablets remains dominant, holding market shares in excess of 75% today. The only Android tablet that rivals iPad in sales, is Amazon.com’s Kindle Fire, an Android 2.3 tablet that is sold at an economic loss. Amazon hopes to profit from Kindle Fire’s use and engagement of Amazon web services, such as Prime Instant Videos, and Amazon Video on Demand services.
Toys R Us entered the tablet sales business late last year, as it struggles to handle the shift into digital downloads. Rivals such as GameStop have found new business ventures in refurbishing and selling used tablets and consumer electronics, much as they have sold used disc-based video games. Toys R Us also began selling netbooks and other consumer electronics, which from all external accounts have been dismal failures in terms of profits for the company.