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Tablets To Be Served Up For Black Friday

One of our country’s more interesting traditions takes place in exactly nine weeks. At that time millions of Americans will drag themselves out of bed at 3 a.m., still stuffed with turkey and possibly suffering from having imbibed too much the evening before, in order to fight for the chance to a buy a $49 Blu-ray player or a marked-down plasma TV.

Yes, Black Friday is on the horizon.

So will the 2011 version be a huge success as consumers throw financial caution to the wind and spend big, or will the pressing concerns of a stagnant economy cause potential shoppers to take two aspirin and stay in bed?

TWICE blogger John Rice painted an interesting picture of what he expects, but this is only one possibility.

I will tell you what I expect to see.

Cheap tablet PCs.

Hewlett-Packard proved that if one is willing to go low enough, $99 in HP’s case, you can sell a heck of a lot of tablets in a really short time, even if they are being discontinued and will not be supported by the company. Consumers obviously want these devices, but not all can afford the current price points.

So will some retailer throw out a bargain-priced Apple or Samsung tablet?

Probably not, but at International CES 2011 dozens upon dozens of tablets were introduced, and I would not be surprised to see a few of the lesser-known brands being used as a loss-leader product on Black Friday.

This brings up another thought.

Will tablet sales negatively impact the rest of the CE market? After all, if Mom and Dad splurge on a $499 tablet, that is going to seriously deplete their allotted holiday spending account. Will they ditch the idea of buying a small-screen TV, Blu-ray player or new smartphone?

Only time will tell, but in an economy that is not going anywhere, with the possibility of a double-dip recession growing stronger by the day, I would not be surprised if consumers severely limit what they spend this year.