Unless you catch one on sale, you're not walking home with a new Android 3.x (Honeycomb) tablet for less than $400 from a reputable vendor (give or take a few bucks). Most of them run $500 and up. Ever wonder why that is? Back when the iPad was the only game in town, the assumption was that Android tablets would bring affordable slates to the masses. We're starting to see that with pre-Honeycomb tablets, but slates running Google's latest and greatest mobile OS still command a premium. Is that by design?
News and rumor site Fudzilla is convinced it is. As far as Fudzilla is concerned, Android "is not even close to being an open source" operating system because of the way Google controls it. The site talked to a "few sources" who all say Google favors bigger players with Honeycomb. Companies like Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer don't have any trouble licensing Honeycomb, but smaller outfits are only allowed to play with Android 2.2 or lower, Fudzilla claims to have confirmed with multiple sources.
That's only part of the supposed problem. According to Fudzilla, Google is also in control pricing and doesn't allow hardware makers to sell Honeycomb tablets below a specific price point. This is the real reason why Honeycomb is reserved for premium slates, Fudzilla says.