Poll: where should the iPad mini start at?

With Apple and Microsoft both teasing their upcoming tablet launches earlier this morning and Microsoft finally announcing price points for its iPad contender, we are beginning to wonder just how competitive price-wise the iPad mini is going to be against other products, seven-inchers in particular.

Apple has economies of scale playing to its favor which it readily exploited to deliver the original iPad, billing it as a “magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price” at then unheard-of $499. A lot has changed since 2010.

Nowadays, for half the price one can get a perfectly capable seven-inch Nexus 7 tablet from Google with sixteen gigabytes of storage ($199 for the eight gig version). It doesn’t run your App Store apps, lacks the iPad’s build quality and skimps on certain hardware features, but otherwise is a pretty decent tablet. And with Android Jelly Bean running on Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor, Google’s tablet certainly is no slouch.

There’s also the new Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon (it sells at cost). With those inexpensive devices rapidly picking up steam and catching up on the iPad, no wonder Apple had to respond. Now, the third-generation 9.7-inch iPad begins at $499 and goes all the way up to $839 for the flagship 64GB model with 4G LTE networking.

The company also kept the previous-generation iPad 2 with 16 gigabytes of storage and WiFi-only networking at a reduced price of $399, a hundred bucks cheaper than before. Which brings us to today’s poll: where should a small-factor iPad start at?

Really, just how much should the baseline 8GB WiFi-only iPad mini cost?

This is what the tablet landscape currently looks like, via The Wall Street Journal.

Click to enlarge

Again, this isn’t asking what you’d want the iPad mini to cost but rather what you think Apple will price it at, based on the below iOS device price matrix.

Should it begin at $229?

Or $249?

$349, you say?

Do your math and cast your vote now.

Consider Apple now sells the previous-generation iPod touch with eight gigabytes of storage for just $199. The latest iPod touch with 16 gigabytes of storage begins at $299.

No matter how you look at it, the iPad mini should cover the missing price umbrella.

As you can see from the above chart, courtesy of Ryan Jones, everything bellow $399 is literally up for grabs in the tablet space, with Google and Amazon both happily exploiting an opportunity to grab those buyers and introduce them to their respective ecosystems.

Make no mistake, this is about iTunes versus Amazon’s store versus Google’s Play Store.

As always, don’t shy away from explaining your vote and voicing your opinion down in the comments.