So, a funny thing happened the Mobile World Congress this week. Dozens of new tablets were announced by just about every device maker in existance. The specs for these device range widely in size, features, and software. All of these device makers are attemting to capture the magic of the iPad, a lot of them have better hardware specs than the current iPad, which will be turning a year old soon. But the one spec none of the vendors have been able to compete with seems to be the most important one. $499. The two competitors with the most buzz are the Motorola Xoom, whose Apple dissing ad can be seen here, and the Blackberry Playbook, a brief walk through can been seen here, both of which are impressive looking devices, however both of them are rumored to debut at cost north of $1000. I think this is noteworthy because Apple’s reputation has always been known for being the most expensive choice, when trying to convice a weary Windows user to switch I would burn most of my calories trying to justify the cost, instead of the experience. The iPad appears to be a paradigm shift of sorts. How are Motorola and Blackberry going to convince people to try their new devices when a near perfect product like the iPad exists and is less expensive? I do not see this happening, especially when you include the other intangables such as the App Store and the iOS environment. Oh yeah, and more than likely as these devices with slightly better hardward start to hit the shelves with their hefty price tags, Apple, with a years worth of experience in tablet game, will be releasing the iPad 2. I used to wonder what would happen to the computer landscape if Apple was able to compete with other manufacturers on price, it looks as though we’re about to find out.