A London company is introducing a $40 tablet to the Third World that could eventually drive down tablet prices closer to home.

The New York Times  reports the Ubislate 7Ci tablet from U.K.-based Datawind is a 7-inch tablet that has wifi, a mic, a camera, and a headphone jack -- all for $40.

The bigger news, however, is that I'm anticipating by next Christmas, you'll be able to buy a table for maybe as little as free.

I've long speculated about an ad-supported tablet from Amazon or Google that will be free or $49 or less, with no contract required, could be rolled out soon. It's really a loss leader for the manufacturer; they give it to you at a cheap price, knowing that using it gets you deeper into their ecosystem for other pay services.

At the moment, the street price on Androids is around $199 right now. Meanwhile, the iPad Mini is rumored to be selling for $249, but we'll see how that shakes out. Yet I think we'll easily see $99 and $149 tablets on Black Friday weekend.

At the other end of the price spectrum, Windows 8 is very innovative -- in all arenas except price. In fact, Microsoft is pricing their hardware at what amounts to a fortune.

The problem is you don't get widespread consumer adoption by charging a zillion dollars -- unless you're Apple.  And if Microsoft thinks they can compete with Apple at the same price point, I think they've got another thing coming.