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New tablets spark trade-in frenzy

Consumers are trading in their iPads and other tablets at an "unprecedented rate" to buy the newest offerings from Apple, Google and Microsoft, according to SellCell, an electronics trade-in website.

FIRST LOOK: iPad Mini

iPad trade-ins are up 500% in just one week after Apple's announcement of the iPad mini (pictured) and fourth-generation iPad. October set a record for SellCell's tablet trade-ins. Used iPad 3 tablets, announced in March, are selling for about half their original retail value. The 64GB iPad 3 has a trade-in price range of $300-$371, compared to its retail price tag of $699.

iPad models are the leading trade-in, accounting for three-quarters (76%) of the site's tablet transactions. The BlackBerry PlayBook, from Research in Motion, is second with 10%, and the Google Nexus Tab is third with 7%.

But the amount consumers get paid for the tablets is already falling, because the new announcements led to a "significant depreciation in value," according to a statement by SellCell. In the past two weeks, for example, iPad prices offered on the website have fallen by 25%-30%. One example cited by SellCell: an iPad 2 with 64GB of storage and Wi-Fi/3G connectivity had a high trade-in price of $371 before the iPad mini unveiling; it's trade-in price now ranges from $105 to $240.

Current prices for the fourth-generation full-size iPad, with Retina display, are $499, $599 and $699 for the Wi-Fi models with, respectively, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage.

Used iPads are worth much more than other tablets on the site's "most-recycled" list. Only one model, the original iPad with Wi-Fi and 64GB, is under $100, with a low price offering of $72, topping out at $150. The proprietary BlackBerry PlayBook with 64GB has a trade-in price range of $70-$80; and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 of $50-$115. The only exception on that list is the Asus PadFone, with a low price of $93 and a top price of $414.

iPad 2 models occupy three of the top four slots in SellCell's "most-recycled" list. The original iPad, with 32GB, is No. 2.

The Wi-Fi only models for the iPad 3, announced earlier this year, are numbers 7, 8, 9 on the list. The only non-Apple tablets in the top 10 are: BlackBerry Playbook at No. 5, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 at No. 6 and the Asus PadFone at No. 10.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwEmail: john_cox@nww.com

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