French publication Les Echos has reported that French carrier Orange will be selling three own-branded Android tablets by Christmas. Allegedly, the tablet will be sold for under €250 and be subsidised even more when 3G contracts are taken out.
The Google translation is a bit wishy-washy, but the general gist appears to be that Orange has contracted an Asian OEM to build at least three tablets, expected to launch before Christmas. They'll be 3G-enabled, and offered for under €250 ($360) up-front, or even €100 ($145) if a two-year 3G contract is signed.
So far, we haven't seen any subsidised tablets being offered on contract with carriers - but as we saw with netbooks, it could really help kickstart the tablets and make them mainstream. [Les Echos via @thomas_husson via @riptari]
UPDATE: Reader Corentin emailed me with a more accurate translation of Les Echos' article:
"France Telecom intends to distribute at least three of these new connected devices by the end of the year, in order to sell a lot for Christmas. There may be the iPad, if the negotiations with Apple lead to an interesting compromise for the provider. Until now, Orange only did demos in certain stores and sold specific plans [for the iPad] . The group will then distribute at least one of the rival upcoming tablets as well. Finally, they will have their own one made by a famous Asian company."
So one of those tablets will be a subsidised iPad, the other an Android - maybe the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab - and the third a custom-made one by a "famous Asian company". Foxconn?