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$399 iPad 2 a Kindle Fire killer?

Apple is continuing to sell the iPad 2, dropping the price for a new 16GB model to $399. You can also pick up a refurbished 16GB unit for $349.

The iPad 2 is sticking around--but only the 16GB models (click to enlarge). Apple

In recent weeks there's been speculation that Apple would continue selling the iPad 2 after the new iPad came out to further amp up the pressure on competing 10-inch Android tablets, which were having a hard enough time competing with the iPad 2 at Apple's entry-level price of $499.

Well, it turns out the iPad 2 is indeed sticking around, and it's selling for what people thought it might: $399. But only the 16GB models will continue to be sold new.

If you're willing to go the refurbished route, you can shave off another $50, as Apple is selling the 16GB Wi-Fi-only unit for $349 (the 32GB model is selling for $449). That's pretty enticing and a mere $150 more than the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, both of which retail for $199 and are smaller devices with only 8GB of built-in memory (the Nook's memory is expandable while the Kindle's is not).

True, you can also get a refurbished Kindle Fire for less, but by moving into sub-$400 territory with the iPad 2, the choice for consumers gets a little trickier. Just a $100 price chop can make a big difference psychologically and, as I said, $349 for a refurbished iPad 2 will be really tempting for a lot of folks who don't want to drop $499 for the newest iPad.