usually trustworthy Digitimes, Microsoft will enter the tablet market in force this fall with an avalanche of new devices. Their game plan is to launch 32 Windows 8 tablets through its hardware partners by Christmas. If the rumors are true, this will put them roughly at parity with the Android platform in terms of hardware diversity. This potential development could change the Post-PC market as we know it forever.
Confirmed Manufacturers & Future Plans
Though Window 8 has already been proven to run on quite a few existing tablets, manufacturers like Asus, Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba, Sony, Dell and HP will be releasing their own unique models this fall. One model already up and running is the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, a $1,000 tablet hybrid that debuted at CES 2012. In addition, Nokia plans on releasing more affordable 10-inch tablets based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. One thing that can be said for sure is that the majority of the early tablets will run stock Windows 8 for x86, with Windows RT for ARM chips following fast on its heels.
Expected Form Factors & Price
What’s truly promising about Windows 8 and its chances for success is the sheer amount of hardware that will be offered once it goes live this fall. Every manufacturer will deliver its own set of models, but the tablet guidelines as laid out by Intel are a solid preview of what generic Windows 8 tablets will look like. They’ll feature 10-inch screens, measure less than 9mm in width, boast Intel Atom x86 CPUs and weigh less than 1.5 pounds. Prices will likely range anywhere from under $300 for entry-level models to over $1,000 for high-end hybrid designs. A 7 or 8-inch Windows 8 tablet at $300 would be an attractive prospect for office workers and everyday users, as the operating system itself is tuned as much for content creation as it is for consumption.
What It All Means
It’s not surprising that a deluge of competing models will hit the market simultaneously. The obvious benefit of Windows is that it’s not locked to one specific hardware brand and can be installed on pretty much anything with an x86 chip. In the near future, Windows 8 will run on efficient ARM chips as well. Consumers have come to expect this diversity of choice, so it’s a wise move to release a slew of models from practically every major manufacturer covering a wide price range. Even if no one particular model takes off immediately, the cumulative sales should be substantial. Only 20% of Americans own a tablet, and many of those who don’t yet have one are Windows users. This bodes well for Microsoft in the long run.
Can Windows Really Make It?
Underlying all of the armchair market analysis is the question of whether or not Microsoft can really succeed in the tablet market. Typically, the skeptics and critics are the same people that didn’t see Android overcoming the “insurmountable” iOS lead Apple once had in the smart phone world. The truth of the matter is this: Microsoft is a giant, people trust and like Windows for the most part, the iPad’s market share continues to slip and consumers want more choice when it comes to tablets. There’s one more piece of the puzzle that people continue to ignore: Windows 8 is really, really good. Regardless of what happens, it’ll be interesting to see how the Microsoft tablet surge plays out.
Jerry Gerber is a college student and in his spare time he writes for topwebdesignschools.org. If you have an interest in pursuing a degree in business he recommends learning about which are the Top 10 Online Web Design Schools at TopWebDesignSchools.org.