There will be quite a few new toys for enthusiasts to choose from in the last leg of 2012. Tablet lovers in particular will find the last three months of 2012 to be especially interesting, because official Windows 8 tablets will finally hit the market. Android and iPad tablets have already carved out their places in the growing mobile market, and the addition of Windows 8 will definitely spice things up for consumers even more.
Microsoft will launch its Windows 8 RT Surface tablet first to compete with high end Android (and perhaps even iPad) tablets. However, aside from the pre-installed office suite that will come with the RT tablets, there won’t be much else to entice consumers to convert.
Apple is rewarding app developers handsomely to make apps first for iOS, so it’s clear that the Cupertino firm is in the lead with the most robust app market. Android is right behind Apple, but compatibility issues seemed to have plagued Google’s popular mobile platform thus far.
(Samsung showing off its W8 tablet on Sept. 27)
Windows 8 is without a doubt a much more refined platform as compared to Android, but developers have yet to see the benefits of developing apps for Windows. That said, Windows does have an advantage in that it has accumulated a huge sack of software designed specifically for Windows over the years.
However, the difference between a collection of current software and legacies is what it is. Legacies are a thing of the past, and unless you’re still using the outdated software then they’re just a waste of computer space.
Intel recently hosted an event in San Francisco in which partnering OEMs showed off various tablets featuring the new Atom chip (Z2760, aka “Clover Trail”). Needless to say, it was a poor attempt at trying to convince the press that legacy software matters.
Many professionals in the field have already adopted Apple’s iPad and even Android tablets for productivity on the go. Apple’s app market has plenty of productivity software that gets the job done. The only thing missing from most of these devices is a keyboard, which people can buy as add-ons anyway.
Lauren Berger, CEO and founder of internqueen.com, stepped up onto the podium and pointed out the significance of the Gen Y (or millennials) and their need for technologies that can adapt to them whenever, and wherever. Besides tossing the Intel brand around while speaking, Berger failed to convince this writer that future Windows 8 tablets will provide more productivity than tablets running other platforms.
Apple already has a huge iPad following from Gen Y users, so how will Windows 8 tablet convert those iPad maniacs? The answer is not in legacy software or a mobile platform that looks different (but does pretty much the same things).
The legacy gimmick is one thing, but what about the prices of these devices? Intel-based computers have never been “cheap” compared to its competitors. Intel toys come at a premium, and I’m quite positive that many Intel-based Windows 8 tablet will follow that same trend.
Android tablets are cheap, and if you’re savvy enough, getting apps to work just takes a little bit of research. Honeycomb wasn’t Google’s most successful tablet platform, but Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean seem to have patched things up quite well. The only thing Google needs to figure out now is the apps compatibility issues.
So let’s just toss out the legacy gimmick and a mobile platform with the fancy UIs out of the Windows (pun intended), and focus on what really matters. Microsoft needs to convince app developers that Windows 8 will reward them in ways that Apple can’t—that is, having payouts that at least match or exceed Apple’s.
Intel, Microsoft, and OEMs; please show us that you’re serious about Windows 8. Using Gen Y and old software compatibility as marketing ploys just won’t cut it. We want to see competitive prices and a healthy app market. And no, having Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja is not enough.