Will The Sheer Amount Of Windows 8 Tablet Options Confuse Consumers?

According to recent news, it seems that the floodgates will not only open for tablets at the end of this year, but they will likely drown us all with the sheer number of Windows 8 RT-based devices.

This is good news for those looking for Android and iOS tablet alternatives, but you have to wonder if it’s going to be a bit too much for the average consumer.

Right now you have tons of Android options, but most stores only keep a few of the top models around and the rest pretty much are ordered from the Internet. With the power of Microsoft behind them, I doubt we will have so few models in stores for Windows 8 tablets.

This means a huge tablet section will likely greet most visitors to department stores. Between the dozens of Windows 8 tablet choices you also have the confusion of both ARM and x86 tablets.

Is that too much for the average consumer?

It sounds like you are going to have sub-$300 and above-$1000 tablets with Windows 8.

The models over $1000 will be more like computer replacements, while the cheaper models will be more like media consumption devices. For folks like most of the readers here, the difference between the features in this price models are clear. For the average consumer….?

I’ll tell you a little story. The other day I was in a Walmart looking at a new mouse/keyboard wireless set. Near me was a couple looking to buy a laptop.

Being right next to them, I heard a lot of their conversation, both alone and later with a Walmart sales person (who really knew NOTHING about laptops, unsurprisingly). The couple clearly KNEW that a netbook was for net browsing and basic stuff.

Looking at the “regular size” machines, though, they were stumped by the differences in pricing.

They all looked about the same but some were only around $350 while others were $800 or more. What gave they wondered?

I was nice (and/or snoopy) enough to jump in and help them out by asking them what they were looking for in a machine. Based on their rather basic needs I guided them towards a $400 machine that looked perfect enough. The Walmart person, on the other hand, was trying to sell them a $750-ish machine.

If there is that much confusion with laptops, will it be any different with tablets? I sincerely doubt it. Too many options can be both a blessing and a curse.

Do I think Microsoft should limit its choices? Of course not!

At the same time, a careful media campaign that illustrates the differences between a more basic (ARM) tablet and a higher-end (x86) tablet probably needs to roll-out, even if its a few months before the tablets hit the market.

What do you think? I’m mixed on how this will go for the average person, but I’m still very optimistic that Windows 8 tablets will have a positive affect, overall, on the tablet market.

Will platform confusion (x86/ARM) be a true issue for Windows 8 tablets or not?

Share your thoughts below.

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