Cheaper, or free, that is the big question. The first major upgrade to Windows 8, the upcoming Windows Blue, is expected to hit the shelves as soon as this summer, and there are different opinions when it comes to its pricing.
Ben Bajarin, a consumer technologies analyst at consulting firm Creative Strategies believes that Windows Blue is very likely to be a lot cheaper than the operating system it is based on.
In a column at TabTimes, the analyst believes that Microsoft may release Blue with a lower price for PC makers as it rushes to bring more devices powered by the platform to the market.
The reason for this is the 7-inch tablet form factor:
“Microsoft has been glaringly absent from the tablet discussion in the white hot 7-8” form factor. My firm estimates that in 2013, sub 10-inch tablets will dominate tablet sales and represent more than 60% of total sales. Windows 8 today can only go as small as 10.1-inches. They are losing ground and offering their partners no solution for the hottest category of tablets.”
Blue is estimated to cost manufacturers anywhere from $40 to $50 per tablet, which makes it $20 below Windows 8 price, the analyst details.
This puts it on a different trajectory (as far as pricing is concerned) to earlier reports that said Windows Blue could be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 8 users — as it was considered an upgrade to the current operating system.
Additionally, Bajarin believes that Windows Blue could pave way for new tablets at various display sizes powered by Microsoft’s newest platform.
Hmm, seems legit. Currently you will struggle to find Windows 8 tablets in smaller form factors, and this is something Redmond would like revised before this year is out, or it risks losing more precious ground to the Kindle Fires and Google Nexus 7s of the technology world.