I’ve been told by several users that I might be a little harsh in how I feel that Windows 8 is unfolding for the desktop. I am mixed about how well it will be received and whether or not they should have put so much emphasis on Metro the DESKTOP version. As for tablets?
I like the Metro look, it’s simple to navigate and not overly cluttered. Windows 8, in general, seems quite powerful and stable as an OS, and though some have wondered whether or not such a large OS will work on a tablet, I think that tablet requirements for HDD/SD size have become large enough to make this a non-issue. So, let’s take a look at where Windows 8 tablets could fit into the market. As a warning, I’ve barely ever used an iPad and will have to go on what I’ve heard and know about the platform in this comparison.
There is no denying that a premium exists on Apple products, and though I’ve heard some Apple fanatics try to argue this point, the fact is that you pay more for the shiny Apple logo than comparable Android tablets. This has changed a little with the new iPad and the iPad 2’s price cut, though. Even if you set price aside, you have little options with Apple. You can get an iPad 2 or the “new” iPad. That’s it, nothing else to see here.
As for Android? Options are KEY. There are tons of ranges with their hardware, from cheap MIPS-based devices that are under $90, to $500+ devices that have quad cores and run quite well. So where does this leave Windows 8? In a VERY good position, actually. They can’t range as low as Android due to fairly strict requirements, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was at least one “base” device that stayed pretty close to $300-$350. Perhaps a 7-incher? On the other end of this spectrum, a Windows 8 tablet can do things that Android and iOS can’t begin to dream of…. if you are willing to pay a hefty price for the hardware. This may not be true of ARM devices, but x86 tablets can run most of today’s games, hardware and more, making them way more than just the media consumption device that most Android and iOS devices are. Before I start a war, I realize that Android/iOS aren’t just media consumption devices, but that is still their primary target group I’d wager.
I am 100% certain MS has big plans for the future. I have questioned Metro, sometimes to the point of being admittedly too harsh, but I suspect MS wouldn’t ‘force’ Metro upon the desktop world unless it was part of a bigger scheme.
My personal thoughts is that this scheme has to do with using Metro as a bridge between multiple devices such as Windows Phone, Xbox 360 (and 720), other tablets, and possibly even Kinect-based set-top boxes and TVs right in your living room.
MS would NOT risk its traditional PC user base unless it had a bigger plan in mind, and I think a more general entertainment presence might be part of the plan. Will this plan work and is it worth the risk? I have mixed emotions here, but only time will tell.
Another theory, somewhat related to Windows 8 as a bridge device, that was brought forth by a Windows 8 Update reader, is that Kinect (and touch) will have a major integrated presence into desktops and laptops. There is a fair amount of evidence for this, though again, we’ll see how that is received.
Bottom line is that Windows 8 represents change and change brings naysayers. I’ve decided to tone back my criticism so I don’t very likely have to eat my own words later when Windows 8 brings about a bigger revolution that we can currently imagine. I might not happen, but I’m no fortune-teller (even if I try to be from time to time). So, Windows 8 DOES have a great future in the tablet world if it plays it’s cards right- at least in my opinion. IF I ever decide to get a tablet (I dunno, not sold on touch myself), Windows 8 would probably be the route I’d take, even though my wife does have an Iconia Tab. I have owned a Mac, but I really have no interest in an iPad, I left Mac OSX because Windows 7 proved a great equalizer that was much more open and gave me more choice. Why go back to a locked down world? So that would leave Android and Windows… but I suspect Windows x86 tablets have the most appeal to me personally. What’s your opinion? How do you think Windows 8 will fit in with tablets? And elsewhere? Share your thoughts below.