There have been a lot of discussions about Windows 8 and how it will challenge the Ipad and other competitors for the top spot in the tablet space.
I want to talk a little bit about a demographic that is often overlooked while this discussion takes place: students.
We don’t normally think about students when we think about technology (shamefully) but in the tablet space, there is no group who would benefit more from these devices.
Even today, we see the push for paperless schools beginning in South Korea and California and spreading to other countries.
In Universities in the United States, textbook prices range from $17 to over $200 for a single book. If you do the math, you start to see that it makes more sense for each student to have a tablet and download their material than to carry paper around with them.
It just makes sense physically and practically.
The one major obstacle to tablet adoption is price. Simply put, tablets are new and as such, not that affordable. Apple’s Ipads can be considered a premium device starting at $499. Amazon’s Kindle starts at $139 but has very limited form and functionality. All other players at this point are either too expensive or not feature complete enough at this point.
Enter Microsoft and Windows 8 tablets.
There is a major strategic opportunity for Microsoft in the tablet space. If they can even create a half decent tablet, they can and should compete at a lower pricepoint than Apple would go.
A $99 decent Windows 8 Tablet would be something that schools would look at for a strategic push to going paperless. The price would be just right.
In addition, Microsoft need to do something that Apple have been loathe to do (because they face inelastic demand for their products), Microsoft can and should create segments for their tablets.
Today, you can buy a laptop PC for $120 or for $2500. The choice of hardware, graphics card, hard drive etc will dictate just how much you pay for your laptop. It should be the same with Tablets. There should be lower end and higher end tablets running Windows 8. That way, Microsoft can get into schools and enterprises because of price and still provide choices for all.
I continue to say that the battle for the Tablet will come down to PRICE. Whoever can deliver the goods at the lowest price point will win. It’s that simple.
It’s fun to look into the future and see that my son will probably never use a physical textbook at his school. The same way he will never know how to use a rotary phone or typewriter.
The future is coming and the Windows 8 development team need to be ready.