Most of you out there that are interested in Windows 8 tablets are likely considering a new machine that runs an ARM processor. ARM isn’t as fast as x86 but it has better battery life and doesn’t produce so much heat. What this means in the long run is that ARM tablets are often less-bulky than their x86 brethren, since they don’t need as good of ventilation and as many fans thanks to their low power consumption and heat production.
This isn’t the first time we’ve compared ARM to x86, and in the past I’ve said that in most cases ARM does in fact win. Is this true in every case, however? If you really want a tablet but also want a machine that you can dock into a bluetooth keyboard and combine with a stand, than x86 will provide you more options.
By having an x86 processor this means legacy drivers and a desktop mode. It has become clear recently that more then likely Windows 8 on ARM won’t have a desktop mode, and so this means that non-METRO apps won’t exist on ARM tablets.
We don’t know a lot about market plans for tablets running Windows 8. Will x86 tablets be phased out in favor of ARM? More than likely the majority of Windows 8 tablets will run ARM, but I imagine Intel won’t let x86 tablets disappear altogether.
What is likely though, is that current Windows 7 tablets will pretty much become 100% irrelevant and unwanted when the W8 tablets arrive (though some would argue that W7 tablets are already somewhat irrelevant). This means that if you don’t mind the bulk of an x86 tablet, a Windows 7 tablet might not be a bad option when Windows 8 arrives? Why?
Although this is highly speculative, I wouldn’t be surprised if retailers offered huge slashes on W7 tablets to get rid of remaining supplies. Either that or Microsoft (or individual stores) will offer a smaller discount on W7 tablets and include Windows 8 at a slashed price for upgrading the tablet.
Either way, if you are willing to go through a few hoops and install Windows 8 yourself on one of these older machines, you might end up with a pretty good deal.
That being said, a highly discounted W7 tablet that you upgrade to Windows 8 will still likely cost the same or more than an ARM tablet. Still, if you can get an x86 tablet for around $400-$500 with good features (or a basic one like an ARCHOS for under $300) then it could prove a bargain.
I am talking about alternatives simply because some of us like the newest options but don’t have the coin (I am guilty of this). For me, I will likely wait until Windows 8 tablets have come to market and then hit Ebay.
I imagine some x86 tablet users will shed their current tablets in favor of a slimmer Windows 8 tablet. These used models might come at highly slashed prices as well.
As an example, right now the Archos 9 PC Tablet runs for about $429, new. Granted this isn’t a super-powered machine but is fairly capable.
In another year if these get slashed down when W8 tablets arrive, and people sale their current A9 PC Tablets used on Ebay… well let’s just say a smart shopper could find themselves a good deal.
I might be a tad bit too optimistic with this, but imagine that I get an A9 PC Tablet off ebay for $200-$250. Considering by this point it’s likely a 1-2 year old tablet and used, I think this is a reasonable price point. Add $100-$120 for Windows 8, and you have an x86 tablet for around $350.
In comparision, most ARM Windows 8 tablets will likely target around $200-$500 based on polls and research.
What do you think about trying to get a good deal by upgrading Windows 7 tablets? Will this really save any money for consumers like me, or is it a waste of time? I hope that I can get a good deal, but it will come down to what ARM offers for prices and other factors that I can only speculate on for now.