Windows 8 is coming later this year (probably in the third quarter), and it’s going to be Microsoft’s first foray into the recently-reinvented-by-Apple tablet world. With Intel or ARM-based processors, Windows 8 tablets will compete with the iPads and Android offerings out there by the end of this year.
And they’ll be reasonably priced, too. A new report from DigiTimes is claiming that the entry level Windows 8 tablets will be as cheap as $300, or even cheaper in some cases.
Of course, the prices will go up, according to the specs of each device, so while you may be able to buy a $300 Windows 8 tablet, you’ll also be able to get one for $1,000.
Still, that lowest price point is important.
A couple of days ago we heard a rumor that Apple will launch an iPad Mini later this year, and the rumor claimed that it was going to happen in order to compete with the upcoming onslaught of Windows 8 tablets. That seemed odd at the time (yes, just two days ago), because at that point we hadn’t heard any rumblings about how affordable (or not) Windows 8 tablets would be.
But now we know. And if tablet makers will manage to put some decent innards into those tablets costing $300 or less, they’ll certainly become iPad competitors over night. So in light of this new information, Apple’s focusing on the Windows 8 tablet competition (and not, say, the Amazon Kindle Fire) instantly makes more sense.
Perhaps Apple is really, really afraid of Microsoft stepping into a market where it dominates and simply taking away most of its market share (like, you know, in the PC world).
And that’s clearly what Intel, Microsoft, and their tablet-making partners would like to happen. Their goal is to take the iPad’s market share down to 50% by mid-2013, from the 70% it’s at now. We’re guessing that Android tablets will also help to achieve that.
Anyway, it’s good to know how intent Microsoft is on succeeding in this market. While in the smartphone world, Windows Phone still severely lags behind Android and iOS in market share, in the tablet world Microsoft will be working with its traditional partners – PC makers.
And Lenovo and Acer have decided to make Windows 8 tablets as cheap as possible. Of course, do expect a lot of variety in this market, akin to what you can see in the PC/laptop space. By the end of this year, 32 different Windows 8 tablets will be launched by Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, HP, and Dell.
Those are a lot of models. And flooding the market with many different products will help Microsoft get Windows 8 as a tablet OS noticed. Sure, the tablet makers themselves will have to try pretty hard and differentiate between their offerings, but the fact that 6 companies are working on no less than 32 models hopefully indicates that they have found some ways to do that.
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