Windows 8 did manage to build up a lot of excitement when it was unveiled earlier in the year though the fact remains, all of that might remain too far fetched if its not on time. Windows next iteration is coming at a time when the Apple iOS and Google Android has already entrenched themselves considerably in the tablet space, which means Windows 8 has to hit ground running. To be spot on is another aspect that Microsoft can’t be found wanting in if it does not wish to lose critical space to its competitors.
What has to be kept in mind is that both Apple and Samsung are already into launching their second and third generation devices while the entire tablet demographics too has undergone a sea change with the opening up of a new segment comprising of low cost tablets of the likes of the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet. While these continue to be the rage right now, the earliest that we can expect to come across commercially available tablet devices running Windows 8 is mid 2012 though those will be based on Intel chips. The same with an ARM chipset will take almost another year by which time both Apple and Google will have enough time to up their game even more. What should be even more depressing for those expecting to see a viable ARM – Windows 8 combination in a tablet device is the fact that all those apps that have been written to be operable on X86 and Win 8 tablet devices will have to be reworked to allow them to be operable in their ARM based counterparts as well.
“In Q1 2011, Windows was by far the top choice of consumers — while no touch-first Windows tablets existed, 46% of U.S. consumers yearned for one,” Forrester analyst JP Gownder stated. “By Q3 2011, that picture had changed dramatically: Windows was no longer No. 1 in choice preference, and interest among consumers dropped to 25%. Microsoft has missed the peak of consumer desire for a product they haven’t yet released.”
Windows with its unique Metro UI had raked up considerable interest among tablet enthusiasts but to have the OS in a real tablet seems further down the line than earlier expected.
“For product strategists, Windows 8 tablets provide a cautionary tale: To be a fast-follower, you must amp up the experience — and do so quickly, before the market changes beyond recognition,” Gownder wrote. “Windows 8 tablets must provide consumers with a more differentiated product experience than it otherwise would have, had Microsoft entered the market sooner. They’ll have to take a lesson from Amazon’s product strategists, who fundamentally changed the tablet product experience by leading with content and services rather than feeds and speeds, at a compelling price point. In the rapidly evolving tablet market, Amazon — and Barnes & Noble, with its Nook Tablet — demonstrate fast following done right.”
Forrester though believes Windows 8 can have considerable impact in the desktop and laptop computing segments. It will be worth mentioning here that Microsoft had earlier cancelled its dual screen Courier tablet concept as it set out to devote more on developing Windows 8 which is optimized more for touch based operations.