There's little debating that tablets have become a huge hit and will be a major factor in the future growth of the PC market. People around the globe are flocking to stores to get their hands on everything from Apple's iPad 2 to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to the Amazon Kindle Fire. And along the way, they're helping those prominent companies generate millions of dollars in new revenue and their pushing other firms to join the fray.
Easily the most important company yet to make a mark in the tablet market is Microsoft. The software giant has acknowledged the importance of tablets in the past, but it has so far been unable to gain any significant market share. But with Windows 8, Microsoft hopes to change that. Now it looks like a host of vendors, including Dell, HP and others, are planning to help Microsoft achieve its goal.
The only issue is, not everyone believes Windows 8 can be a winner in the tablet space. In fact, they say it will fail miserably. They're wrong. These are the reasons why.
1. Consider Windows 8's Prospects for overall success
As with most previous iterations of the operating system, Windows 8 will likely be a success on the desktop and laptop. Once vendors switch over to shipping only Windows 8 computers, both enterprise users and consumers will adopt the new operating system and Microsoft will once again generate boatloads of cash. But that success should also spill over into the tablet market where customers, happy with the experience of using Windows 8, will want to get a slate running the new Windows version as well. Microsoft's Halo effect will prove integral to its future tablet adoption.
2. Vendors are already lining up
Already, a host of tablet makers are saying that they're going to build Windows 8-based slates. Perhaps the most notable among them are Dell and HP. Just recently, HP CEO Meg Whitman said that her company will be offering Windows 8-based tablets and she seems confident they'll succeed. When Dell, Asus, and countless other companies follow suit, it might not take long for those companies' dedicated customers to start buying their tablets.
3. The enterprise loves Windows
It's easy to get caught up in the rhetoric surrounding the tablet space that says consumers are the only customers that matter. But the reality is, the enterprise is and always has been, a change agent in multiiple markets. And that will undoubtedly happen with tablets when Windows 8 launches. Although some companies might want an iPad, the smart move will be to adopt a Windows 8 slate. The devices will provide the kind of compatibility and usability IT managers looking to maximize productivity are after.
4. Apps and accessories could play a role
When talking about tablets, it's important to consider the third-party products that make a respective device appealing. The only issue is, with iOS- and Android-based tablets, the number of accessories that work with them is quite small. With Windows 8, though, just about anything should work with the tablets, since the operating system should provide legacy support for all the peripherals and in many cases, applications that are already in use on laptops and desktops. That's a major selling point for many customers.
5. It's what people know
Although Windows 8 comes with a dramatically different design, it's still the same old operating system at its core. That's important. Currently, there are millions of people around the globe who have used nothing but Windows. And many of those people are uncomfortable using any other operating system. If they decide to jump on the tablet craze, Microsoft (and thus, Windows 8 tablets) should benefit.
6. Android security will weigh heavily
There are some analysts and researchers who believe Android-based tablets will dominate the marketplace in the coming years. However, what they fail to acknowledge is that Android suffers from a number of security issues that are only getting worse. Windows has had a host of security issues. But Windows 8 on the other hand is expected to be the most-secure Windows version yet. Some observers are claiming it won't require additional third-party security software. If both of those scenarios play out, expect Android to be sitting on the sidelines.
7. A single iPad against several Windows 8 tablets?
Apple's iPad is the dominant force in the tablet space right now. But how will it be able to hold up against the onslaught of Windows 8 tablets ready to hit store shelves? As noted, several vendors are readying Windows 8 tablets. As long as they follow through on their plans, store shelves might be saturated with those devices. The iPad might outsell individual Windows 8 tablets, but as a whole, it'll fall short.
8. Timing is everything
Some people say that Microsoft is too late to the tablet game, and therefore will it won't be able to make up the lost ground. However, recent research suggests that the tablet market is set to explode in a big way in 2012. So, perhaps Microsoft is getting into the tablet market at the right time.
9. Expect several price points
If the Amazon Kindle Fire has taught vendors anything, it's that offering a low price on a tablet is a good idea. With that approach in place Windows 8 might just sell like gangbusters next year. After all, with so many vendors, some companies will offer devices on the cheap, while others will take on Apple at the higher level. In either case, expect Windows 8 tablet prices to run the gamut.
10. Microsoft can go toe-to-toe on cash
In the tablet market, one of the key success factors is capital. Companies that have cash to spend on marketing and promotion will be successful, while those that don't will fall short. Luckily for Microsoft, it has billions of dollars sitting in its bank account that can be used on anything. So, if it wants to dedicate millions (if not, hundreds of millions), it can do so. That's a powerful asset and it could have a profound impact on the tablet market in the coming years.
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