It has been said many times last year and at at the beginning of this year – 2012 is the year of the tablet. Excitement is building as the perfect storm is building and the head to head battle is set to get underway. Many have criticized Microsoft for taking so long to get Windows 8 out the door. Who knows, it may very well be true that their delay in getting their next generation tablet OS into the market before now, may bring a true end to Microsoft having a chance to really get a foot hold in the tablet market and make a serious run. We have a feeling though, that Microsoft may very well still have a strong chance to shine if they do the Windows 8 release right and especially in the tablet realm.
Android and Apple certainly have market domination right now and Android in our opinion right now has that certain “cool” factor in the market. It has been said that if Apple and Android were Star Wars characters, then Apple would be the Jedi and Android would be the Sith Lords. There is something about Android that gives you that cool feeling and end users perceive that in thinking about their new cool phones. Apple products are great, but having an iPhone or iPad isn’t exactly the cool thing that everyone wants any more. It will be interesting to see though how well Apple continues to push the envelope as they have done before and how well they keep their current market share and beloved fans.
Microsoft’s real advantage comes from the market share of desktop users they currently hold. Practically everyone has used and is familiar with Windows when it comes to using a computer. That same familiarity and comfort will appeal to many users who may be looking to jump into the tablet market. However, one of the big hurdles with Windows 8 ARM releases or those designed for ARM processor equipped tablets is software compatibility. The problem will be for the myriad of end users who will be confused at the different offerings and wonder why their software they recently bought for their desktop computer at home won’t load on the new ARM tablet they just purchased.
Recent rumors and blogs have lit up about the fact that Microsoft is tightly controlling releases of ARM based tablets and will tightly limit just who is manufacturing and releasing these versions. These details and compatibility issues could spell trouble for Microsoft due to the confusion among end users. The point can be made though that Apple really has the same issue between full blown Mac OS and its IOS software that runs on its mobile devices including iPhones and iPads. This very real compatibility issue so far hasn’t stunted the sale of their mobile devices. The problem for Microsoft is though they have a ton more end users running their desktop software than Apple does. So the possibilities for end user problems is much greater than it is for Apple.
Even with the above mentioned issues that Windows 8 will need to overcome, its release is going to mark an exciting turn of events for Microsoft who actually has the real possibility of entering into the tablet market in a very successful way. Time will tell just how successful they can be and whether or not the consumer base will accept their entry into new territory.