Over at our sister site, Windows8Update, I’ve been talking about Microsoft’s untapped potential for the 7-inch market for a long time now.
Windows 8 tablets are powerful devices that offer quite a few features including easy enterprise integration, Microsoft Office support, and for x86 Win8 tablets (not RT) they even offer up the ability to run many Windows legacy desktop apps as well.
None of this seems to matter much though, as consumers still aren’t exactly flocking to these tablets. There are a few reasons why, I’d wager:
- Apps. Despite the existence of millions of legacy Windows programs, most of these don’t play that nicely with a touchscreen and so what really matters to tablet users is the Windows Store. Right now, it is still rather low in numbers and seems to be missing many major social and entertainment apps that people know and love on iOS and Android.
- Price. I’m not saying that the hardware that runs on Windows 8 or even Windows RT is overpriced. I’m simply saying that most people don’t want to pay $650+ for a tablet. Even the cheapest Windows tablets are still generally over $450.
- Form factor. Part of the ‘price’ problem is that 10-inch tablets are still quite a bit more expensive than 7 and 8-inchers, even in the Android world. Consumers are starting to realize they don’t need ultra-expensive tablets with huge screens and this is why 7 and 8-inch devices are selling like hotcakes. Unfortunately, Microsoft has so far ignored this market.
So the solution is simple, create a Windows 8 or RT tablet running on a smaller display.
If it were truly so simple, wouldn’t they have done it already, though? There might be a few other factors in the way like screen resolution, the desktop’s need for a bigger display and more.
That’s where Windows Blue could come in.
Again, I’ve said this many times but finally other tech writers and even analysts are chiming in saying that it makes sense.
According to Creative Strategies anaylst Ben Bajarin:
“Microsoft has been glaringly absent from the tablet discussion in the white hot 7-8” form factor. My firm estimates that in 2013, sub 10-inch tablets will dominate tablet sales and represent more than 60% of total sales. Windows 8 today can only go as small as 10.1-inches. They are losing ground and offering their partners no solution for the hottest category of tablets.”
He then finishes up stating that Windows Blue could be the answer, alongside special promotion pricing for Windows Blue that could cost manufacturers around $50 per tablet, which is around $20 cheaper than Windows 8 is right now. This, coupled with the smaller screen, could allow for Windows tablets in the $199-$349 price range.
It remains unseen how exactly Microsoft will make Windows 8 or RT more friendly with smaller screens, but it is clear that even Microsoft understands it is important for them to make a move on this space.
What do you think of a 7-inch Windows Blue tablet, if it came at a price that was comparable to devices like the Nexus 7, would you consider picking one up?