First of Many -- Too Many? -- Windows 8 Tablets Get a Look
Both Acer and Asus are showing off Windows 8 tablets this week. But will enterprise users grab hold of the Windows 8 tablet opportunity or stick with the popular iPad?
Acer on Monday presented its two newest Windows 8 tablets at Computex Taipei: the Iconia W510 offers three modes of touchscreen operation while the Iconia W700 offers a cradle.
Acer defines the most unique aspect of the W510 as the tri-mode, which allows users to touch, type and view. The tablet runs in conventional mode or productivity mode and a detachable keyboard dock can be connected to the tablet to make typing easier. Meanwhile, the W700 boasts an 11.6-inch HD screen and has three USB 3.0 ports.
ARM-Based Windows Tablets
Asus also made some Windows 8 tablet debuts at Computex. But Asus is offering ARM-based processor alternatives. The Asus Tablet 600 offers a 10-inch display and a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU. The tablet also sports an 8-megapixel camera at the rear, complete with LED flash, and a 2-megapixel camera at the front.
"We have high hopes for Windows 8" as a major incentive for people to replace their PCs or buy new tablet computers, The Wall Street Journal reported Asustek Chief Financial Officer David Chang as saying.
Al Hilwa, a program director in the Applications Development Software group at IDC, also seems bullish. From the refinements in the RT release of Windows 8, he said, it is pretty clear that the OS will make its deadlines as a solid product.
"Integrating Flash into Metro IE is a real surprise and a smart move for Microsoft as it will help them set Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets apart from the iPad. In fact, with Flash and bundled Office apps, Windows RT becomes much more viable in the early days when the app portfolio is still forming," Hilwa told us.
Hilwa noted that he was also pleasantly surprised with Microsoft's aggressive move in privacy by implementing Do Not Track by default on Windows 8. No doubt that was a tough discussion internally with the advertising franchise, he said, but he nevertheless believes Microsoft made the right choice. With that move, he said, Microsoft has an opportunity to build trust in its brand and differentiate it from Android and Google.
Too Many Options?
We caught up with Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, to get his take on the flurry of Windows 8 tablets expected to hit the market. He told us it's still a little early to gauge the impact of Windows 8 on the tablet market but he has some thoughts on the opportunity and the challenge.
"It certainly looks like there are going to be tablets in every size, shape, and variety -- with keyboards, without keyboards, with attachable keyboards -- that a consumer could possibly want running on Windows for Intel and Windows for ARM," Gartenberg said.
"The challenge for Microsoft is going to be making sure consumers understand what all these things are and how to make a decision on what to purchase. Microsoft could get into a situation where there's simply too much choice and too many variations and too many things to understand, and the consumer may simply decide to buy something else."