There is a lot of talk online about Microsoft’s announcement next Monday. Everything regarding this announcement is to be in secret, but many or speculating that Microsoft is going to announce their own tablet running the Windows 8 operating system.
While Microsoft has attempted to enter the tablet market in the past – even before Apple’s iPad – this will be their first tablet in an era where tablets are very popular. The question is whether a Microsoft Windows 9 tablet can compete in a market dominated by the iPad, or will it just be a blip on the tablet sales radar?
Never Count Out Microsoft
Microsoft is one of those companies that everyone seems to want to hate. Even though most of the world’s personal computers run a version of Windows, it seems most people seem to be frustrated with Microsoft on some level.
Since the iPod was released many years ago, Apple has become the darling of the technology world. It seems that the company can do no wrong, and when a product is released, the product becomes a tremendous success in terms of sales.
Microsoft does well in the software market with sales of its flagship Windows operating system still selling well, and its Office products still remaining the industry standard.
The hardware industry, however, can be a totally different world than the software world.
While many people seem to want to dislike everything Microsoft, one thing that I have learned is that you can never count out Microsoft.
Gaming Console Market
I remember when Microsoft announced they were going to release a gaming console at a time when the console market was dominated by Sony and Nintendo. They were the Apple of console gaming.
In 2001, Microsoft released its game console that they called the XBox. I’m sure many people back then thought that the XBox would just be a passing fad and would eventually disappear.
Over the years the XBox would establish itself not only as a viable gaming console, but also as one the highest selling consoles. The newest XBox, the XBox 360, continues to sell today and remains a popular console.
Microsoft proved with game consoles that it can compete with Sony and Nintendo. The question still remains: can it now compete with Apple?
Competing with Apple
In reality, Microsoft has been in competition with Apple for well over 20 years. Both companies have been competing with their vision of a home computer for decades and still do to this day.
Microsoft has had the dominate operating system for many years, but over the past decade Apple has been gaining ground. Apple has used it’s portable devices – iPod, iPhone, and iPad – to propel it to the top of the technology world. This has led to more people buying their other devices, like their iMacs.
In contrast, Microsoft appears to be taking a different direction – from computers to portable devices. Windows 8 appears to be ushering in a new era for the tech giant – on operating system to run on all devices.
This is definitely an ambitious project to say the least, but while Microsoft has a choke-hold on the home computer market, it must now be the underdog in the tablet world.
There are several things that Microsoft can do to compete against the iPad:
- Affordable price. Provide a tablet that is much lower in price to the iPad. The Kindle Fire proved that lower-cost devices can be competitive in the tablet world.
- USB/Firewire/eSATA support. Imagine using a tablet that will allow you to connect an external hard drive, keyboard or mouse? While this may seem counter-intuitive, if you are just sitting using the tablet, while not use it with other devices?
- Video output connections. Such connections could include HDMI and/or DisplayPort. Having a tablet that can connect to an external monitor or HDTV would be great, especially if you want to watch a move from your tablet on a larger screen.
- Built-in card reader. Of course you may want to download your pictures to your camera. It can be used as an external storage device when not at home.
- High-resolution screen. With the resolution of the new iPad, it will probably be mandatory for an new Microsoft tablet also include a high-resolution screen.
While many people would have their own ideas on what they would like to see in a tablet, the above list are just some of the things that would make Microsoft’s tablet standout. The Windows 8 operating system would be handle all the above options, so the tablet should be able to include many of them.
Whether Microsoft’s announcement on Monday hasn’t been confirmed, but if it is related to Microsoft releasing its own tablet, it will be interesting to see how well it will compete against the current tablets.