Windows 8 Due In October But With Limited Low-Cost iPad-Competing Tablets


Windows 8 versus iPad with iOS 5
Windows 8 versus iPad with iOS 5

According to a new report, Microsoft will launch Windows 8 this October. That tracks with the company’s announced plan to launch the latest version of Windows before the end of the. The launch will include traditional PCs like desktops and notebook as well as tablets. How successful Microsoft and its partners will be in taking business and consumer tablet marketshare away from the iPad remains an open question, however.

The report, published by Bloomberg, indicates that the company will host an event for its strategic partners next month. At that event, Microsoft will partners and PC makers additional information about the launch including timing and marketing initiatives.

Low-cost tablets based on ARM processors have been a constant theme of the Windows 8 story and appear to be the devices that Microsoft will be positioning as iPad alternatives for both consumers and businesses. Despite that, Microsoft will be focusing on Windows 8 running on Intel-based systems including desktops, notebooks, and tablets. The report indicates that more than 40 Intel-powered devices will be part of the launch while there will only be four ARM-based tablets at most.

Getting devices out in time for the holiday shopping season is going to be key to establishing low-cost Windows on ARM devices as a true iPad competitor in the consumer space. Last year’s big ticket items included iPads (which helped push Apple to a phenomenal holiday quarter) and e-reader tablets like the Kindle Fire. Given the head start Apple already has, Microsoft can’t afford to lose another holiday shopping season to the iPad.

Whether Windows on ARM tablets will make a serious dent in the business sector is a big question. Despite the fact that these devices will run a variation of Windows and will include Office, they won’t include any real enterprise functionality. In a strange reversal of roles, the iPad will actually pack more enterprise capability than Windows on ARM devices.

Intel-based Windows 8 devices, however, will come packed with enterprise features, though Intel-based Windows 8 tablets aren’t expected to match the iPad’s price points. If they offer competition to the iPad, it will be on functionality and integration with technologies like Active Directory and Windows Server.

That places the iPad in the middle of the field of Windows tablets and it makes it difficult to make accurate predictions at this point. It seems a forgone conclusion that Apple will strengthen its lead between now and October following the record-breaking launch of the new iPad and the price reduction of the iPad 2. It’s also worth noting that most IT departments are likely to follow a more delayed upgrade schedule when it comes to Windows 8 as they have with previous Windows releases. For desktops and notebooks, some organizations may hold at Windows 7 for months or years after the Windows 8 release.

  • Justin Schroeder

    lots of typos lately…just a saying…

  • prof_peabody

    seems to be shaping up that the ARM tablets will suck software-wise and the intel tablets will suck hardware-wise.  

    lacking a clear alternative, most will simply buy laptops, tricky convertible devices and desktops instead of tablets.  most seem likely to ditch metro and put the start button back as well. 

  • B_Sack

    How so?  The ARM tablets will still have more functionality than an iPad.  Pray tell how they will “suck” software wise.

  • John Ramirez


  • techgeek01

    Considering Windows 8 isn’t in it’s “official” version yet, there will still be changes to the OS.  Granted maybe not major changes, but minor changes.  Also, I believe (last I heard) Microsoft is doing a lot of massive overhauls with their software.

    Keep in mind that is out is ONLY one version.  Their are going to be multiple versions which are going to have a verity of stuff added in or taken out.

    On a software standpoint, we really don’t know exactly (yet) what the final product is going to be.  I won’t be surprised if Microsoft keeps a few surprises under lock and key until the unveiling of Windows 8.

    Windows 8 is designed to run one a huge verity of hardware.  Meaning you will have low end ARM tablets, high end ARM tablets, low end x86 tablets, and you get the point.

    You will also have plenty of hybrid devices out there.

    There was a study that was done a while back that found that people wanted a windows powered tablet OVER an iPad.  What that means if there was a windows tablet by an iPad, a far larger percentage of people would pick the windows tablet over the iPad.  Granted this was one study.  But the point is, Microsoft/HP/Dell/whomever it may be, may NOT need to make an ultra-cheap tablet to sell.  Matter of fact, Windows might have the advantage of hybrid devices.

    Hybrid devices.  Why is this so important?  What if I told you, you could get ONE device that was a MBA, but also an iPad.  One device that you can use it as a tablet.  But if you need to have a laptop-like device, all you need to do is drop it into the dock and you have a laptop (this case an ultrabook).

    Windows 8 is like the PERFECT OS for a dual personality. Completely optimized for touch, but at the same time optimized for mouse and keyboard.  And give you both worlds.

    I know for a lot of people, this is THE device.  They want/need a laptop, but at the same time want/need the tablet experience.

    Matter of fact, THAT is the perfect device for in of my friends.  He works in an office and is on the go.  He currently has a laptop (windows powered) and an iPad.  The problem is, the iPad CANNOT replace his laptop.  Mainly because it can’t run these particular software.  But a Windows powered tablet hybrid? (x86) Would be able to replace his iPad AND Laptop.

    Another friend is struggling in what device to get.  She has looked at a tablet, but she still wants/needs a laptop. She (simply) needs a device that has both worlds, since she cannot afford (more does not want) to buy a laptop and a tablet.  But a Windows 8 Tablet hybrid? It will fit her.

    From my observations, most people around me CANNOT afford a tablet and a laptop. And neither product and fully replace the other.  But that being said, that if something comes out that can replace both (windows 8 tablet hybrid here) they will pick it up, even if it’s $100 to $200 more.

    I personally WON’T pick up a device like this, but I know for quite a few, it’s THE perfect device. 

  • jasongw

    Well said. And in fact, I’ll be replacing my iPad and Macbook Pro with one of these dockable tablet/laptop hybrids (probably on Intel at this stage, for the sake of broad software compatibility, but in a couple of years when software catches up, I may break straight on over to ARM. Definitely a “wait and see” where it comes to ARM, however, as well as Intel’s new low power SoCs coming in the fall.

  • Steven Zahl

    Microsoft, LATE to the Party.


    quote “That tracks with the company’s announced plan to launch the latest version of Windows before the end of the.”


    Do authors even bother reading the posts before they are published on line here?
    Seems to be a lot of spelling mistakes and high school level English errors made.
    At the end of the day it just makes this website look unprofessional and
    rushed, is that the type of image you want presented to your readers?

  • davrosuk

    Each to his or her own I guess. I’ve shown Win8 to lots of people just to make sure it wasn’t just me that hated it. It appears everyone, I speak to at least, agrees that it’s perfectly horrible. My folks are particularly happy with their Mac and enjoy using OSX. Supporting them on the Mac has taken next to none of my time, whereas when they had Windows I was forever trying to sort things out for them. My Mum is addicted to her iPad 2 – and there’s no-way I’d inflict an WoA tablet on them. For work I can already access Windows machines from my iPad – so I’ll have no reason to change there either.

  • jasongw

    A lot of that will come down simply to how you present it to people. I try to be as objective as possible when showing it. I show them the interface, explain how and why Live Tiles work, demonstrate how all app settings are in a consistent place (in the charms bar–always), how two apps can share the screen at once, and most importantly, how incredibly fast it is. Out of probably 50 people I’ve demonstrated it for, only one has hated it–a client who, frankly, hates every change ever inflicted upon her world (she’s one of those people who’d have been happy as a clam if we’d stayed in the land of Windows 3.1 and DOS forever, heh–those people, you can’t please no matter what you do :).

    Without any additional exceptions, everyone I’ve shown it to has been wowed by it, including fellow iPad owners. I know several who are already about 90% sure they’ll be dropping their iPad for a Windows 8 slate/laptop combo.

    There are, to be sure, a handful of people in this world who are very happy with their Macs (about 4% of the world’s computing population :p). It’s great for people with simple needs who don’t really need advanced capabilities, after all. iPad has been a fairly solid product except for Apple’s continued tendency to build in intentional obsolescence, though mine is, frankly, very crash prone. Still, some blame belongs to the app developers.

    Win8 won’t be for everyone-but I ask you, what is? I think we can agree that the answer is “nothing.” But whatever else may be true, the folks on comment forums like this who are already declaring the OS and the new hardware it will ship on to be “dead in the water” or “too late” are really just being ignorant; the tablet market isn’t already defined and owned in a clear way for all people–it’s *just* getting started. Where it’ll wind up is really anybody’s guess. What I will say is this: If Apple doesn’t modernize iOS soon, they’re going to look awfully stale compared to Windows 8. The UI already does.

  • jasongw

    I’d also like to know how it is you think the Intel tablets will “suck” hardware-wise. Given that Intel is the manufacturer of the world’s fastest and most used processors, it seems pretty unlikely their tablet offerings will “suck” at all. Do tell, though :)