Nothing has been confirmed by Microsoft for their secret press conference today other than it is in Los Angeles, although the exact location will be revealed within the next few hours, and shortly after this we will find out what the big announcement is. One of the most common rumors for the Microsoft press event is a Windows 8 tablet, and while this market is getting crowded we must remember the Windows following and how this could translate into success.
Microsoft Windows familiarity — while we personally prefer to use a MacBook for our mobile computing, or even a 3rd generation iPad, it seems that Microsoft can come late to the party that Apple leads and cater to a big Windows user base. There are still a massive group of businesses that run Windows and they know the operating system well, which is a major advantage to Microsoft for all those people that don’t use an iPhone, or Mac OS X, and want to buy a tablet PC with a familiar operating system.
While some people say Microsoft are too late to the tablet game, considering iPad success and other viable options, it might be that a good Windows 8 tablet or smartphone could attract millions of Windows users that want familiarity. The real issue here is how different Windows 8 becomes, and looking at the screenshots and video previews so far it looks very different, which could kill any familiarity users once had and the advantage Microsoft has.
The other attraction for a Windows 8 phone and tablet could be for Xbox 360 users, and we expect Microsoft to provide something revolutionary here to a massive user base of gamers. How Could they tie-in these gamers and make them want a Windows 8 phone or tablet? Cloud based gaming or Xbox Live streaming would be something special.
The Apple iPad has gained its success through innovation and a solid OS — I remember using PDAs just before the iPad released and hoping for something amazing with tablet PCs, but the devices at that time were unresponsive and lacked in software innovation. Then came the iPad that made tablet PCs fashionable and Apple backed that up with solid hardware and a selection of apps that grew dramatically on a daily basis.
While Microsoft has a massive Windows user base it is also known for bugs, viruses, and other problems that made millions of people move to Mac in the first place. Microsoft faces competition from a solid Apple with dedicated fans and many alternatives already seeing success, so with these devices a few generations ahead already – could a Windows 8 tablet be playing catch-up for a long time?
The Bottom-line: Microsoft will need Windows 8 to be familiar and easy to use, and they need to launch with less bugs and problems. If they do this mixed with a nice Xbox Live tie-in it could be instant success, although if they fail it could feed Apple’s already exceptional growth.