Windows 8 Tablet Success: It’s the Ecosystem, Stupid!

OEM pricing

At one point it would have been laughable to even say it, but Apple has set a very hard bar for the competition when it comes to pricing, and Windows OEMs will have to at least match it, but more likely have to beat it by a lot in order to sell well. Granted, compared to the lower-priced competitors like Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook, the iPad is “high-end”, at a starting price of $500 it is competing with lower-end PCs! Somehow, OEMs will have to figure out a good compete strategy and price their tablets right.

If these things are priced like “full PCs”, i.e. at around $700, they will fail.

Apps, apps, apps

Yes, WOA tablets are going to be “full Windows PCs” in some ways, but frankly, most tablet users get a tablet to *avoid* the full PC experience. As a result, the usage tends to be app-centric, except for some casual web browsing. Twitter? App. Email? App. Map? App. Restaurant lookup and reviews? App. I could go on and on.

Windows 8 and the WinRT-related development is effectively a v1 initiative, much like Windows Phone 7 was in 2010. Hence, the Windows Store will definitely need to be seeded with key apps, but more importantly, Microsoft will have to keep the big name and indie developers interested so all the “cool” apps are also available on Windows 8 and not just limited to the iPad.

How interested will the developers be in Windows 8 to care about it and build their apps for it? We have seen with the iPad that there is no doubt high quality apps are necessary for the success of the devices. I am not referring to the quantity of apps available, I am referring to the quality. From a recent Windows Phone 8 leak it seems like many (all?) of the existing Windows Phone 7 apps will work on Windows Phone 8, and Windows Phone 8 apps will work on Windows 8 with much of the code intact. So, there is hope that Windows 8 will get many of the existing Windows Phone apps “ported” over, which would be a nice start.

A final note, even though I have referred to WOA tablets in this article, Intel has also promised thin-and-light tablets (“no fan”!) based on their SoC architecture. All the points made above apply to OEMs building Intel/AMD tablets as well.

Microsoft has done something it has not done in the past – despite not building the hardware themselves, they have created a hardware certification specification Windows 8 devices (Rafael Rivera had a good summary of the requirements here). This, coupled with the Metro design principles which will help in improving the general quality and look-and-feel of WinRT apps, should make the Windows 8 tablet experience better than anything Windows OEMs have made available in the past.

Questions is, how much better?



Windows Logo from Microsoft website

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Romit Mehta

Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920). Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is