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back to article MS, Intel challenged over Windows 8 tablet prices

The message from Taiwan's computer manufacturers: lower the price of Windows 8 tablet components and software or the devices will be so expensive that consumers won't want them. Claiming that both Microsoft and Intel have rejected calls to drop their prices, Asian moles say that means Windows 8 tablets could cost as much as $899 …

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Silver badge

To compete with Apple

You need to be better and cheaper.

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Vic
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> You need to be better and cheaper.

I suspect "better or cheaper" would suffice.

But this is neither...

Vic.

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Not just Apple

There are plenty of people willing to sell you a tablet that'll do home and work stuff for Apple's $499, or less. If Windows tablets really were to start at $899 (though scepticism dictates they probably won't) then it won't just be Apple that'll make them look dead on arrival.

As we're coming up to five years since the iPhone launched and the economy continues to look poor, I imagine even corporate networks are no longer so tied to Microsoft as to justify a premium.

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Anonymous Coward

Yep

You can get the asus iconia a200 for $330 (£250 UK rumoured) when released, a w8 tablet really has it's work cut out when up against this.

£250 for a well featured tablet (I'll qualify that by saying lets see a good review first) MS has to be living in lala land if they think that they can get away with that pricing.

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Silver badge

To compete with Apple, you have to make something that's actually useful rather than a trendy toy for pseuds to pretend to work on. Boardrooms love the iPad since they don't do any work.

I haven't tried Win8 and nobody here has tried Win8 on ARM so I don't know how useful it is and whether or not the genuine productivity benefits of a Windows tablet - especially with Transformer peripherals - have been hacked away or not. If not, it's going to be far and away more useful than an iPad. If they have, it'll die.

El Reg class this as FUD from the manufacturers so it's fascinating how every single commentard so far thinks they know better.

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Ru
Silver badge

"I suspect "better or cheaper" would suffice"

Nah. Apple are competing pretty aggressively on price when it comes to tablets, and yet keep their appearance of being a premium brand. So unless competitors can be both cheaper and better, they're doomed. Witness the desultory performance of every Android tablet ever.

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Thumb Down

replace ageing Tablet PCs.

Which Table PCs would they be then? Only place I've ever seen them is at Microsoft HQ!

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Anonymous Coward

Not Table

Table!=Tablet

2 very different products and what the article is talking about are tablet pc's that have existed for years, long before the ipad was even on the drawing board.

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Dear Mr Andrew,

please feel free to use your chosen search engine. Tablets such as my HP TX2 have been around for years, since before even the iPad was a stain in its creators notepad.

Thank you.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Maybe it was deliberate typo

Given MS bloat, the probably would give you as tablet the size of a table, I think it's called the surface.

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Facepalm

@ Monty

...way to completely miss the point of the article, whilst simultanously proving the authors point. <clap>.

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Anonymous Coward

Tablet PCs have been around a very long time

I once deployed several hundred running windows 3.1, that's how long tablet PCs have been around.

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Bigger is better

Current tablets are too small to do much that's really useful. The ~10 inch size of most tablets seems a poor compromise, it's too big to fit in a pocket yet not big enough to use for most real work.

I'd gladly pay $1000+ for a 13-14 inch windows tablet with an intel i5 or better equivalent and a detachable keyboard so it can be a notebook or tablet. For carrying around on a more frequent basis the 7 in class tablets work better, they fit in a coat pocket or purse, though the current get are still a bit heavy.

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bigger?

$1000 for a tablet computer with 15" screen and keyboard, I think they are called laptops, and you could probably get one for less than $1000. I feel that if you do need that sort of computing power a laptop is a better solution.

I'll agree you that you need a bigger screen to do useful work, I have a smart 'fone that I have stopped using as a smart phone as the screen is too small (being a short sighted old fart doesn’t help either). The 6" screen on my ebook reader was just about usable, so I have just purchased a 10" 'droid tablet, I only got it a day ago so I haven’t had any time to access it yet.

However it only cost €219 for a 10", 8GB capacitive touch screen tablet so I don't fell too bad about giving it a try.

But spend over €700 for a windoze tablet!!!! You must be effing joking.

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What I'm asking for is not merely a Windows tablet, nor is it just a laptop, it's the best of both, and for that I would expect to pay a premium. They could take the ultrabook platform and build a tablet based on that with a removable keyboard. That way you can remove the keyboard to use it as a tablet for the few things where a tablet is better and when you need a full laptop add on the keyboard. While the 13-14 inch form factor would allow for a bigger battery already they could also house an additional battery in the keyboard for extended battery life in laptop mode.

Basically a bigger and more powerful Asus Transformer but with a more useful OS.

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Headmaster

@AC "Tablet PCs have been around a very long time"

Nah! Much longer than that! Would you believe mid-80s (running DOS, of course)? We used Huskies in our refridgerated warehouses. The Husky was bolted to the pillar on the fork-lift truck and it displayed which pallet was to be loaded on the lorry etc. The touchscreen was easy to use by the fork-lift truck driver even when wearing insulated gloves (which ruled out standard keyboards).

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Explains the lock-in

1) MS forces OEMs to lock-down ARM mobos to Win8 only

2) MS subsidises Win8 phones/tablets (as they did xBox)

3) MS dominates a new market by leveraging monopoly in other areas

4) MS (eventually) profits, innovation and competition suffer

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@The BigYin

5) MS faces US anti-competitive behaviour probes, but makes a significant campaign contributions to several US politicians who have the probes cancelled.

6) MS faces European anti-competitive behaviour probes, fails to buy off the politicians (simply because there price is higher than MS can afford) and ends up with massive fines and other assorted penalties.

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@alannorthhants

One would hope so, but I doubt the UK will push for any such measures seeing as how the caved into MS over the use of patent-free, open standards for government data.

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MS forces OEMs to ...

The corollary is that non-locked-down ARM mobos can never run Windows 8. It is also likely that W8 tablets, because they have their specifications imposed by MS, will have a more expensive BOM than unrestricted tablets where the OEM can use different manufacturers to source the components.

So the OEM could, theoretically make expensive and restricted W8 ARM tablets (plus add the cost of Windows) and also make less expensive (and/or more profitable), nonWindows tablets that could be faster/better or even cheaper and not faster/better.

The problem is when MS come along with "no discount for all Windows unless you only do W8".

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Vic
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> The corollary is that non-locked-down ARM mobos can never run Windows 8.

Actually, they could,

They wouldn't get Win8 certification, though.

But if someone were to install Win8 on an unlocked device - would it check? Of course not.

Vic.

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Megaphone

Another MS doodoo IMO

Strictly personal opinion of course but to me this is yet another example as to why I think its safe to conclude that Microsoft hasn't covered all their bases with regards to Windows 8. Or to put differently; I seriously wonder if they really thought things over.

One size doesn't fit all. That is the whole problem here. Only a few months ago did I learn that Windows 7 behaves slightly different when used on a laptop. On the laptop you can utilize "presentation mode" (press Windows key and 'X') which will stop the screensaver, optionally change the wallpaper and set the volume level to a predetermined value. IMO this option could also be useful on a desktop, but alas. So one product approaches two environments.

However; a laptop is basically a full fledged PC. Heck; I know people who have their entire (digital) sound studio fully powered by their laptop (granted; also lots of Mac's here, but that's beside the point). So IMO its only logical that a "laptop Windows OS" will have the same purchase costs as that of a "desktop OS".

And here is where MS has entered the "diversity trap". A tablet is by far comparable with a laptop or desktop. Even though the hardware will meet the same criteria as that of a laptop; there are simply too many people who will consider the tablet to be a "smaller laptop". And as such those people will be the same who will heavily question the need to pay the full price for Windows.

IMO Microsoft should have foreseen this up front. Wouldn't it have been a feasible option to setup a "tablet version" of Windows 8 which doesn't provide everything which the laptop or desktop version can do, and as such could be provided with a smaller price tag ? If they could do it for Windows 7 (Home Premium vs. Professional for example) then why not here?

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FAIL

@ShelLuser:

"Wouldn't it have been a feasible option to setup a "tablet version" of Windows 8 which doesn't provide everything which the laptop or desktop version can do, and as such could be provided with a smaller price tag ?"

Why yes. Yes, it would. The ARM version of Windows 8 does not support traditional Windows apps built for the Intel architecture. That's your Tablet-Only Windows 8 release right there.

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Gold badge
WTF?

The phantom downvoter strikes again

@Sean: That downvote, eh? Ya gotta laugh.

@Downvoter: Seriously, what gives with you? Sean merely stated the known facts about Win8 on ARM and pointed out that it addresses the point raised by the previous poster. Where I come from, that's a constructive contribution to the discussion. Where the heck are you coming from?

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Vic
Silver badge

> @Downvoter: Seriously, what gives with you?

I've given up trying to understand downvotes.

Some people seem to expect foaming, glowing praise of whatever $thing they think is perfect this week, and downvote everything else...

Vic.

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Bronze badge

Barista factor...

just remember... the vast majority of baristas will not be caught dead with a Win8 tablet... it ain't got an Apple emblem on the back of it...

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Why would anyone want an *intel* based tablet?

Most intel windows programs are designed for keyboard and mouse use. (I tried the XP windows tablets and they were appalling and the poor users generally used them with keyboards, except when they wanted to appear as though they were in Start Trek).

So if you aren't tied into legacy apps, then you don't want to be tied into a legacy processor.

You want arm battery life.

And why would anyone buy them unless they are half the price of an iPad?

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Angel

BOM costs

The iPad is so cheap because iOS is thin and light. It doesn't require a lot of compute and memory resources, an abundance of storage just for the OS. Android likewise. But Windows does.

This means that the "Bill of Materials" or BOM to make a device that runs Windows will quite simply cost more. With margins already razor thin, bringing the retail price in line with the iPad is just not possible.

And so this war is over before it begins.

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>that price point hasn't hindered the take up of the iPad

No, true. But iPads work.

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