back to article Windows 8 on ARM vs iPad: Has Microsoft lost already?

Steve Ballmer’s company has released a consumer preview of Windows 8, something Microsoft’s chief executive has called his company’s riskiest bet. After some rowdy Apple-style rah-rah fanboidom, it has quickly become apparent that the focus on tablets makes Microsoft’s Windows 8 difficult and frustrating to use for those running …

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Woa is me

What worries me is with WOA looking more and more like its going to crash and burn is that once again WE will be deprived of low cost low power but more that you ever wanted ARM devices as they will be sitting unused, only capable of 'running' WOA due to petty vindictive anticompetitive 'DRM' forced on us under the guise of security.

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Re: Woa is me

Actually I think that WOA in the noddy tablet market will probably do fairly well and if Intel finally get a tablet-suitable CPU out, 8 will be the only serious game in town there. That gives MS an interesting cross-platform angle on tablets.

It's everywhere else that 8's gonna die like a dog, as it's nigh-on bloody unusable on a real computer.

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Re: Woa is me

Sure, Apple could make iOS portable over other ARM devices but support costs could be immense its more than 'petty vindictive anticompetitive' just a sensible business call from Cupertino IMO. Less Apple bashing please!

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FAIL

Re: Woa is me

Its not Apple-bashing, the DRM in question is MS insisting on secure boot without ANY option for booting a non-MS system.

In fact, I would rather like WOA to fail just because of that on petty issue - the prevention of dual boot with Linux/BSD/anything else.

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Android for Intel Already Exists

I'm afraid that Windows for x86 architecture tablets doesn't really have a leg up on other tablet operating systems, since Android for x86 already exists. With both operating systems the same software will work on both x86 and ARM because they both use a virtual machine (or something like it) to run applications (Dalvik for Android, and WinRT for Windows 8).

One thing Windows for x86 tablets might have going for it is the ability to run conventional Windows applications if necessary, although a mouse/keyboard UI design being operated with tablet hardware is generally not the most pleasant experience.

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Apple bashing?

I never mentioned them because I was talking about freeing ARM devices for the user.

7" tablets with 4*1Ghz arm cores running a Linux variant and more than matching most peoples laptops in performance should be retailing for £120, maybe £300 for a 10" with ALL the gizmos. Until production levels rise.

Apple aren't interested in that market and MS don't really want it to exist as they cant run Office on it and have been doing their best to vapourware or threaten any competition out of existence.

Cheap ARM devices are MS's death knell and they know it.

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Headmaster

Re: Android for Intel Already Exists

Which is fine as long as the App dev only used Dalvik and didnt use the native sdk (which is available for performance reasons). Otherwise at the minimum a recompile (and perhaps some porting) will be necessary.

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Re: Woa is me

> WE will be deprived of low cost ...

I have seen several posts assuming that WOA tablets will be 'low cost'. Perhaps they think OS/X = 2 x Win7 therefore WOA = 0.5 iPad.

Apple don't have to make any money from iOS, they can make it on the hardware. With WOA there will be two companies trying to extract a profit, and MS will want its tax up front. The tablet maker will have the same costs as Android makers, possibly more as they will start with low volumes, PLUS they will pay MS.

All except Nokia, of course, who will get another bung from MS and this will piss off all the other ODMs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Woa is me

@Paul Crawford: "Its not Apple-bashing, the DRM in question is MS insisting on secure boot without ANY option for booting a non-MS system."

I suspect that's deliberate ... MS locking locking the hardware may mean that they plan to offer subsidies to manufacturers to keep prices low and so boost uptake of their OS, but if the hardware could be used to run (say) Android or (better still) Linux they might find themselves paying for machines that weren't running their OS and couldn't run MS Office.

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WTF?

Re: Woa is me

You do realise there is an Intel version of Andriod????

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Re: Apple bashing?

Ok, get it, you weren't after running iOS on a WOA device, wasn't clear in OP. But surely there are many Android devices already and no reason that Samsung or Motorola and the rest can't give users the option to remove WOA from any hardware designs they eventually ship. Don't get your beef with Microsoft and Apple offering out of the box for those happy to run iOS or WOA. If low price hardware is what you seek don't understand why you want to pay Apple or Microsoft for their OS only to remove it to install Linux.

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Re: Apple bashing?

> no reason ... the option to remove WOA from any hardware

Yes there is a very real reason. To get certification for the device it must implement Secure Boot _without_ the option for turning this off. The machine will only boot an OS for which it has the keys, and you won't be able to install your own keys.

> If low price hardware is what you seek

I don't know why some think that WOA will be low priced. It's not like Windows 7 tablets are cheap, the ones that I have seen are about 2 x iPad or Samsung.

Perhaps they will be cheap when they fail and are dumped like WebOS tablets were. (though I suspect that WebOS didn't 'fail' so much as it was pushed).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple bashing?

i though ballmer was ms's death knell.

he's doing a good job running that evil empire into the ground all by himself.

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Devil

Excellent point!!!

I much prefer the wide open computing platforms with no vendor lockin like the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. What I like about them is the vendor support to install Linux or FreeBSD without hacks or jailbreaks.

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Alert

Re: Woa is me

I disagree - at least at first. I expect Microsoft to be heavily subsidizing tablets to get some presence in the market. It has lots of cash, so it can afford to do this. What it can't afford to do is let Android/iPhone take the market as their own. Microsoft has done this before, allegedly paying people substantial sums to switch from Netware to the vastly inferior (at the time) Windows Networking (aka Windows for Workgroups).

Microsoft isn't going to give up on the tablet market lying down, so Google, Apple et al had better get their hands to the pump!

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Re: Woa is me

> I expect Microsoft to be heavily subsidizing tablets to get some presence in the market. It has lots of cash, ...

The US has laws that try to prevent that type of monopoly abuse. In particular the use of revenue from a monopoly in one market (desktop) to leverage into another market (tablet) would be actionable.

> Microsoft isn't going to give up on the tablet market lying down,

MS isn't even a blip in the tablet market because it has been lying down for the last few years.

> so Google, Apple et al had better get their hands to the pump!

You are so out of it. Apple and Google have been driving this for years while MS was in denial and failing to understand why Windows (95, 98, XP, 7) on tablets was failing.

Microsoft will only get tablets out by threatening and bullying its OEMs, or buying them like they did with Nokia. But that will not get the public to buy them, just as they have not been buying WP7.

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Stop

Re: qwarty

"don't understand why you want to pay Apple or Microsoft for their OS only to remove it to install Linux."

There are a lot of good reasons why you might want or need to boot an alternative OS!

One example (maybe less of an issue for WOA) is to rescue a screwed up system. With MS' attitude you will only be able to do that with WOA. Not so good if its a nasty virus in there that has already taken WOA down...

Or more likely, some rootkit. Now secure boot is supposed to prevent this, but what if one is created with MS' support (such as the German police's trojan) that then escapes? Or the bad guys break the boot signing (like every DRM scheme created so far)?

But more fundamentally than all of this, it is my damn thing and I should be free to do as I want. OK, default is secure and prompt me if I do something potentially stupid, but I own it!

That, of course, applies equally to Apple & MS, but the reason I single MS out for this dirty trick is a combination of their numerous other previous anti-competative dirty tricks to capture the markets, and the basic difference that Apple make their own hardware, while MS seek to impose their will on every other hardware maker who wants/needs Windows for the majority of customers' needs.

Who says x86 won't be next? They already say it is 'optional' to allow me to boot something else, but who is to say the manufacturer will allow it (or has had back room pressure applied to stop it)?

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Re: Woa is me AC 21:18

"they might find themselves paying for machines that weren't running their OS and couldn't run MS Office"

The short & smug answer is tell them to release Office for Linux. I would buy it for sure.

The more complex answer is it shows how anti-competitive they are if they are using success in one area (e.g. Office document support) to boost another (the OS no one seems to want).

Realistically I would have though Office for iPad should have been out by now. Its not like they haven't ported it to MacOs already...same for Linux...how hard can it be if you already have more than one OS supported?

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Edge??

"it is looking increasingly like WOA is losing its edge over the iPad."

<Mora>

Edge??

Edge??

Don't talk about Edge!

You kidding me?

Edge??

</Mora>

A product that does not exist yet cannot possibly have ANYTHING over the dominant product of the moment... that makes no sense at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Edge??

It will be the iPad 4 or 5 by the time Microsoft gets their shit together.

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Meh

Risky business?

Perhaps Microsoft has every reason to be a little apprehensive entering the Tablet market.

As some may remember Redmond tried to enter the Portable Media Player market a few years back with their Zune product. It was intended to take on Apple's dominance of the portable music marketplace.

It failed dismally, not because MS didn't put enough thought into the product or didn't market it properly (if I recall correctly in excess of US$80M on Zune marketing alone!) but the iPod had already established itself as the product with Creative Labs' Zen in a firm second place.

This time MS are entering a market dominated by not just one, but two dominant platforms we know as Android & IOS

The advantage for Microsoft here is the fact they are not supplying the hardware platforms themselves this time round

Needless to say Samsung and Apple will the yardsticks with Kindle Fire being the joker in the pack.

Many people do like Microsoft's way of doing things and will embrace Windows based tablets with open arms and wallets.

It's not just up to Microsoft to make Windows Tablet 8 a success, but equally important for the hardware manufacturers to drive the product in a way their their products appeal to both the consumer and business markers, so commit to Application development and marketing.

I wish MS all the best plus I believe the competition will keep Apple and the Android tablet community on their toes.

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Gimp

Re: Risky business?

"Perhaps Microsoft has every reason to be a little apprehensive entering the Tablet market.

As some may remember Redmond tried to enter the Portable Media Player market a few years back with their Zune product. It was intended to take on Apple's dominance of the portable music marketplace.

It failed dismally, not because MS didn't put enough thought into the product or didn't market it properly (if I recall correctly in excess of US$80M on Zune marketing alone!) but the iPod had already established itself as the product with Creative Labs' Zen in a firm second place."

Hold on, you're giving us the opinion that companies are allowed to fail if there are firm hot-cake sellers already taking up the market place already? Shame. Shall we put that in the mobile market where Nokia have lost out big time just because Apple's iPhone offered something users wanted, but didn't know they needed until it was taken to the public arena.

I disagree totally with the Zune failure being based on a flooded market. Microsoft made no effort to penatrate markets with a potentially bigger influence on trends and follow on sales. Here in the UK, no effort was made at all. I barely saw any advertising for the Zune or it being pushed in all the lowest-common denominator PC shops. The failure was based on too much emphasis on the American market and poor support/sales model plus effort to be number 1. You can't be number 1 until you offer something different customers want. Of course people wanted an easier way to get hold of music which was directly linked to a device so you get less fragmentation. Simply, lack of effort IMHO.

Proactive innovation is what Microsoft lacks at this moment in time. All Windows 8 is a reaction to the market place. It's risky and panic button pushing risky.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Risky business?

Zune was never released in the UK, not surprising that you didn't see any advertising or actual players.

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Re: Zune hasn't failed yet

Still some time before we can say Zune totally failed, some would say WP7 is just the new name for Zune with some phone bits bolted on. And those square widgets ;)

More realistically Zune lives on in WP7 but it's not going to drive any sales.

Couldn't possibly agree that "Many people do like Microsoft's way of doing things", no, most people don't have an opinion on the software when choosing apart from familiarity with their previous system. Metro breaks that connection by behaving so differently, forcing Metro onto the desktop is a cynical plan to reestablish that familiarity. By the time they ship enough Win8 installs it will be far too late.

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Re: Risky business?

It's almost like they knew it would tank, so why bother?

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Anonymous Coward

@the-it-slayer - Re: Risky business?

I'll help you rephrase it :

With Zune it's not that Microsoft didn't make efforts to penetrate markets, it's that this time Microsoft didn't have any leverage against hardware manufacturers like they do have over PC OEMs.

This is their biggest problem with tablets too. No matter if Windows 8 on ARM is good or bad, Microsoft lacks the ability to force all hardware manufacturers to install Windows on each and every piece of hardware they ship. To make things worse, now any Joe Average is fully aware of alternatives. Now the playing field is no longer tilted in Microsoft favor.

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Unity and Gnome Shell should have been a warning to them

A tablet UI works as a desktop UI in the exact same way as a Ferrari super-car works for crossing the Sahara.

You can do it, but it is a frustrating, time consuming and ultimately very expensive exercise.

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Re: Unity and Gnome Shell should have been a warning to them

True, this is why Windows 8 has a desktop UI.

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Re: Unity and Gnome Shell should have been a warning to them

I have used (or tried to) Windows 8 (Dev and Consumer previews). Metro is an abomination on a PC as it is not a desktop UI and what remains of an actual desktop UI is so castrated as to be useless.

In fact, Win 8 was so abhorrently dreadful that Unity felt almost intuitive afterwards!

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FAIL

Re: Unity and Gnome Shell should have been a warning to them

> True, this is why Windows 8 has a desktop UI.

It may well have the old desktop UI, but Metro is being pushed as the main interface to desktop users. Ironically, being the one main feature being pushed to desktop users, it may well be the single largest failure of the whole release. People just don't want it on their desktop.

But then without Metro, what would be the point of Windows 8 anyway and why would anyone choose it over Windows 7?

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Re: Unity and Gnome Shell should have been a warning to them

I wouldn't call it a desktop UI, but a tile that provides a compatibility view for all the old Windows applications.

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure who here said it

...but on the desktop, Metro comes across as a reincarnated Program Manager.

Just the latest in Microsoft's illustrious tick-flop development cadence.

I'll stick with 7 until 9, TYVM

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Personally, I don't like 40 seconds of crap music at the start of a pod cast.

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jai
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i liked the music, but was still way too much for a podcast format. at the very least, if you're going to put that music dead time at the start, have someone introducing the show over the music or something.

also, try and equalise the volume on the two vocal inputs. Gavin's speech was a bit quiet, so i tuned up the volume, and then Mary-Jo was shouting in my ears, so i had to turn it down, and then couldn't hear Gavin.

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FAIL

Have both tablets

I wanted to share my thoughts, because I have all three Ipads, and also the Acer windows tablet, currently running Windows 8. Windows 8 is an embarassing joke. It is Zune front end (called metro) with the painfully bloated windows legacy stack. No more start button, insead you get to leave the desktop and go to a sliding metro box interface, pick a program and then go back to the desktop. Microsoft is caught between a rock and a hard place. Their only remaining value is legacy office apps, which is why they have to drag along the past. This leaves them unfit for the future where Apple has already arrived. Ipad is always two clicks from what I want. Windows 8 is a horrible merger of a cellphone and desktop interface, you still have a moust pointer trying to click all kinds of tiny little buttons and links. Not all flash plays in the new finger style browser. Not all drivers and software work with windows 8 - so the only good thing it could have offered - backwards compatibility - is crippled at best. It really an embarassment how far behind Apple Microsoft is, and it is due purely to arrogance. While Microsoft was busy making the next round of "dogfood" to force feed the customer, someone else was dilligently creating an entire "culture" of success and elegance. Microsoft is literally YEARS behind now, as a result of that arrogance and lack of concern for the customer.

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Re: Have both tablets

Funny that, works perfectly on my Samsung series 7 slate...… maybe you should ask Acer about your issues.

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Happy

Haha!!!

In my house for four people, we have 14 computers (several macs running windows included and even a Mac running OS X... Yuck), 3 iPads, 4 iPhones, an LG Windows Phone, Apple TVs and a stack of Cisco switches, routers, wireless access points a Juniper or two and some other toys.

With all the iPads, we use the PCs to do most things and the iPads as a "shit, the kid stole my laptop and I want to read the register" device and as a replacement for the crappy in car DVD players from NextBase.

However, my Series 7 Slate running Consumer preview has completely taken over all but my high end gaming and server needs. I even run Hyper-V on it. Since switching from network hardware engineer to network hardware installer (tired of coding), I have spent the past 2 months with my Slate for 8 hours a day or more. I watch Cisco training videos on it, develop Windows phone and iPhone apps on it, watch films on it, use iTunes in it, play games on it (DC Universe with a game pad, AngryBirds or Liesure Suit Larry without), I typed my resume in Microsoft Word with it, etc...

I still use my iPad to read eBooks to the kids before bed since I prefer Kindle App for iPad vs. Kindle App for Windows, but frankly, iPad is just a toy.

Oh and with my Push2TV, it's awesome for watching movies on the TV while I code on the tablet.

I also have started using Windows 8 on my laptops because it's just so damn nice. It's the faster and most responsive OS I've ever touched.

That being said... Just ordered the new Apple TV because I like the remote. Mac Minis are the best desktop/HTPC machine on the market (with Windows), Linux is the best server. Slates ate the best laptops and tablets with Windows 8.

Oh... Have an Android tablet somewhere too, have no idea what that's good for... Kindle Fire, it's like an iPad with a bunch more suck.

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Anonymous Coward

Try it - it's not that bad

I tried Win 8 in a VirtualBox, I don't know what all the fuss is about.

The desktop is still there, it's just a click past the Metro stuff which is a glorified Start Menu. Big Deal!

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Re: Try it - it's not that bad

Neither do i, in fact I really like it. I suspect many people just dot "get it" yet and are just jumping on the hate train having never even used it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Try it - it's not that bad

I have tried both Win8s, and I don't see a big deal either. If you really miss your Start Menu, "there are Apps for that". When I was using DevPreview on my Core2, I think I used the "Orb" at few times, mainly for the calculator program... I didn't try the Consumer Preview (VirtualBox) on my Dual monitor computer, but it would great if the task bar went all the way across the bottom of the screen. Also Win8 DP ran very nicely on my old Core2 3GHz, with only 2Gig of memory, a lot better than Win7 ever did....

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FAIL

WTF

40 seconds of sh*t music before the talking starts...

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Anonymous Coward

WOA is doomed

Why

Unlike in the past they are entering a market totally dominated by Apple, who is selling a product that people want because it does everything they wan. Yes - the MS Love children can't wait for a Windows tablet so they can sit on the couch at home and work on a huge spreadsheet, do some power point or created a 20 page memo. The other 99.999999% of the world does not need or want that in a tablet.

Unlike in the past MS has no product to force people to buy this and let MS drive the competition out of business. WOA is going to have to make it on its own and sticking Windows on the name is not the huge consumer draw that MS thinks it is.

It is based on an interface that has totally failed in the mobile space - why doesn't really matter.

It will lack the tight integration that Apple's products have (since they own everything from design to retail) or the diversity of the Android products. MS will dictate what the hardware must be and then deal with how each manufacture actually implemented it. A whole bunch of boxes that pretty much look the same and almost work.

But MS will keep driving off the cliff because they need Windows on ARM for the server market. Else all those nice, low power servers are going to be running Linux and that is the real nightmare that keeps MS up at night.

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Joke

Re: WOA is doomed

So, "WOA" becomes "WHOA"?

W(Hampered)OA?

W(Hobbled)OA

W(Hamstrung)OA

(I can hear a sock puppet saying, "WHOOOA WHOOOA WHOOOA WHOAAA WHOooA... WAIT!"

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The reason to use MS Windows ...

is because of the 3rd party apps. Most of these have only ever run on Intel compatible CPUs. The ISVs are going to have great fun getting them to work on a different architecture. It isn't that hard if you know what you are doing and have the discipline -- but I suspect that if you have never had to do it before then things may be surprising.

OK, you may also want to use MS Office, but OpenOffice is a credible alternative that is good enough for most people's needs.

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Stop

Actually...

While Metro Start obviously benefits the tablet form factor and touch interfaces it also benefits casual users (customisability, ease of use) and high resolution displays, as well as general users. With the introduction of Vista Microsoft opted to constrain the Start Menu into a tiny corner of the screen, which didn't scale at technology improved. We now see 1080p becoming the dominant resolution - the Steam hardware survey backs this up, though it's admittedly slanted towards gaming - and as resolutions continue to increase (both in terms of individual monitors and multi-monitor setups) the Start Menu, relative to overall screen space, is getting smaller. Having used Windows 8 on a 27" 2560x1440 monitor I have to say that Metro Start is a considerably improvement - when you access All Apps it fills the screen with all your programs, rather than having to scroll endless through a small window and click multiple times to expand folders.

As for Windows on ARM, I think we'll have to see what manufacturers come up with. Certainly I don't see it as DOA, though it will struggle if Intel improves its mobile offerings. And if Microsoft offers it at a discounted price we could see Windows 8 ARM tablets significantly undercutting Apple and its iPad. Having used both the iPad and Windows 8 I prefer the Win8 UI, though nothing comes close to the iPad hardware design, features and marketing.

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Re: Actually...

> And if Microsoft offers it at a discounted price

Microsoft is not selling tablets. It sells its products to those who make tablets. It may well bung some money to Nokia, but others it will threaten with removing their Windows/Office OEM PC discount if they don't do their bidding.

So any 'discounted price' is up to the hardware maker who will be starting off with low volumes, and thus lack of scale, to reduce the risk of complete failure and/or design faults.

There seems to be this hope of 'low cost' WOA tablets, and even of W8/x86 tablets when it seems likely that these WOAs will be approx an iPad2 in features with a price above that of the new iPad once the MS tax and lack of scale has been taken into account. The x86 will likely be even more expensive because the Intel chips will be more than ARM ones, plus more battery and kb/mouse/docking station.

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Stupid article

I'm an integrator and I have 100's of clients that want a windows tablet and I've been telling them all the same thing: wait until Windows 8 comes out. By 2014 tablets will replace tablets in most cases, and guess what? Most people aren't ready to switch to iOS or Android for their main computer. Deal with it, and note that I say this from the perspective of myself: someone who prefers both iOS and Android - but I know people, and the author of this article apparently does not.

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WTF?

Re: Stupid article

"By 2014 tablets will replace tablets in most cases..."

I agree. I will replace my iPad2 with another iPad by 2014. Are you sure that was what you were trying to say?

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Re: thoughtless sales pitch

I sincerely hope you fully and frankly explained the difference between WOA (what we're discussing) and Win8 on Intel (which we aren't). In particular the Metro vs Metro+traditional UI difference.

I think its a reasonable assumtion punters who *needed to be told* to wait for Win8 when asking for a Windows tablet were expecting more of the desktop experience than WOA will ever offer and don't know enough about Win8. Rejecting IOS or Android suggests the same.

I also hope you warned them that the Wintel solution able to run full Win8 is likely to be considerably more expensive than any ARM unit - both from Intels greed and the higher spec full Win8 support implies over just Metro. Or how long they'll wait for Intel to actually deliver on low power.

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Angel

Agreed... Plus...

Windows on ARM is nifty, but without the desktop... Total waste of time. It's the number one most important reason to run Windows as opposed to another crap tablet only OS.

I added a plus because even though there with be cheapy Atom crap heaps, Windows 8 becomes pure awesomeness on a Core i3 or better. I have a Samsung Series 7 Slate and it should win "Computer AND tablet of the year". I have never been so obsessed with any toy before. I got an iPad and was like... Yeh ok. I got a Kindle Fire and used it like a hour hour or two now. Have every other toy I ever wanted and they're all like "kinda neat". But my Series 7 Slate makes me just smile from ear to ear whereever I go with it.

Now, if only some company with style ad design made one. Something more like the iPad 1 (not 2 or 3 which look and feel like shit) it would be awesome. Too bad Microsoft focuses so much on the granny phone company (Nokia), they only do "Cool for geriatrics".

Kinda wish MS would make a tablet of their own. Just one per year. Good balance between battery and performance. Like a custom Ivy Bridge with an i5 Core but i7 graphics... Oh and 4-8gigs of on chip LPDDR3. That would be amazing.

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