iPad’s First Real Threat Has Finally Arrived

Steve Jobs - iPadAcer unveiled a new line of Windows 8 devices this week at Computex Taipei, including a laptop-tablet hybrid called Iconia W510. The form factor, first introduced by Asus’s Android-based Transformer Prime, will soon be the norm, thanks to the very nature of Windows 8.

In case it’s not clear by now, Apple’s iPad has finally met a worthy competitor. Staying complacent is no longer a choice. Apple has tried hard to position the iPad as a content creation tool, aside from being a marvelous content consumption device. However, at the end of the day, there are still countless of tasks that can only be performed on a full-scale computer.

Windows 8 is the solution. Acer’s Iconia W510, says AnandTech, can be used as a full-fledged Windows-based laptop, and also as a touch-centric tablet. The latter feature is the biggest threat Apple’s iPad will ever face, thus far, and is even bigger than Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.

Windows 8 Two-Headed Attack

Microsoft will be able to capture a huge portion of the tablet market, without having consumers to consciously choose a Windows 8 tablet. When the market is filled with Windows 8 laptop-tablet hybrids, users purchasing new laptops will be given a free Windows 8 tablet, or so to speak, as they are indeed the very same device.

In other words, a Windows 8 tablet will be the first tablet to many consumers who are not consciously looking to purchase a tablet. The Metro UI doesn’t even have to be on par or exceed iOS. It merely needs to be good enough. Good enough to discourage its users from spending another $500 or so on a new tablet.

It’s not to say that Windows 8 tablets are no good. The Acer Iconia W510 itself is pretty impressive, with a promised battery life of 18 hours. Exact specifications are scarce at this point, but based on the hands-on photos published by AnandTech, the 10.1-inch tablet doesn’t look too bulky. It could cost as much as $800, a fair price for a laptop, more so for a laptop that doubles up as a tablet.

Windows 8 hybrids need to be out as soon as possible to capture as many non-tablet owners as possible in the shortest time. Competition will definitely heat up, resulting in more and more innovation between tech titans. This is the first threat to the iPad that Apple needs to worry about, and having said that, it could be a disaster for Android tablets.

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Photo: Detroity2k

Comments

  1. BY Michael says:

    Two-headed attack? What two heads are you talking about? One head where Microsoft gives away the product? And this is what will cause MSFT to “dominate” the tablet market?

    I don’t see it. Here are the Gartner projections through to 2016. A 11+% market share in 5 years.
    And for what profit margin over Apple? If MSFT is willing to give it away to gain market share, then the answer is pretty obvious.

    (units: thousands of tablets sold)
    OS 2011 2012 2013 2016

    iOS 39,998 72,998 99,553 169,652
    Android 17,292 37,878 61,684 137,657
    Microsoft 0 4,863 14,547 43,648
    QXN 807 2,643 6,036 17,836
    Other 1,919 510 637 464

    • BY Vincent Chow says:

      I was referring to Windows 8 laptop-tablet hybrids. Going forward, when the market is flooded with these devices, users purchasing Windows 8 laptops are likely to choose these hybrids. As a result, they will have full-featured laptop and a tablet at the cost of one.

      For casual users who aren’t asking for much, a Windows 8 tablet should suffice, deterring him/her from considering another tablet, an iPad or Android tablet. The effect would be stronger once Windows Store gain momentum.

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