So, the war for your tablet dollar is now a three-way, with Microsoft and Google joining Apple in the quest to dominate through hardware as well as software.
Since the iPad proved that people really will use a multifunctional device that does more than check email and Web surf, Microsoft has stuck to its OS knitting by trying to convince people Windows Mobile was a serious player. With its new Surface, Redmond’s betting that it can use Windows 8 Mobile to charge at Apple head-on. As for Google, even though it emphasizes its Nexus 7′s media capabilities, everywhere you turn, people call it Google’s attempt to create an iPad killer.
It’s certainly true that a lot of people like Android better than iOS, and you’ll always hear the religious arguments about whether Apple or Google is the better company with the better vision and the better products. As for Microsoft, let’s face it: Many people use Windows for the same reason they didn’t change the channel before remotes were invented. It’d mean they have to get out of their chair.
And that’s an important dynamic here. More than one mobile addict has told me to always use the tablet that matches your cell phone. That way you don’t have to change the channel from iOS to Android or vice versa. Whether you actually like Windows or not, an awful lot of people use it, and if they’re going to spend the money on a new tablet, it could make much more sense for them to go for the OS they know, and which their company probably is happier to support.
Here’s another thing: Our Android Guide Michelle Greenlee recently wrote that 44 percent of first-time business buyers were considering buying Android, compared to 27 percent for the iPad. Only 3 percent were considering a Windows 8 device.
But the Surface could change that. This is a machine built around true functionality and truly showing off Windows 8. It offers some well-thought-out features, and Microsoft’s made some decisions that will make it far easier to incorporate into your normal ecosystem — for example, the humble USB port. No additional cables required to plug in.
The truth is, I wouldn’t have written another post about tablets if the only new device was the Nexus 7. I see many comparisons to Chromebooks on the horizon. But the Google and Microsoft both making a hardware play is fascinating.