Windows 8 as a platform will have to overcome a price barrier that currently prevents manufacturers from matching price and features of iOS and Android tablets.
Windows 8 Manufacturers Are Struggling To Match iOS, Android Prices
Windows 8 as a platform is quite a revolution waiting to happen. It has received great critical response and the general crowd is definitely warming up to it. It is definitely appealing to know that the platform will tie in all our devices in to one cohesive user experience. Where we won’t really have to worry about syncing or transferring anything between our desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones and even gaming consoles. Windows 8 will prevail on all of them and every change will be synced back to the cloud. You will be in sync everywhere as long as you use the same Windows ID.
So as a company trying to launch a new platform, all Microsoft has to do now is make sure there’s enough crave-worthy products on the market running on the new platform. And part of that strategy is to have Windows on tablets. It is in fact a large part of the strategy as more people choose a tablet (usually an iPad) over an ultraportable notebook. Here’s where the price-factor kicks in.
Microsoft has two main competitors when it comes to the tablet world — iOS and Android. Out of the two, Apple owns both hardware and software for the end product. So the body and soul is both created and distributed by Apple, who has amazing control over their supply chain and sells the end product for almost double the cost of building one. As for the software, well that comes for free because this is essentially a hardware company.
Android, as we already know, is given away for free by Google. In fact, if you choose to use stock Android OS, Google will pay you instead. This is what makes the Kindle fire possible.
Together, these are the top two tablets in the market running the top two platforms and representing the two ends of the price band. Windows 8 tablet manufacturers have a problem here. They make only the hardware and they do not get the software for free. Microsoft is reportedly charging about $100 per device for Windows 8. Microsoft on the other hand cannot give it away because it is a software company and that is how they need to make money.
Everything put together, manufacturers competing with iPad (#1 in market by wide margin) and Android (#2) cannot possibly build a competing tablet that matches features, build quality and also the price. So the price for the same experience on Windows will be higher.
However, there’s still the question of value. A unified experience might actually be worth investing in for entire households and a $100 extra wouldn’t really mean much at that point. So when you zoom out to the wider perspective, usability wins out. Which is why the iPad still sells more despite being expensive.