Numerous sources suggest Microsoft’s mysterious event on July 18th is for an in-house tablet, running Windows 8
If you believe what you read, then Microsoft could be launching a rival to the iPad … or Kindle Fire
Microsoft is holding a surprise event on Monday, which was expected to be focused around Windows RT/Windows Phone 8/Windows 8 ahead of the expected fall launches for all three. Apparently that’s bogus, because Microsoft is building up to the launch of a tablet pitched as a rival to the iPad or Kindle Fire.
There are signs Microsoft is working on a tablet, chief among them the deal with Barnes & Noble’s Nook business which has references to a Microsoft Reader. There’s also the ongoing question of whether Nokia is preparing a Windows tablet. The company has said it’s looking at the area, but hasn’t confirmed development.
Content Providers Available
Google’s I/O is coming soon, and the company is expected to announce a 7-inch tablet running Android. I think a Microsoft tablet would generate more excitement because it’s unexpected, though that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Looking at the content partnerships Microsoft has with its Xbox Live platform, it has big content providers – including Netflix, Hulu and the BBC – which would work incredibly well on a tablet. Combine that with the Metro UI, designed as a cross between Windows Phone and Xbox Live’s dashboard, and there’s something incredibly compelling.
The only question I would have is how is Microsoft going to get developers on board, and will their apps work on Windows 8 tablets? Microsoft runs the risk of fragmenting the developers between the two tablets, but the Metro interface is so similar across devices it should be easy for developers to port apps across, if at all.
We also don’t know what form factors we’re going to get: 7- or 10-inch? It depends on who Microsoft wants to compete with. Competing with the Kindle Fire and Amazon would be easier because Microsoft’s content offerings rival Amazon, and the Kindle Fire is positioned as a content-centric devices. Microsoft doesn’t have a well-known iTunes rival by the general consumer, and Apple can do no wrong with its Retina display and gorgeous design even if iOS is looking a bit dated. Whatever the news, find out this Monday, June 18.