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Are Windows 8 tablets an expensive bag of fail?

We all know that Microsoft, and its partners are going to be pushing Windows 8 heavily for tablets. The Windows 8 tablets we've seen so far have some interesting features, but are also saddled with expensive prices. Bob O'Donnell, an analyst from the research firm IDC, thinks that Windows 8 tablets are simply too expensive. 
 
O'Donnell doesn't believe the traditional PC pricing on Windows 8 tablets bodes well for the new hybrid devices. The Windows 8 tablets we've seen so far from Acer and Lenovo that are able to convert between tablet and laptop use come in at a price between $499 and $1099 depending on options.


Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 13 starts at $1,099
 
"The problem is these things are priced way too high. Look at the history of tablet products priced above the iPad. Not pretty," O'Donnell told CNET.
 
Computer manufacturers are hoping that consumers will see the value in Windows 8 tablets that are promising better productivity thanks to keyboards and the Windows operating system that tablets such as the iPad can't offer.
 
The analyst believes that the Microsoft Surface tablet won't undercut the pricing of Apple’s iPad. O'Donnell says that he expects the RT version of the Surface tablet to sell for $599 and the Intel-powered version to sell for $999.

Source: CNET



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My take on it...
By bill.rookard on 10/11/2012 12:57:09 PM , Rating: 2
Pricing will be critical. While you certainly can get a $300 laptop these days, generally, it's gonna suck pretty hard. It will work, but will be slow, clunky, and a mess. When you hit $600-700, they're generally much better (with notable exceptions). When you hit the $1000 mark, they're damn good (again though, with notable exceptions).

The market for the tablets though is markedly different. Yes, you can get a $100 tablet, but like the cheap laptop, yeah, it's gonna suck. The problem is that once you hit the $300-400 mark (iPad2), well, that's been defined as 'the best' (and the sales generally prove it). Unless you can beat it in every metric that counts, you have a very difficult time justifying a higher price for what winds up being a similar device.

So - with the iPad, a dozen or so hours of life, lots of apps, good screen, light, yes there are flaws in that it's a media consumption device and anything beyond basic productivity becomes difficult.

Compared to the specs I've seen though for the x86 Win8 tablets? Somewhat lower battery life, heavier, lots of apps (x86 compatibility FTW!), better productivity. But - at double (or more) the price.

Thus it appears they're aiming this at somewhat more professional users - but this ultimately is somewhat more of a niche market vs the consumer oriented tablet. I see this being great for IT guys who need to walk around and have great mobility for monitoring stuff and such, but if you can (for the vast majority of people) hit the huge consumer market square on in terms of price and usability (which the iPad has done) you'll sell a ton of devices.

When you can almost buy a somewhat decent laptop AND an iPad for what what they're looking to charge for just a straight medium spec x86 tablet, there's definitely a pricing issue. Yes it would combine both devices in one, but a tablet STILL isn't as good as a full blown notebook/desktop for productivity.

In that vein, a big question becomes: what of AMD? They generally provide a solid chip, albeit at a slight power penalty (their revised Z60 seems to be a contender though) at a much lower price. While Intel offers their Atom chips (which are blown away by the AMD Bobcat cores) they're pricey - especially for their premium binned ULV parts. Meanwhile if Hondo (AMD's Z60) offers 'close enough' power usage with much better performance at a MUCH lower price, well, I think tablet makers would be foolish not to consider it if it can reduce their BOM while offering enough performance.

They need to face facts: The market is VERY sensitive to pricing right now, and Apple has a huge advantage on that for one big reason: vertical integration. They make their own chips (well outsource the fab but it's their design). Their own OS. Their own app-store. All profits remain in-house for the most part and they can discount as they like. The rest of the companies are integrators - chips from AMD/Intel, parts from all over, OS from MS - and all the associated markups that come with it for those individual companies to profit. The net result is more fingers in the pie, and a higher price for the x86 tablets.




RE: My take on it...
By GeorgeOu on 10/23/2012 5:03:52 AM , Rating: 2
"Compared to the specs I've seen though for the x86 Win8 tablets? Somewhat lower battery life, heavier, lots of apps (x86 compatibility FTW!), better productivity. But - at double (or more) the price."

No. The Acer W510 with Win8 and Clover Trail is $499. Not double the price of the iPad.


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