Is Tablet Success the Last Hope for Windows 8?


Anyone who has seen the latest ad from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) would think the company is feeling good about its tablets. That’s important, as reviews for the Windows 8 OS continue to be unimpressed at best and very disappointed at worst. Considering it has put a huge commitment into a “Blue” 8.1 update and its touch screen system in general, Microsoft’s last hope for Windows 8 may be in the success of its tablets.

Microsoft mocked Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad in a recent Windows 8 commercial that was particularly hostile to Siri, the talking virtual assistant. While a hand (much like those seen in Apple ads) cruises through updates and Power Point presentations, Siri talks about how helpless she is and, finally, gives up and asks for a duet of “Chopsticks.” With a tag calling for “Less talking, more doing,” Microsoft appears to be banking on the enhanced usability of the 8.1 update.

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Unless Microsoft can prove it is winning on some levels with Windows 8, it will be vulnerable to more attacks on its own products. Several reviews of Win8 have remarked that the OS is at its best when it is working on tablet touch screens. Laptops equipped with touch capabilities become too confusing to succeed, leading to a reliance on traditional mouse and pointing device control. Two studies released this week confirmed that users are not ecstatic about Windows 8, yet they get significantly happier when tablets are concerned.

Among proposed ways to save the reputation of Windows 8, the top ideas revolve around increasing offerings in the tablet department and making sure the update/fix comes through in the clutch. By improving battery life in a number of tablets, part of the solution is in place. Users who get the 8.1 update (once known as “Blue”) will have to decide when it arrives.

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Last but not least, many complained that tablets and PCs running Windows 8 were just too expensive. Microsoft has come up with solutions on this count as well, which their iPad-mocking ad highlighted in the closing seconds. After finding out how little you could do on an Office-lacking iPad compared to a Windows 8 tablet, the prices flash on the screen: The 64 GB iPad goes for $699; the 64 GB ASUS, $449.

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