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Microsoft Mulling Smaller Windows 8 Tablets 145

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft might want a piece of the mini-tablet market. The company has lowered the minimum screen resolution for Windows 8 tablets, from 1,366 x 768 pixels to 1024 x 768 pixels. "This doesn't imply that we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution," it wrote in an accompanying newsletter. "We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful." As pointed out by ZDNet's Ed Bott—cited by other publications as the journalist who first noticed the altered guidelines—that lowered resolution "would allow manufacturers to introduce devices that are in line with the resolutions of the iPad Mini (1024 x 768) and the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 (both 1280 x 800)." Whatever the contours of the smaller-tablet market, it's certainly popular enough to tantalize any potential competitor. But if Microsoft plunges in, it will face the same challenges that confronted it in the larger-tablet arena: lots of solid competitors, and not a whole lot of time to make a winning impression. There are also not-inconsiderable hardware challenges to overcome, including processor selection and engineering for optimal battery life."
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Microsoft Mulling Smaller Windows 8 Tablets

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  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:44PM (#43313909) Journal
    A $200 Win 8 RT tablet could be compelling, and I hate M$.
  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Farmer Pete ( 1350093 ) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:46PM (#43313925)
    I don't know how much you want to spend, but the obvious choice would be going with a Nexus 4. It is a phone, but at $300-$350, it's pretty cheap. Also, you can pop in a pay as you go, talk only SIM card and get real cheap service. Then you can just use the WiFi for data. So you can use it for your phone, but do so without paying the large fees that VZ, ATT, and Sprint charge.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday March 29, 2013 @04:09PM (#43314121) Journal

    Saw the Surface at a large store yesterday. It was on the corner of a display stand. It was the smallest display area, of to the side of the "real" tablet area. Nobody was around it. Just a lonely little tablet for 500 euro's.

    What Microsoft just never got because they are the bottom feeder is that people want something a bit special when they shell over cash. It is the reason why Starbuck can charge 2x as much for bad coffee as other stores AND have a longer line for it. Because when you go to Starbucks you don't buy coffee, you buy an experience. An experience of being served slightly better then at 99% of stores.

    Apple has this experience. Microsoft doesn't. By definition it doesn't. People get hard/wet opening an Apple box. Nobody has to change their pants after a MS unboxing. Well, maybe accountants.

    When you show off your device to others, you got have something to show off with. The first tablet, the high-rez tablet, the most cores, oled. SOMETHING. MS has NOTHING. Except a lame image and a high pricepoint. People didn't buy iPads because they were expensive bling, they paid a high price FOR the bling. It is a subtle different, it is the difference between a 1000 dollar mobile phone with specced out specs AND a 10.000 gold plated phone with mediocre specs.

    Basically the Surface is the Zune all over again. Not because the Zune was objectively that bad but because it launched 2 years late with specs that belonged to 4 year old hardware. Not bad... but not good... and then there is that MS logo... it makes the people that hear "dude you got a dell" go "dude you got a ms".

    There are just some companies that can't do sexy. Some companies go through the frontdoor of life and some companies are lucky to be allowed through the servant entrance, after dark.

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Friday March 29, 2013 @04:15PM (#43314183)

    Microsoft is going all in on the idea that the desktop is going the way of the dodo and that by 2015 EVERYTHING will have a touch screen. I've long made the argument that if touch really was the future of everything Apple would have had touch screen Macbooks and iMacs a long time ago.

    I went to a developers event last fall for work. I understand that MS is wanting to unify all of it's UI's across it's various platforms. Whether it's a good/bad UI is subjective, but it was clear that was the goal. The other developers at the event joked in the elevator about the problems of touchscreens with desktops. And I will say some of their decisions when you listen to why the did what they did do make sense, but the problem is are those changes worth the cost? Especially to businesses where change, any change, adds up quickly in soft costs. Maybe if they had introduced Metro on the tablets and phones with a classic "windows start bar" desktop + "metro mode" when you click a button or key (what apple is doing in OSX with launchpad like or hate it) to get people used to the idea and changes to the interface before converting over in Windows 9 it would have gotten a better response. Instead they are trying to change how people have worked with computers in the office since 1995.

    The truth is the desktop isn't going anywhere in the enterprise. The whole appification trend we've been seeing works for consumption of content. It doesn't work for content creation. Since most of my days are spend reading emails, texts, phone calls, looking at documents others create, and meetings, generally I leave the laptop on my desk and bring my iPhone & iPad. Same goes for a lot of our sales team. Most are carrying some kind of tablet/smart phone and find that's all they need and it's a lot lighter. But they are mostly consuming and in a pinch if you need to make a quick change to a document or write a brief email response tablets work great. Last year I tried to replace my laptop and got the keyboard case and the docking station for the iPad, but the apps just weren't there yet. Try creating anything more than a basic spreadsheet or report in Pages on an iPad. But I found if I'm going to have to compose a long email, document, or spreadsheet that I want a keyboard, mouse, and big monitor. Basically what I have sitting in front of me. And a lot of workers need because it makes their job easier.

    Currently I have a 15" macbook pro on my desk with a 26" Acer monitor beside it and external keyboard and mouse. Then I at least have the option of working from other locations when I need to and I do travel places for days at a time. But the people who work in the office day in and out, they all have iMacs or Mac Mini's depending on what they're doing. Again, they are usually creating content, editing graphics & video and they want the large screens. They don't care about taking their work home at the end of the day either. Our graphics people aren't going to be editing photos of models on an iPad anytime soon.

  • Re:Paper (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rogue Haggis Landing ( 1230830 ) on Friday March 29, 2013 @04:45PM (#43314415)

    The aspect ratio of 4:3 is quite close to A-type paper sizes, so it's nice for PDFs.

    Yes, and it's closer to US letter-sized paper than 16:10 is. I've also long thought that a 4:3 screen is better for using the tablet as a laptop replacement with a bluetooth keyboard. At 16:10 the screen is too wide in landscape and too narrow in portrait. 4:3 is much better for this (though of course generally worse for watching video).

    So I really want a 4:3 tablet, but I don't want to buy an iPad. The list of 4:3 Android tablets is short and undistinguished [], owing (I presume) to Android being aimed at the 16:10 form factor. I don't especially want to buy a Windows 8 tablet, but a Windows tablet is likely to be more flexible than an iPad, and eventually there will be one with a better build quality and a better screen than most or all of the Android tablets in the link above.

    So good for Microsoft and whatever hardware vendors winkled this out of them. I'd rather have a really nice 4:3 Android tablet, but that doesn't exist right now. "OK" might not be as good as "good", but it's better than "meh".

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Friday March 29, 2013 @04:47PM (#43314421)
    Lets also not forget that WP8 Apps and W8 Apps aren't the "same" - unlike iOS and Android, they are separate SDK frameworks. So, you have to do twice the work to hit the "Windows 8" platform. What a great use of resources, for a platform no one wants.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle