We have seen from reports from Microsoft quoting that it is going to come up with a major announcement in Los Angeles on Monday but we ain’t sure what this could be.In an email, the company had said, “This will be a major Microsoft announcement — you will not want to miss it.”Rumors are running around the corner that Microsoft is going to launch a touch screen tablet manufactured by itself running on Windows RT (a version of Windows 8 could use Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip), intended to rival Apple’s iPad.
Hollywood blog The Wrap cites “an individual with knowledge of the company”, who claims that the software giant would be “making a foray into a new hardware category that would put the company in direct competition with rival Apple” — tablets.All Things D has been hearing the same rumblings with its own sources.Microsoft supposedly figured that it needs to get its hands dirty if it wants to be able to meaningfully compete with the iPad, designing both hardware and software just as Apple has always done.
On April 30th, Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Barnes & Noble to spin off its digital Nook business with an investment of $300 million. Referred to as “Newco,” the co-owned subsidiary is designed to “accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices,” according to Microsoft’s Andy Lees (who was replaced with Terry Myerson in December 2011)
After four months of working on a “time-critical” project, Lees was put in charge of discussing a major partnership for the company. The press release for Microsoft’s Barnes & Noble deal was vague on software and hardware details, but an SEC filing, discovered by Mary Jo Foley, contains references to a “Microsoft Reader” and lots of mentions of Windows Phone.
What the Noble’s deal would do is,Microsoft will pick up access to Barnes & Noble’s content through a newly designed app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. An app that must use the Metro style user interface on the Windows 8 version.At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in 2011, Lees famously revealed that Microsoft’s separate ecosystems for phones and tablets will “come together” into one single ecosystem spanning different form factors.
This is not the first time Microsoft is heading into the tablet division.Between 2008 and 2010, Microsoft was said to be working on a dual-touchscreen folding tablet — called “Courier.” But Microsoft management killed that project.
Basing the system on RT has a certain advantage from a business point of view,as many of the tablets being produced by Microsoft’s OEM partners are deploying Windows 8, so using RT is less likely to step on too many toes.There are chances that Internet Explorer could be the browser as RT version shuts down competing browser makers from using APIs, which are available only to IE in RT.
If Microsoft goes with RT, users of the tablet will likely have instant access to its apps thanks to “connected standby.” That function makes a tablet operate like a smartphone. The device is designed to work in a powered-on state all the time. When not in use, it just goes into a very deep sleep.
The size of the tablet would segment onto which category the tablet would be into.If it’s a 10.3 inch display then it would be seen as a competitor to Apple’s iPad.If it’s a 7 inch one it would be seen as the Kindle Fire competitor.7 inch would be more beneficial as the comparison would be with Kindle fire and not Apple’s iPad especially if it’s running a robust operating system like RT.One more reason could be to give some thing to consumers which Apple didn’t offer till now.
Some more inputs report that Microsoft may not completely introduce a true tablet but an electronic reader may be in the picture. Chances are that it might use Microsoft’s mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7.That’s a very intriguing possibility because it has the potential to build on Microsoft’s existing partnerships with Barnes & Noble and Nokia, and it’s a path that’s least likely to annoy the company’s OEM partners who have already announced Windows tablets.
Apple has been leading the worldwide tablet market share in Q1 2012 with 62.8%(Source -NPD DisplaySearch) while Samsung and Amazon share 7.5 and 4 % respectively.So this might be the perfect time for Microsoft to scoop into the tablet segment.
We already know Google is looking to unveil a Nexus Tablet later this month, giving the Android tablet market some much needed leadership to rally the troops. But the move may also backfire, since Google is expected to price the device very aggressively, which could also competitively undercut the very partners that Google is trying to lead.
Microsoft seems to want to jump the gun on Google and unveil its own first-party device before Big G. Microsoft is also aggressively courting developers to create tablet-optimized Metro-style apps for its platform, while the lack of tablet-optimized apps has proved to be a big weakness for Android tablets unlike Apple’s iPad friendly apps.
Microsoft with its upcoming tablet push, is picky about which OEMs to let in on the ground floor, and has allegedly blocked HTC out of the first wave.”It means Microsoft can control all of the variables and make a product that really works,” said Endpoint Technologies analyst Roger Kay. “It’s not a good thing for its hardware partners, but Microsoft may have made the calculation that it doesn’t matter,” Kay added, noting that Microsoft would have obviously made this decision a while ago.
So few hours more for the official announcement.Excited what it’s gonna be ? A Kindle Fire competitor or the competitor to rumored 7 inch Google Nexus tablet or to the iPad ? Stay tuned for the updates.