I am starting to see ads for the forthcoming Microsoft tablet that will run a version of Windows 7. Of course this is no surprise to anyone. What does surprise me is the price! It will sell, at least initially, for a measly $1099 , and that price even includes a stylus! What a deal! I can see the lines forming now.
All kidding aside how in the world can Microsoft justify this? Yes, there are some folks who insist on using Windows but is this niche large enough to support the product? Does Microsoft need to charge that much to recoup their development and production costs?
The Wi-Fi Motorola XOOM will launch next week with a price tag of $599 (32GB). Although a bit heavier then the iPad 2, it offers Google’s Android OS and a huge selection of apps from the Android AppStore. It will be a strong competitor to Apple. Hewlett-Packard has projected June to include the launch of their WebOS tablet, I don’t know what the price of that device will be bur you can bet that the Motorola team will be closely watching XOOM and Microsoft.
Another concern I have about a Windows tablet is Windows malware. A Windows desktop user is just about forced to simultaneously run antivirus and antispyware products. These consume processor power. Tablet computers have less processor power than their desktop counterparts by design. What will a user do when the tablet’s OS is trashed? Will there be a way to “flash” a clean OS image to the device? Even at a more reasonable price these would be questions that I would want answers to before I made an investment. Yes, I have some gripes about iTunes and my iPad 1, but in the unlikely event that I trash its OS, iTunes will restore it.
Historically, Apple products are innovative and generally priced higher than competitive products that followed. The iPad was an exception being priced competitively with laptops and netbooks. Whether this was intentional or unintentional it did set a price point that competition would have to meet. At $1099 the Microsoft tablet will fail. Intelligent buyers will quickly recognize a lack of value.