Tech giants Intel and Microsoft are hoping that the first wave of tablet PCs running Windows 8 will push the iPad's global market share down from the current 70 percent to below 50 percent by mid-2013, according to Taiwan-based ODMs speaking to DigiTimes.
The report claims that while Microsoft will release Windows 8 for the x86 platform to hardware manufacturers in September, Windows RT for ARM devices will follow at a later unspecified date. Despite this staggered release, the unnamed ODM asserts that by the end of 2012 there will be more than 30 tablet PCs running Windows 8 from big names such as HP, Dell, Lenovo and Acer.
The battleground that Intel, Microsoft, and the ODMs have chosen to challenge the iPad on is a predictable one: price.
It is reported that Lenovo and Acer will have tablet PCs starting at $300, priced to compete with not only Apple's iPad, but the slew of Android-powered tablets flooding the market.
It would be foolhardy to ignore Android tablets given that they themselves are putting pressure on the iPad, with Javelin Strategy & Research predicting that the Android tablet market will soon overtake the iPad. Apple set the price for tablets, and failures such as the Motorola Xoom and the BlackBerry PlayBook have shown that trying to redefine this at a higher level is doomed to failure.
There's no word on the hardware specifications of this budget hardware, especially at the $300 end of the spectrum. Will the ODMs cut corners or will they be able to deliver a quality product as such a tight budget? We'll have to wait and see.
Both Intel and Microsoft have good reason to want to see the iPad's global market share cut down to below 50 percent. The iPad isn't built around Intel's Atom CPU and doesn't run Microsoft's Windows operating system. Both companies desperately need an answer to the iPad, and hope this will be in part catalyzed by Windows 8.
Intel has already given us a sneak peak at an interesting looking hybrid tablet ultrabook running Windows 8. The Letexo hybrid system transforms from a tablet into a system that has a keyboard and a screen propped up on a stand.
Image credit: ZDNet.
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