Xbox tablet? I don't think so

Xbox tablet? I don't think so

Summary: Gewirtz's reasoning is that he puts too much stock in "Xbox the brand" as opposed to "Xbox the console".

TOPICS: Tablets

Could Microsoft be getting ready to unveil an Xbox branded tablet at next week's mystery media event?

ZDNet's David Gewirtz says believes so, claiming "Microsoft really only lets the exciting out of its cage once a decade or so" and comes to the conclusion that it's now time to take the Xbox brand to a new level.

In fact, Gewirtz has no trouble at all coming up with reasons to back up the ongoing industry speculation. He spins such a good tale that for a moment I was sucked into the fantasy.

But then I started to see the flaws.

While I have no doubt that Xbox has its cadre of hardcore fanboys, I doubt that there are enough of them to take a new product to leap across Moore's 'chasm', something that's necessary for any product if it is to go mainstream. Most people just bought -- or were bought -- a games console. They didn't just subscribe to a cult or religion.

There's no doubt that the Xbox 360 is a popular gaming console, but its success is nothing compared to a device like the iPad.

First released in November 2006, by April 2012 Microsoft had sold over 67 million units. That seems like a lot, but remember that the console was first released in November 2005, so those sales are spread over six and a half years. To put this into perspective, the iPad was first released in April of 2010 and in a little over two years Apple has sold more than 67 million tablets.

Another problem with an Xbox tablet is differentiation. How does this tablet differ from Windows 8 or Windows RT tablets?

Sure, there would be a gaming slant to it, but is this going to be purely a gaming platform or will it be able to do other stuff too? On the one hand it seems somewhat late in the proceedings for Microsoft to release a one-trick tablet, but simply branding a tablet "Xbox" seems like little more than a cheap marketing trick.

Even the Xbox 360 console itself is no longer purely a gaming platform, but it has morphed into an entertainment hub.

This 'fictional' tablet could cost in or around $299. Unless this Xbox tablet were to be heavily subsidized by Microsoft right from the off, I can't see Redmond being able to come up with anything compelling at this price point. Even Apple's iPad 2 will set you back $399, so a $299 price sticker is really low-balling things.

Gewirtz added: "The one thing the company doesn't really have is a portable Xbox solution."

Is a tablet even the right direction for Microsoft, especially given that the company is hoping that Windows-powered tablets will gain traction over the months following the launch of the new operating system?

Come to think of it: I'm having a hard time believing that Microsoft needs a portable gaming solution at all, given that Windows-powered tablets and Windows Phone devices could fill in the gaps without needing a dedicated device.

I don't think that we're going to see an Xbox tablet announced on Monday. My guess is that this is announcement will revolve around music, movie or TV.

Image source: Microsoft.

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Topic: Tablets

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  • Compare iPad and Xbox ?????

    "Theres no doubt that the Xbox 360 is a popular gaming console, but its success is nothing compared to a device like the iPad"...
    Why are you trying to compare the xbox with the ipad ?
    - Xbox 360 only works with a TV attached (HD preferred)
    - The main purpose is to play games, each costing 60 $.
    - Need to use a controller ("unfriendly input device")
    - .....
    A more fair comparison will be ipad vs. windows pc. In these new post pc era , according to the tech bloggers, where pc are going to be replaced by ipads and alike.... But 75 millions pc x quarters is probably is only going to show how hyped ipad is.
    • But is it cool?

      You came in late, so you're missing the point. There has been great debate about whether the brand name "Windows" is a help or a hindrance to Windows Phone, with a similar debate raging about the tablet OS. Some feel that the brand Windows turns many people off because they associate it with that thing they hate at work. Others say the brand "Windows" is no longer 'cool' ... but that "XBox" is, so Microsoft should use it on the mobile offerings. Adrian is using the counbter-argument to that, which is that outside the gaming community, "XBox" is largely unknown.

      Regardless of what people think, it is clear that what Microsoft thinks is that the brand "Windows" is just fine and will appear on all the company's OS offerings from phones on up.
      Robert Hahn
    • He's comparing the two because he has to.

      It's an AKH requirement: everything must be compared to Apple or the iPad or the iPhone, and in that comparison everything must always be inferior. I bet this guy takes his iPad to the bathroom to look at Apple product pics like it was a Playboy magazine..."Siri...remind me to buy some more Kleenex".

      P.S.-I don't think it will be an Xbox tablet either. Tablets are no good for gaming because there are no physical buttons.
      • Buttons?

        I use an XBox 360 controller plugged into my pc. What makes you think that plugging in one of those conrollers into a tablet is so hard? I just want one.
      • That's exactly the point.

        @dedsetmad. A real gamer will want a controller. And you can do that on any PC or tablet. So there wouldn't be anything special about an Xbox tablet since you can just stick a controller into any other tablet with a USB port or bluetooth. So unless they could somehow make them at a low price with amazing specs it would make no sense to me.
      • It' not the buttons

        It's the lack of computing power. Nobody in their right mind would even believe an ARM based tablet can offer the power needed to run latest xbox or ps3 based games, and the hardware on these consoles is at least years old, but still offer way more power then today's most powerfull ARM based hardware.
  • Your comparison is skewed

    It's hardly rational to compare the success of the Xbox console to an iPad tablet largely because you fail to take into consideration that these are two completely different markets. The Xbox emerged into a flooded gaming console market and had some steep competition to combat, whereas the iPad started a whole new market that has had little to no competition even down to this day. Android's fragmentation and malware flooded marketplace has presented nothing close to the Ipad with exception to the Transformer Prime which was released long after the iPad had taken root into many of the consumer's hearts, and that still didn't fix the boobytrapped marketplace.

    I completely agree with you that this announcement will not be a Xbox branded tablet, but I wouldn't put it past the softies to take a stab at an officially Microsoft branded tablet; regardless, if it's nook like or ipad like it should be exciting!
    • The ipad is a failure

      Americans buy 11 Billion paper clips per year. In comparison, iPads have sold a mere 67 million units.
      Your Non Advocate
  • Gaming tablet ?

    I don't care what any "gaming tablet" is called, as long as it can run a game like Battlefield3 or Max Payne3; as well as do emails and web browsing, for under a $1200 pricetag; I will have one.
  • Microsoft is damned if they do and damned if they don't.

    Microsoft's forays into hardware have been mixed at best. It took how many years for the Xbox to be "profitable", 7? And even then, it's arguable if EDD has earned back it's development costs. Then there's Zune. Then there's Kin. So, Microsoft getting back into the hardware game is dicey at best.

    However, the problem is that Microsoft may [i]have[/i] to. OEMs have got to be looking at WP7 and Nokia and wonder if it's even worth trying to take a MS consumer-centric platform to market. In addition, if the rumors of $85 WinRT OEM license fees are correct (but I don't believe they are), it's going to take a [b]lot[/b] of positivity for an OEM to want to spend the resources required to release something new running an unproven OS from Redmond.

    So MS is in a quandary. They have to look south at Cupertino with envious eyes at the fat hardware margin, incredible mindshare, and soaring stock price that comes from having your own integrated hardware/software stack. Yet, Ballmer has got to be wondering how many more costly failures does he get before the Board says "Enough!"
    • Apple and Microsoft

      Its funny. MS is not a hardware company. When the first xbox come out, the failure predictions where everyware. "They can't compete with playstation and Nintendo", all the experts say so.
      Apple has his own failures history:
      Apple Lisa, Macintoch Portable, Newton, Powebook Duo, The cube, Apple TV,....billions lost for sure...
      But I never hear expert talking about these disasters, and if they talk about it is in the context "Apple was so advance at that time, the users don't understand", "the users are so stupid for not buying this super cool things..."
      • Failure is a subjective term.

        Lisa gave us the Macintosh. Macintosh portable set the stage for Powerbooks, iBooks, and Macbooks. The Newton really begat the Palm Pilot, and while it wasn't a Jobs product, you can't deny it's ancestry in the iPhone. Powerbook duo basically invented the concept of the sub-notebook. Granted the Cube was pure indulgence, but the idea of caseless computers is born out by the iMacs. And as for AppleTV, it's looking less like a failure and more like a stepping stone to what TV will be in 5 years.

        Contrast those with Zune and Kin. While strains of those products' DNA may be in WP7, that's hardly been a winner.

        It's one thing for a failure to be a lesson-learning experience that teaches you what [b]not[/b] to do next time (c.f. the ROKR which was total crap, but a big reason the iPhone is so great). It's another when you spend billions in acquisition and/or development and then pull the plug with neither success or wisdom.
      • Are you kidding ?...

        Are you saying that all these failures are not really failures, but beta/research products to gain experience and wisdom, to learn what not to do,.... to be able to create the next big thing 25/30 years later.
        Total BS.
        One thing is learning for mistakes/failures, and another thing is not even admitting these thing ARE FAILURES.
      • You Forgot the Pippen

        Apple's failed attempt at a game console which sold for an absurd $800 and didn't even have any games for available for it....and was cancelled in less than a year....

        Funny how Apple apologists bashing the alleged 'failure' of the X Box always forget that Apple tried making a game console before Microsoft, and utterly, utterly failed.
        Doctor Demento
      • Most of these I can see

        but how is Apple TV a failure?

        And there is the premise that the Apple Lisa led to the Macintosh, that the Macintosh portable led to the Mac books, the Newton led to the iPhone and iPad... What did the Kin lead to? The Zune? Surface?

        You say that [b]One thing is learning for mistakes/failures, and another thing is not even admitting these thing ARE FAILURES.[/b] and yet you deny that the very things you claim as failures did NOT lead to successful products? Has your Apple hate blinded you to the hypocrisy in your logic?
  • Hmm

    Yeah, do not see these two in the same class.
  • Ironic

    "Most people just bought ??? or were bought ??? a games console. They didn???t just subscribe to a cult or religion."

    Says one of the leading ZDNet devotees of the Apple religion....
    Doctor Demento
  • whole

    And Minnelli keeps the whole affair--replete with hilariously solemn heart-to-heart talks, a disastrous engagement party, and lovers' spats--from derailing into broad farce.
  • The XBox is a massive success

    67 million sold. 40 million XBox live members with most spending $60/year just for access. Billions and billions spent on XBox games per year. The Kinect interface. The fact that it's a 7 year old product and still the clear market leader (with growing market share).

    iPad is more similiar to a telephone in product life cycle and just like all the cell phones makers of the past, current succcess means little for the future.