Microsoft Hitting 7-inch Tablet Market with Windows Blue

As it stands now, Microsoft's "Windows Blue" looks to be a codename for its new yearly update process. Rather than launch a new OS every two to five years, the company plans to release annual refreshes, seemingly reverting back to the old pre-Windows 95 days of Windows 3.x. Just think of the next Windows release as v8.1.

The latest report surrounding Windows Blue stems from an analyst of consumer technologies for Valley consulting firm Creative Strategies, Ben Bajarin, who believes this yearly refresh will allow Microsoft and its partners to build tablets in the 7- to 9-inch range. Why? Because "Blue" supposedly supports smaller screen sizes.

Look at it this way: Google's Android has finally taken the tablet lead from Apple, mostly thanks to the Nexus 7, Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, and other tablets ranging between 7- and 9-inches. Meanwhile Windows 8 and Windows RT have disappointed in the tablet sector. Even Microsoft's own Surface units have only sold around 1.5 million total since the Windows RT version launched in late October.

That said, Microsoft needs to enter the sub 10-inch tablet market to help Windows 8 gain traction. There's talk that the company plans to license this scaled down version to tablet partners at a price less than it does for Windows 8: $40 to $50 per tablet, $20 cheaper than Windows 8. This could allow for tablets to be priced between $199 and $349.

Microsoft CFO Peter Klein hinted to this move last month during a Q&A session at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference. When asked about Microsoft's plans for the 7- to 9-inch tablet market, he said that Microsoft has done a lot of hard work in the developer platform.

"We are well set up to respond to demand as we see it [with different-sized form factors]", he said. Windows CFO Tami Reller essentially said the same thing, confirming that Windows 8 was designed for the start to run on smaller and bigger screens at different resolutions, enabled by an app-based platform/model.

The "hard work" Klein is referring to is speculated to be Windows Blue. The company is reportedly pushing to further unify its Windows and Windows Phone platforms and APIs. "We are getting closer and closer every day to write once and run anywhere," Klein said.


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  • thecolorblue
    soo-nah-meeIMO Microsoft was just too late to the table. Two years ago I would have loved have had a Windows tablet, but Android has become so good now that I have no intention of switching. The app selection for Windows 8 and RT are atrocious. Hell, at this point I'd ditch Windows 8 on my PC if Google would come out with a real desktop OS.

    do you game?

    you could consider dual booting linux for everything (but games) and windows for games only... it's even FREE so you could set it up today and decide for yourself if is sucks balls or rocks your socks
  • Other Comments
    Developer tools have always been good from MS for MS products. They are absolutely terrible when using open standards, because they pervert them to special MS versions.

    However, reality check... what developer is going to choose to target a 1.5 million install base over 1 with a billion?

    Now go and try and use Javascript and HTML5 on windows mobile to develop apps. Yep... terrible.

    There is absolutely no way MS is going to win here.
    Only a crazy person would develop exclusively for Windows RT, and if you are going to write apps for cross platform deployments, Microsoft is going to make you want to rip your hair out.
  • vmem
    LORD_ORIONHowever, reality check... what developer is going to choose to target a 1.5 million install base over 1 with a billion?

    Reality check for you buddy, it's 1.5 million surface devices sold. if you look at the total licensee sales of win8, it's more like 60 million at the moment.

    I agree that a lot of those are OEM liscences, and many for desktops. however, the new direction Microsoft is taking is at least innovative, and has potential if done right. and doing yearly or every two year OS updates is a step in the right direction (and support for more mobile platforms)
  • diddo
    "Hard work"? Gimme a serious desktop UI and let root in heck the 3+years of development of ZunifiedUI that is killing Microsoft!
    @vmem: reality check is 0.4% of the market share/month going to W8, less than what is needed to retain current customers... negationism is useless against hard sales data: W8 is killing MS. Not OEM sales, that are dooming the entire market, see Dell dying an horrible death for all the unsold machines, see Netapplications market share, the same that had Vista progressing +1%month and Seven 2%month after their launch. W8 is twice worse than Vista for MS shareholders!