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Microsoft Hitting 7-inch Tablet Market with Windows Blue

By - Source: BusinessInsider | B 38 comments

Windows 8 has always supported small screen sizes, but Microsoft may be focused on the app experience given the smaller virtual real estate.

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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  • 10 Hide
    thecolorblue , March 19, 2013 8:09 AM
    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
  • -3 Hide
    LORD_ORION , March 19, 2013 7:18 AM
    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.
  • 2 Hide
    vmem , March 19, 2013 7:32 AM
    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)
  • 7 Hide
    diddo , March 19, 2013 7:48 AM
    "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!
  • 9 Hide
    memadmax , March 19, 2013 7:51 AM
    Is it me, or is MS becoming more dumbas every day?
  • -1 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , March 19, 2013 7:55 AM
    IMO 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.
  • 10 Hide
    thecolorblue , March 19, 2013 8:09 AM
    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
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , March 19, 2013 8:10 AM
    Will Windows Blu solve some of Win8's problems? Particularly for laptops and desktops?
  • 1 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , March 19, 2013 8:17 AM
    thecolorbluedo 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
    I game occasionally, but Plex Media Server is my desktop's main reason for existence. I see they offer a Linux edition of said server, so maybe I'll finally give in and give Linux a shot. I've been hearing people rave about it for years.
    So is Ubuntu the way to go?
  • -1 Hide
    diddo , March 19, 2013 8:46 AM
    A Bad DayWill Windows Blu solve some of Win8's problems? Particularly for laptops and desktops?

    Unless they stop saying they are a "device and services company", no.
    Pro users, the pillars of their market, wants to buy software, not a service: if you are not the customer, you are the product.
    OEM does not want to produce machines (fungible goods) competing with the developer of the OS used on the 90% of the machines (so dominant that cannot be considered a fungible good), and are fleeing away to produce other types of machines (or components for Apple, Google, and Amazon).
    Developers does not want to write WinRT software for 2,5% of the market (with various highly advertised sales months showing a very slow adoption rate) that have to compete with Win32 software competitors running on the 90% of the market, AND with iOS and Android competitors with a wider market share - AND now with Bluestack Android software have a wider Windows audience than Store, not being limited to W8 machines!
    With adoption rate being half than Vista, W8 seriously risks to peak UNDER OR AROUND 10% of the market at the top of its lifecycle!
    And with an adoption rate LOWER than the replacement rate of old PCs, MS is shrinking its own market share everyday - not even China is longer buying WinPCs, today's new.
  • 5 Hide
    Espen Lund , March 19, 2013 8:52 AM
    Ubuntu is fine aslong as your drivers work out. It's not trying to revolutionize, and the start menu is slighty slow to load. I have tried 12.04, 12.10 and 13.04, and to me it feels like a barebone windows xp installation. The driver detection is superb, but both Nvidia and AMD drivers are not on par with the windows ones. So the performance in games, is not optimal.

    Personally i'll recommend you to stay to Windows as of now, it has a lot going for it. Until more developers are supporting Linux as a platform, or Steambox becomes a sucess. I don't see Ubuntu becoming popular until that happens. It just doesn't seem to be a product people are gathering interest for.
  • 1 Hide
    John Nemesh , March 19, 2013 8:52 AM
    Is that "Windows Blue (screen)" or "Windows Blew"?
  • 1 Hide
    twelve25 , March 19, 2013 9:28 AM
    John NemeshIs that "Windows Blue (screen)" or "Windows Blew"?


    It's "The Windows Blues"

    That's what most people get when the realize they have to install third party "hacks" to get a usable desktop OS.
  • 1 Hide
    ironenr , March 19, 2013 9:32 AM
    @John

    You mean "Blue Screen of Death"?
  • 3 Hide
    koss64 , March 19, 2013 9:41 AM
    Having a cheap windows 8 tablet would be great in my book. Honestly I like what MS is promoting with the run everywhere tagline,thats what RT was all about being able to run a program regardless if its on a tablet or desktop which to me is cool.
  • 1 Hide
    twelve25 , March 19, 2013 9:51 AM
    Quote:
    Having a cheap windows 8 tablet would be great in my book. Honestly I like what MS is promoting with the run everywhere tagline,thats what RT was all about being able to run a program regardless if its on a tablet or desktop which to me is cool.


    You've just illustrated the problem perfectly. You can't run desktop apps on Windows RT because the processor uses incompatible instruction set. Having a ubiquitous OS implies that you can, but the actual hardware says you can't. So all this leaves is confused customers who get a terrible desktop OS, and tablets with the appearance of a desktop OS, but are incapable of running desktop apps.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 19, 2013 9:59 AM
    id consider a 7" surface if it was £200, with an optional keyboard dock as well
  • 3 Hide
    hannibal , March 19, 2013 10:00 AM
    Yes the Widows ecosystem needs allso those cheap tablets to become more popular. I am sure that next christmas may be good time for affordable win8.1 tablets. Now at this moment they are too expensive for most customers!
  • 1 Hide
    janetonly42 , March 19, 2013 10:09 AM
    thecolorbluedo 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

    Thats what I do but a Macbook Pro too. STEAM is running on OS X and Ubuntu now. The days of keeping MS at all just for games is coming to an end.
  • 3 Hide
    killerclick , March 19, 2013 10:57 AM
    ``Microsoft Hitting 7-Inch Tablet Market`` should be ``Microsoft stumbling into 7-Inch Tablet Market with Overpriced Half-baked Products``
  • 0 Hide
    Ahmad Freeman , March 19, 2013 11:00 AM
    so will it be x86 or what
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