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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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  • LORD_ORION
    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.
    Reply
  • 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)
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • memadmax
    Is it me, or is MS becoming more dumbas every day?
    Reply
  • soo-nah-mee
    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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    Will Windows Blu solve some of Win8's problems? Particularly for laptops and desktops?
    Reply
  • soo-nah-mee
    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 socksI 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?
    Reply
  • diddo
    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.
    Reply
  • Espen Lund
    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.
    Reply