When I first started down the path of computing (back in high school) things were very primitive (it was not all punch cards but there were not even any disk drives). You loaded your operating system by putting in the floppy disk you wanted to boot from. I had several operating systems and applications that I ran based on whatever my whim was. When I felt like trying to program I had down and dirty DOS to run with a basic programing language shell. It was not until I was well out of school that some of the first truly graphical games started to hit the market even these were not much more than ASCI encoded graphics. When VESA came along things started to ramp up quickly the thought of real color graphics became popular and we saw more and more of them hit the market. Now there was something else behind this drive almost all of these early games required MS DOS. Yup you needed Microsoft Disk Operating System (which they hashed together from multiple purchases) for almost all of them.
Why is this important to the tablet market? Well think about it; right now you have several systems in place. There is iOS, Android, WebOS, and a couple of other Linux based operating systems that can run on the low powered ARM architecture. Each of these (with Apple’s iOS and Google Android) have a developer following and good support, but neither of them is a real desktop OS and cannot be called a productivity or professional OS just yet. True Apple is working to make the differences between OSX and iOS invisible, but which direction are they going? Are they trying to make the desktop more like the iPad or vice-versa?
Enter Intel and Microsoft, the much hated conglomerate of Wintel. Back in the early days of the PC this partnership helped to make the PC what it is today. Sure IBM may have borrowed the term and then made is a common phrase, but it let’s be honest it was not until Microsoft and Intel started their campaign that the PC became a household item.
The pair has the ability to do the same thing with the tablet, but instead of making it a household item (as it pretty much is already) they are looking to replace the current king (Apple) with their own product in much the same way they did with Windows many times in the past (anyone remember Novel? Or OS2?). To do this both Microsoft and Intel are working with manufacturers to prepare no less than 32 tablets that support Windows 8 on x86/64 or Windows RT (as Windows on ARM will be called). This is a startling number of products that will hit the market very soon. To make this even more possible you have companies that currently work with Google’s Android that see Windows 8 as a way to get out from under legal pressure from Apple. Yes Apple’s campaign against companies like Motorola, Samsung , and others are considering Windows to avoid Apple’s legal team.
If these things were not bad enough, most of the manufacturers looking to make a Windows based tablet are also thinking of pricing them around $300 while keeping the same 10-inch form factor. If Apple and Google were not concerned before, you can bet they are now.
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