A New Tablet Contender: Windows 8

At the World Mobile Congress, Samsung unveiled a new tablet which runs on Windows 8. It’s poised to become an actual contender against Apple’s iPad, which currently dominates with 57 percent of tablet market. Windows 8 brings an impressive array of tools to the fight including: better functionality, Skydrive capabilities, and backwards compatibility. Microsoft has an up hill battle, but it may be able to gain an edge in the business arena.

Functionality will be key for Microsoft if they wish to break Apple’s hold on the tablet market. While the iPad totes brand recognition and a large library of apps, it does have the connotation of being a toy rather than a tool. It’s a similar dichotomy that the iPhone has with the Blackberry. Microsoft can get down and be all about business. The Windows 8 user interface will use the Metro system which was introduced when the Windows Phone made its debut in 2010. This system displays tiles that depict information like temperature and stock prices. They are constantly updated to keep the user informed on changing situations. It would be interesting to see if apps are created for business it support and other customer service industries to keep track of open and incoming tickets. This is just one of a whole host things that Windows 8 can do to appeal to the business sectors. They’ll have to work that angle to compete. If the Apple commercials with Justin Long teach us anything, it’s that Microsoft never be as cool.

Staying on top of being productive, the Windows 8 client will also have Skydrive. Skydrive is a cloud service with over 10 petabytes of storage space. This service will permeate the PC version as well as the mobile. Thus, data gathered in field can seamlessly be accessed at the office without any lag time. Microsoft is also pushing for all its apps to use Skydrive. It’s clear that this move is to match iCloud’s quest to make all electronic devices become one.

The final piece of the puzzle is backwards compatibility. Tablets running Windows 8 will be able to run Microsoft Office programs in their fullest form. This could be deal maker for small to medium businesses. For example, an accountant at the main office can go to an off site vendor and run Excel to keep the books with all its features. Windows 8 also supports mouse and keyboard use, unlike the iPad, so anywhere can become a convenient office.

Android may have fallen flat on its back. It has only sold about 12 million units compared to 48 million units of iPad sold last year alone. The door is wide open for a new contender and Microsoft seems ready. The days of bygone eras have returned. Windows 8 appears to be a business oriented construct to duke it out with iPad’s suave demeanor.