Everyone's waiting to see how the upcoming Windows 8 tablets will compete with other tablets like Apple's iPad and Google's Nexus 7. Specs and prices of at least one manufacturer's plans for Windows 8-based tablets have leaked, and the prognosis is not good.
Asus is planning to release three Windows 8 tablets later this year, but for a hefty price. The three models range from $599 to $1299, according to a holiday roadmap published by ZDNet. For such a new tablet model without much clout in the mobile industry, Asus is going to have a hard time competing against Apple, Amazon and Google at those prices.
The specs on the devices look pretty good. The smallest tablet, the Vivo Tab RT, will have a 10.1 inch screen and a Tegra 3 Quadcore CPU. The other two have 11.6 inch screens an Intel Atom z2760 processors. The more expensive option, the Asus Taichi, will be a hybrid laptop - which means the screen will be able to detach from the keyboard and work on its own.
The problem with these new tablets is obviously the price. Asus is acting like it's Apple. Apple could charge $1000 for the next iPad and it would still be a hit. That's because Apple has clout and reputation in the tablet space.
Asus doesn't have the same luxury. The company has a big name in laptops, but little else. And by making a big plunge into the tablet market, there are significant problems the manufacturer is facing.
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Asus is using Windows 8 as the operating system for its tablets. Microsoft has never done very well in the mobile OS space. Windows Phones, while highly rated, haven't taken off the way the company wanted. Windows is obviously huge on desktop and laptop computers, but it hasn't been able to permeate other devices as easily.
In order for Asus and Microsoft to make a big splash in the tablet market, they have to price these devices more competitively. Six hundred dollars for the low-end product is simply too much for potential customers to risk, let alone $1300 for the high-end model.
Google and Amazon are each doing well with their tablets because their prices are low enough that customers might buy the device to try. They're only losing $200 if they don't like it or the product line ends in a year or so. Spending three times that isn't something most customers are going to do.
If Windows 8-based tablets have any chance of success, they have to be cheaper. Hopefully Microsoft's upcoming Surface tablet will hit the market at a competitive price, even if Microsoft has to take an initial loss.