You remember Windows tablets, right? Way back in the day Microsoft’s head honcho, the less-than-honorable-but-I-can-buy-myself-into-heaven-by-giving-money-away, Bill Gates thought tablets were the future.
He was right. And wrong. Tablets running Microsoft Windows never gained much traction in the marketplace, and were overshadowed by the definitive 21st century standard in Apple’s iPad. Microsoft isn’t one to give up. If you can’t beat ’em, change the rules.
Tablet? Or, Notebook?
Apple owns the tablet segment of the personal computer market. Maybe not total marketshare, itself not a good indicator of success, but both mindshare and profitshare.
Microsoft couldn’t bring a totally unique Windows tablet experience to market, so it compromised with the Surface Pro tablet-cum-notebook hybrid. Here’s the problem.
Surface has a touchscreen and it can be carried like a tablet, but it runs Windows, and a keyboard is an extra cost item.
That means the Surface Pro is a decent, albeit expensive, notebook, but a crummy tablet experience. The iPad is easier to use and has more available tablet-centric applications.
Newer Microsoft Surface models, and Windows tablets by other manufacturers, are called tablets because they’re small, much like an iPad. They’re also dirt cheap, unlike an iPad. And, Microsoft bills the new Surface models as a tablet that can replace your notebook.
That’s because it is a notebook. It’s not a tablet.
Good grief. Some of these models come with a stylus, a kickstand so they sit upright like a notebook screen, and a docking station– like a notebook. The Microsoft models are priced competitively with Apple’s iPad until you add a keyboard, then they’re priced more like a notebook.
Do these Windows tablets run tablet applications like an iPad or Samsung Tab tablet? Nope. They run Windows and Windows apps with a few touchscreen controls thrown in so they can be called tablets.
Microsoft was caught flatfooted during the mobile revolution begat by Apple’s iPhone and iPad tandem. Since it couldn’t compete head-to-head, Microsoft decided to change the nature of the game by changing the name of a notebook with Windows to a tablet with Windows.
Here’s how to tell the difference. An iPad works very well as a tablet without a keyboard. A Windows notebook with a touchscreen and without a keyboard doesn’t work so well. Try it for yourself to see the next time you drop by a Microsoft store in the shopping mall. There won’t be a line so you’ll have no trouble trying it out.