Some PC vendors are getting a hang of what it takes to make a competitive tablets. The most successful among them is Asustek.
Asus just reported their first quarter earnings and they have sold 3 million tablets during the last three months. With no Chinese New Year Gift Giving Season, or the new version of Nexus 7 to boost sales, their shipments for Q2 will come in a little lower – at 2.8 million (+-200k) tablets in April-June.
But after that, things should start picking up again for the Taiwanese PC maker. According to multiple rumors Google has drafted them to create the second generation of Nexus 7 tablet, which should ship this summer. Furthermore – Asus CEO sounded very optimistic about the future of its Windows 8 based slates. According to Jerry Shen, the prices for Windows 8 tablets will drop below $300 this year and should become very competitive to Android. Especially when Microsoft optimizes their new OS to work well on devices with 7” screens.
Another major Taiwanese PC vendor -Acer- is not so optimistic about Windows tablets, especially those running Windows RT. Acer still has to make any significant inroads into a tablet space, even with its Android devices. And they are very unhappy that Microsoft dabbling there with their own Surface hardware. After seeing how Surface did since launch, they have shelved all plans to make a tablet based on current version of WinRT, and are waiting for an updated version due out later this year.
But Acer isn’t completely ignoring Windows tablet market and may soon launch the first 8” tablet running on full Windows 8. This tablet, called Acer Iconia W3, accidentally showed up and was promptly removed from Amazon. Iconia W3 should come with 8.1” 1280x800px display, Intel Atom CPU, 2GB of SDRAM, 32GB of built-in memory, 8 hours of battery life and will cost $379.
A bit expensive, but not too bad for a full blown Windows PC.
With smaller and cheaper WinRT devices, more powerful and only a bit pricier Windows 8 tablets, things might start clicking for Microsoft by the end of the year. Add to that the improving fortunes of Nokia Lumia Windows Phones, and you can finally see overall Microsoft strategy slowly coming together.
The only problem – slowly may not be good enough for Microsoft. With exploding Android and iOS dominance of post PC world, Microsoft is in the race against time. And by the day all separate strands of Windows strategy coalesce, Redmond company may find itself too irrelevant in mobile computing game.
One way or another – this race should be extremely exciting to watch during the next 6 to 12 months.