Microsoft’s Real Tablet Competition: Google Android
During Microsoft’s recent Worldwide Partner Conference, COO Kevin Turner assured channel partners that tablet PCs running Windows 7 would soon counter Apple’s iPad. But perhaps Turner and Microsoft should be more worried about another rapidly emerging tablet rival: Google Android. Here’s why.
The situation is pretty simple to explain: As Microsoft scrambles to position Windows Phone 7 against Apple’s iPhone, and Windows 7 for tablets against the iPad, Google keeps lining up more and more hardware partners to build tablets running Google Android.
Instead of trying to win back business from iPad and loyal Apple followers, The VAR Guy thinks Microsoft should head off Google before Android becomes entrenched in the tablet market as well.
A few recent examples:
- ASUS has officially announced that they’re dropping support for their Windows 7 / CE / Mobile version of a tablet, and going full steam head with Android.
- Lenovo continues to support Windows 7 across a range of devices, but now the hardware giant is planning an Android-based tablet called LePad.
- Velocity Micro, which makes a plethora of consumer electronic devices, has unveiled the Cruz Reader, a 7-inch Android tablet device.
Meanwhile, Wikipedia has a pretty robust list of up and coming Android tablets coming from established and emerging manufacturers alike. Almost all of them are set for 2010 launch, some within weeks, but a majority in the Q4 time frame.
The Android tablets should offer plenty of variety. Manufacturers, in effort to stand out, are going big or bold and beefy (webcam, USB ports, Intel Atom CPU, or nVidia Tegra 2 system on a chip, dedicated graphics chip and nearly 12-15 inch screen). Other Android devices are designed to be sleek mobile internet with solid battery life and a decent enough screens to watch videos.
Can Microsoft battle back with Windows 7 tablets? No doubt, Microsoft and its hardware partners have years of experience designing tablets for niche vertical markets — such as health care. But the consumer market could prove more challenging, especially as iPad sales continue strong and Android devices begin to reach market.
Reporting by David Courbanou; opinions injected from The VAR Guy. Follow The VAR Guy via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; Twitter; and via his Newsletter; Webcasts and Resource Center. Plus, visit www.VARtweet.com.