Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz.
Microsoft is launching their first batch of tablet computers. I have been hearing those words for about six months now but haven’t actually seen one yet. Back when I gave a squat about what Microsoft was babbling about, they were constantly talking about a Courier tablet. Looked cool. Never materialized. I seem to remember that being several years before the iPad arrived. Another case of “what if” for Microsoft.
The Courier seemed breathtakingly innovative compared with “keyboard covers in fancy colors” that look good, and are obviously meant to make them stand out from the iPads they are (desperately?) trying to compete with, but since the Apple iPad already has an outstanding Bluetooth keyboard available (full disclosure – I love my Apple Bluetooth keyboard) that feature isn’t as Earth-shattering as it might otherwise appear to those with no knowledge of the Apple iPad accessory market.
The last time Microsoft entered a market segment this late in the game was with the Zune, when they absolutely couldn’t ignore the iPod any longer. Microsoft was one of the last, and easily the largest of the iPod killers, to end in the graveyard of hopelessly lame electronics. The Zune is now referred to as the Edsel of electronic devices but just like the Edsel there are some who still sing the technical virtues of the device.
Routes Tablets to the Celestial Kingdom. success.
In the spirit of mixing politics with, uh….everything, and a keen eye on educating the US public on the bizarre religious beliefs of one of their leading candidates, I shall refer to the two Microsoft tablet models as Urim and Thummim, with Urim being the stand-in for the cheaper unit and Thummim taking the starring role as full blown tablet.
That the “cheaper” tablet is doomed to fail couldn’t be more obvious to me if it were written on Golden Tablets and decoded by Joseph Smith himself. It won’t be long before chants of “The Urim is Vermin” begin to appear. My guess is that will happen about the time the hapless consumer clicks into the “apps” section of the Microsoft store. Since Urim doesn’t support full scale Microsoft products, the Urim clients will be tethered to the Microsoft store just like the Apple iPad crowd. I venture to guess that the Microsoft store will resemble the bread lines in former Soviet Russia as people stand around waiting (hoping, praying) that their favorite app will get ported to Microsoft. This is the tablet that will really show how much Microsoft was “forced” into producing this on their own when everybody else knew better. Prediction: DOA
Microsoft’s upscale version$$$ of their newfangled tablet (Thummin) is purported to run full-blown Windows. See all those extra dollar signs? Prediction: Narrow adoption by those with very specialized needs, and that is fully dependent on the unit actually performing in a manner consistent with the high expectations Microsoft is prepping everybody for.
Clear winner in all this? Ipad Mini.