Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
1/18/2014
09:06 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Can Windows Tablets Break Out In 2014?

One lesson to date: While Apple can still command top dollar, Windows tablets only become widely desirable when they drop to Android-level pricing.

The same seems to be true among consumers. In addition to concluding that the Surface was Best Buy's top Black Friday seller, InfoScout found that Apple's $299 iPad Mini was the top seller at Walmart. Target's top three sellers were also iPad models, and all three sold for substantially more than Best Buy's $199 Surface fire sale.

The InfoScout survey is based on data captured from 125,000 North American users, which makes it a limited sample, but if it suggests anything, it's this: Whereas Apple can still command top dollar, Windows tablets only become widely desirable when they drop to Android-level pricing.

"We've seen that limited price promotions will often cause an uptick in sales for our other products," Eskridge said of the discounts, noting that although a Surface might lure a customer into the store, that customer might leave with the more expensive Surface Pro 2.

Between Windows 8.1 and new form factors, Microsoft and its partners did a lot of retooling to make Windows tablets more attractive. So far, the progress has been modest.
Between Windows 8.1 and new form factors, Microsoft and its partners did a lot of retooling to make Windows tablets more attractive. So far, the progress has been modest.

Does that mean Microsoft and its partners will convert some of the most aggressive discounts into permanent prices? Doing so could potentially boost shipment volume at the expense of margins, and perhaps, as Eskridge implied, increase the number of would-be customers who can be up-sold to costlier models.

"It was important for us to have an intriguing offer around such a busy shopping weekend," said Eskridge, not quite answering the question. "We knew we could generate some interest with the promotion."

Unfortunately for Microsoft, the interest doesn't seem to have extended far. On Dec. 30, InfoScout released new numbers that tracked U.S. retail spending between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. The 16-GB iPad Mini was the most-bought item during this span and other iPad models occupied the fifth, eleventh, and twelfth slots on InfoScout's list.

Microsoft scored a victory with the Xbox One, which ranked second. But only two Windows 8.1 devices placed among the top 15: HP's Pavilion TouchSmart 14 laptop, at number four, and Microsoft's 32-GB Surface, at 15. Based on these numbers, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 supply shortages might have had more to do with constrained inventory than overwhelming demand.

Microsoft VP Panos Panay displays new Surface keyboard accessories at the debut of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 in New York.
Microsoft VP Panos Panay displays new Surface keyboard accessories at the debut of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 in New York.

The Chitika data paints a similar story. Yes, Surface tablets gained share while iPads lost some. But the survey still concluded that Apple's devices account for more than three-quarters of all tablet use. In this context, is the Surface's 2.3% share really a victory? It's like a basketball player who makes a flashy shot when his team is already down by thirty points -- notable, but ultimately not very important.

Previous
2 of 3
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 4   >   >>
concrete
100%
0%
concrete,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 5:44:23 AM
Re: Business sales?
The latest generation of Windows ads for tablets make a big deal out of being able to use MS Office fully. This should have been the main thing they pushed on launch and there should have been a finger friendly version of office ready at launch
anon0466204498
50%
50%
anon0466204498,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/22/2014 | 3:12:20 PM
Re: Microsoft needs to push an alternative vision of portable computing
>Why on earth would you buy a tablet expecting a desktop experience?  Do you travel by air expecting >a train experience?  (although that may be what you get these days with air travel) This is the >mistake Microsoft is making with their tablets, the same experience reguardless of the "windows" >device with a UI that's best for none (touch or point and click)

 

Exactly, the experience should not be the same, that is one of my points; when you plug in a big screen, mouse and keyboard, you should get a desktop experience, not the touch expeirence; trying to combine the two experiences into one UI is the mistake MS made with Windows 8.x;

When in touch mode, you get a touch-optimized UI, when in desktop mode, you get a desktop-optimized UI.

BUT it would be quite handy to not have to carry around multiple devices. Once device to rule them all?

Incidently, take a look at this, maybe not quite there yet, but you can see a glimmer of what the future might look like, people really love this device:

http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Venue-Pro-Tablet-Windows/dp/B00FFVYV4K

 

 
SaneIT
50%
50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
1/22/2014 | 8:38:27 AM
Re: Business sales?
I think the confusion is one of the reasons the Surface Pro isn't selling well. I know a handful of people who have them and they love them.  I just purchased one and I'm waiting for it to be delivered.  The difference between RT and Pro haven't been presented well and when I try to describe the difference to people the first comment I get is "so the RT version is a stripped down version"  I know that wasn't Microsoft's intention but RT versions are being seen as Windows lite or as limited use devices.  I think in their push to get a homogeneous feel across every device they fired some shots at their own feet.  Time will tell if any of those shots hit home.
rradina
50%
50%
rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2014 | 6:53:48 PM
Re: Poor horse for Microsoft
Check the SP2 battery specs.  The reviews I read claimed 6 hours w/constant video playback.  Typical use cases exceed 8 hours.  It's better to express dimensions in common terms.  There are 25.4mm/inch.  Based on your inch figure, the SP2 roughly half that at ~13mm.
rradina
50%
50%
rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2014 | 6:30:02 PM
Re: Business sales?
I think it was the Surface "1" RT for $199 (i.e. the debut model running on ARM).
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/21/2014 | 4:29:53 PM
Re: Microsoft needs to push an alternative vision of portable computing
> I do NOT think the desktop is dead in any way

The desktop isn't dead, but it's not likely to be a growing market.
DDURBIN1
50%
50%
DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2014 | 2:03:05 PM
Re: Microsoft needs to push an alternative vision of portable computing
Why on earth would you buy a tablet expecting a desktop experience?  Do you travel by air expecting a train experience?  (although that may be what you get these days with air travel) This is the mistake Microsoft is making with their tablets, the same experience reguardless of the "windows" device with a UI that's best for none (touch or point and click)
DDURBIN1
0%
100%
DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2014 | 1:17:31 PM
Poor horse for Microsoft
iPad Air 128GB is 799.  A Surface Pro 2 128GB is $999.  The iPad is one pound and 7.5 millimeters thick with a 10 hour battery life.  The Surface Pro 2 is 0.52 inches thick, is two pounds with a 6 hour battery life.  iOS 7 is as intuitive as it can get.  Windows 8.1 is as un-intuitive as it gets.  Poor and out dated technical features built on an UI nobody likes at a price few want to pay. These are Microsoft's biggest problems. 
Brian.Dean
50%
50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2014 | 1:07:14 PM
Re: Business sales?
The windows aspect of a tablet is a bit more confusion because not only has Windows RT done badly but Windows 8 has also not performed well on the desktop. If windows 8 was as good as win 7 then it would have been a bit easier to gauge the value of a windows tablet based on its OS.
Brian.Dean
50%
50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2014 | 12:53:52 PM
Re: Business sales?
Yes you are right. I was searching online and the average prices for the surface pro 2 that I found was $850. I do recall that before the holidays an article was up here about a $199 surface, I guess it was also the surface 2 and not the surface pro 2. 

Yes Microsoft should not be keeping such similar names considering that anyone who is writing off tablets as not being productive might assume that the pro 2 is also the same. The surface 2 does fit the criteria of a consumption device. Firstly, like you said about the weak processor and secondly, it does not support legacy application.

 
<<   <   Page 2 / 4   >   >>
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.