See If You Can Spot The Problem With Microsoft's Tablet Strategy

Asus tablet backgroundThis Android tablet, the Asus Eee Pad MeMO, starts at $499.

Photo: Gizmodo

Earlier today, computer maker Asus kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show a day early by announcing four upcoming tablet computers. Three of them run Google’s Android operating system. One runs Windows 7. See if you can guess which one is the outlier:

  • Eee Pad MeMO: starts at $499
  • Eee Pad Slider: starts at $499
  • Eee Pad Transformer: starts at $399
  • Eee Slate: starts at $999

That’s right–the Windows 7 tablet is the one that costs twice as much as the Android tablets.

Of course, it’s got pretty amazing technical specs, including a Core i5-470 UVM processor and 4GB of memory. That’s probably enough power to run Photoshop or your company’s SAP app…because after all, isn’t that what you want a small touch-screen device to do?

Not really.

This is the problem with Microsoft’s current tablet strategy of packing Windows into a small touch screen device.

If you want the real version of Windows 7–not some stripped-down version that offers few benefits over Windows XP–that’s Windows 7 Home Premium. It’s not only more expensive than Android, but also requires better hardware.

And it’s not even designed for tablets. The user interface is designed for a cursor and a mouse, not fingers. There are few touch-enabled applications for it. Android is cheaper, built for touch, and has more than 200,000 available apps.

Microsoft may be waiting for Windows 8 (or whatever it ends up being called) to port Windows to the cheaper, lower-powered ARM processors, but that won’t happen until 2012 at the earliest, giving Android plenty of time to build a huge lead….just like it did in smartphones.

In case you’ve forgotten, Apple’s iPad starts at $499, and the iPad 2 will probably be even cheaper.

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