Microsoft may still have time to make its mark in the tablet market, some analysts are saying. Although Apple still has the lion’s share of the business at the moment, it’s still so new that there’s plenty of room for growth.
Citigroup research analysts said in a recent note that it expected the next version of Windows to ship between January of next year and March 2013. It noted that Microsoft could ship the tablet version first, enabling it to garner significant share in 2013 and beyond.
The biggest problem obviously is the operating system itself. So far, iOS is really the only platform that has been optimized for tablet use. Android is only just now able to provide a decent experience through the release of Honeycomb, so Microsoft wouldn’t be too far behind.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the battle in 2012 in tablets isn’t between Android and iOS, but rather Microsoft’s tablet OS and Android: the Redmond company may be smart to take on the “low hanging fruit” first before moving onto bigger battles.
Certainly, Microsoft is showing some promise in what has already leaked out on Windows 8: features seem built from the get-go to keep in mind the special usage considerations of the tablet interface. That’s a good sign.
Indeed, Citigroup marks the interface as the most important factor in its forecast — oh yeah, and price too. That’s something that some Android manufacturers haven’t seemed to get the memo yet on.