I was really enthusiastic a few months ago with Windows8. The promise to have a converged OS for PC and Tablet working on both x86 and Arm architecture was really outstanding.
Now, back to earth, the reality is a bit disappointing. There will be two version of Windows launched this fall :
- Windows 8 for x86 architecture
- Windows RT for Arm architecture
Windows 8 will come with two UIs : the classic PC one and the MetroUI. Windows RT (standing for Real Time?) will have just the Metro UI.
Metro UI applications will run on both platforms but classic UI x86 applications will run only on Windows 8.
So we will have under our Christmas trees 2 kind of products :
- Tablets or Netbooks running Windows RT
- PC and “super” tablets running Windows 8
Windows 8 & Windows RT
Let’s hope that Microsoft will communicate efficiently the difference between the 2 versions. Otherwise consumers will be disappointed and reject the whole Windows 2012 release like they did with Vista.
With the acquisition of Motorola, Google needed to change its Nexus device strategy.
At major every software release of Android, Google picked up a vendor and worked with it on a hero device with the full Android experience (No UI on top). These devices were then branded Google Nexus by manufacturer X.
Now that Motorola is a Google company, suspicion is lurking around. Will Motorola get a competitive advantage of 3 to 6 months? It is not a big deal for Chinese makers like Huawei and ZTE but more of a showstopper for Samsung. And after all Samsung is the most successful Android powered manufacturer with its Galaxy portfolio.
Samsung Galaxy SIII
This Nexus portfolio is both a blessing and a curse: manufacturers will be able to launch devices with the latest Android release but at the time they won’t be able to customize the devices or put their own services on board.
With this new strategy Google succeeds in three ways:
- Block customization of hero devices
- Maintain the manufacturer momentum behind Android
- Give time to Motorola to ramp up and try to overtake Samsung
Maybe its time for Samsung to start a new platform on its own beyond Tizien and Bada, and acquire an advanced mobile OS like RIM’s QNX.
I was mentioning in some previous posts that the PC industry was colliding with the mobile industry. For every accident one expects a big boom. It will be the case with the launch of Windows 8 next year.
Windows 8 transforms the way we see tablets and computers. There will be no clear frontier between a PC and a tablet anymore. The tablet will be able to change its finger friendly UI into a mouse friendly UI when docked with a mouse and keyboard.
On this video I shot you can see the Metro UI and a switch to the PC legacy UI.
In the past we used to think a machine = a UI = a processor. This paradigm is no longer valid.
Now an OS will be able to run on different chipset architectures (ARM or x86) and to run different UIs depending on the context.
It is already the case with UBUNTU 11.10 which runs on X86 and ARM.
I really love my Toshiba AC100 running Ubuntu. OK it’s really sluggish due to the lack of RAM (only 500MB) so it’s more or less a mono task computer but never the less it works. For more information on Ubuntu on ARM > Ubuntu Wiki
One can expect next year a revival of the long lasting war between MAC and PC. I expect Apple to merge its MacOS and iOS for Tablet UIs into something new that will combine the 2 product categories. Apple will most probably manage it smoothly to avoid damaging its healthy iPad business as it did in the past managing the transition from iPod to iPhone.
Microsoft which has no presence in the tablet space will be far more aggressive in merging the 2 segments. The unknown factor remains Google. Will Google be able to strengthen its Android value proposition and combine it with Chrome OS?
I was browsing the software department at a computer store and was struck by what I saw : A MS Office license at 200€ ! I just checked on line and the price where just the same. Here is a screenshot of Best Buy UK website:
MS Office on Best Buy UK
In my mind the cost of software, especially the “Office-like” ones were quite common, hence cheaper. I imagined that with all these smartphones, consumers were now expecting software at around 5€ with a maximum of 15€ for essential productivity software. I was wondering where this misperception was coming from so I started to investigate.
Actually when it comes to Macs, Apple is selling its software at a quite reasonable price both on Macs and iPads.
Office software on Mac
Android prices are quite similar
Office software on Android
More office softwares on ANdroid
More surprising, the MS Office suite comes for free on every Windows Phone 7 device
Office on Windows Phone 7
And of course one can use the LibreOffice suite for free on Linux, Mac or Windows7.
So to put it in a nutshell in a table :
Office like software price table
I believe the price of tierA software, like the Office suites, will stabilize around the 50€ mark in the next years. This price drop might accelerate with the launch of Windows 8 and the blurring of the frontier between device categories.
HP announced a few days ago a “company transformation” designed to refocus on “higher-value, higher-margin growth categories”, “Exploring strategic alternatives for Personal Systems Group; shutting down operations for webOS devices and exploring strategic alternatives for webOS software”.
WebOS devices will be discontinued: the Pre, Pixi and other Veer phones as well as the TouchPad tablet.
HP TouchPad ad
Focusing now on Software and Services for Enterprises, WebOS devices and WebOS software are collateral damage of HP’s decision to get rid of its PC business. PC and hardware business in general are low margin / high volumes businesses.
HP seems to follow IBM’s path, but what is really puzzling is that HP is the number one PC manufacturer in the world.
Samsung may be the one interested in acquiring webOS. As Google has acquired Motorola, Samsung needs to review its dependency on Android. Samsung has to strengthen its OS proposition and build an integrated approach to compete with Apple and RIM. Bada OS was a good start but not as good as webOS. WebOs a collateral damage for HP and a good opportunity for Samsung?