How mixed reviews for Windows, Surface is big positive for Microsoft—#2

Windows 8 and RT together address two diverse sets of chip architectures—ARM and Intel. This again, is something not even Apple or Google have been able to roll out, especially on larger form factor devices like the tablets and the notebooks. With the Surface, when Microsoft announced the device and Windows for both the ARM and Intel platforms around mid-June, one would have expected that the first Surface to be out would be Intel-based. Instead, Microsoft may be seen as having taken the risk of bringing out the first Surface on an ARM-Windows platform. Skeptics could, however, argue that the move actually offers a safeguard against any potential criticisms on grounds that it’s Microsoft’s debut tryst with the ARM architecture.
Either way, it is logical to assume that with the time tested Wintel platform, Surface would be sporting more features and supporting a wider range of applications.
Surface apart, PC OEMs have already started to come out with Windows 8-based devices, including notebooks and tablets. Dell’s XPS 12 Ultrabook has been one of the most impressive Windows 8-based tablets shipped by OEMs, but is also a tad costly, with a starting price of around Rs 90,000, excluding taxes, in India. It is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor though and comes packed with 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM. Higher configuration options of up to Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM are also available and the price could go up to around Rs 110,000, plus taxes.
ARM-based Windows notebooks are however yet to be seen from OEMs and that is quite an opportunity that lies to be addressed. I tend to see the likes of Nokia and Samsung as being logically the potential OEMs in this context, albeit for different reasons. Nokia’s special partnership status equips it to do an accelerated development and innovate like none other, and more importantly, such a device could catapult Nokia to a center-of-focus position that could be advantageous to its smartphone business too. Samsung has already been present in the tablet segment on Android, has smartphones on the Windows platform, and has also unveiled a slew of Windows 8-based notebooks and tablets. Bringing out an ARM-based converged device on the lines of Surface could be most readily achievable for Samsung.
By supporting both the ARM and Intel platforms, Microsoft has indeed potentially expanded the addressable device and OEM universe multifold. It remains to be seen though how much of that potential is realized in actual terms, not just in terms of device rollouts but also in terms of user adoption. 

(Read tomorrow: How the mixed reviews are a big positive for Microsoft: #3.)

© 2018, the insights service provider focused on IT and telecom, offering rich analysis done by subject matter specialists.
To make a service inquiry, click