This week Microsoft announce 2 different tablets based on Windows 8. One runs on an Nvidia Tegra ARM processor while the more powerful one runs Intel i5.
Take a look at the full Keynote below:
The thing that impressed me about this announcement was the tight hardware emphasis. As a geek and as an investor, I am interested in seeing whether user experience, systems and software integration becomes a competitive edge for these tech companies.
This will enable us to forecast the future of the component manufacturers as well as Microsoft.
Here are some of my opinion:
- I don’t really have a good opinion of the Metro UI replacing the Start button. For me this could make or break Microsoft and may make people switch to OS X or Ubuntu for the desktop. On the tablet context, it is ok
- Microsoft have been changing tact. We are seeing them open-sourcing unstrategic pieces of code, working not just with Intel but with Arm. I see them as doing what Google did by working with more partners. The difference is that they are still very proprietary compare to Google. Their life blood is more tied to their software’s success than Google
- The most impressive thing about the announcement is the announcement of Surface Touch Cover. It is not a new concept but I have never thought to integrate a keyboard into a cover. Kudos to Microsoft.
- I am a big user experience person and if you want to work on your word document, excel document any time you want, you need a portable keyboard but you do not want to lunge around another keyboard. Touch screen typing will not be as efficient as typing on a full fledge keyboard. The only question is the feedback. I hope its great.
- I question how they are going to provide efficient cooling for the i5 processor. The i5 is a powerful thing, and unless Intel have created a truly energy efficient chip, I expect this to be the main flaw of this tablet.
- Office, Server, Exchange, Project is not going to go away but will face stiff price competition. This may have been their moat but it is only a matter of time before they weaken. A lot will depend on whether Google sees their Google Apps as a competitive edge to reduce the switching costs for business user
- Whatever it is, the smart bet seems to be Intel. They have been in this business for a long time and much of their consumer fate is tied to the success of this tablet. We still see them have a good moat in their server class processors. The future will remain digital and you always need good performance and efficent processors to run your database, web servers and SAAS
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