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Windows 8 To Smash ‘Droid?

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There has been much hype about Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 platform, set to be the hot new OS, powering everything from smartphones to tablets and PCs.

Google Android OS has proved the main bulwark against Apple’s iPad until now, on the tabs and smartphone front.

And today as Microsoft announced it would be finally unleash W8 in October, is Android OS for tabs – favoured by Samsung, Asus, and Toshiba to name but a few – now a write off?

Not quite, says Amy Cheah, IDC analyst, who insists it is important to view Windows 8 and Android tablets as separate devices.

However, “there certainly will be impact on Android tablets with users seeking for a productivity tool shifting to Windows tablets,” Cheah told SmartHouse.

A “Windows 8 tablet is a content creation device while an Android tablet is a secondary device for content consumption,” she says, referring to Windows dominance in the work space.  

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Pictured: Microsoft Surface

But the introduction of Windows 8 tabs will more likely expand the overall tab market than drastically cut into Android share, IDC analysts believe, meaning Samsung’s ‘Hybrid’, Asus ‘Taichi’ Tabs along with several Windows OS devices unveiled at Computex recently, could certainly give Apple’s iPad and Android something to worry about.

But what will be interesting is that Windows 8 tab also functions as a PC – meaning Microsoft risk jeopardising part of their existing desktop and notebook market as they attempt to tap into the tablet space, Cheah believes.

Microsoft even launched its own Surface branded tab to show it is serious about hardware on the fledgling 8 platform and overnight said Aussie customers on Windows XP, Vista and 7 can upgrade to  W8 for just $14.95 via download.

And could vendors like Toshiba, Samsung and Asus ditch Android soon?

“On the supply side, it may not be an either-or option [for vendors]. The choice of Windows 8 or Android will depend on the specific vendor’s business strategy and target market.

“One thing is for sure, hardware vendors now do not need to be dependent on just one platform for tablet devices,” says Cheah.

“The ball is in Microsoft and Google’s hand to convince app developers and hardware vendors that their platform is worth the investment.”

And this assertion has been repeated by major vendors set to roll out new Windows based tabs, notebooks and Ultrabooks, with at least two telling ChannelNews they’re looking to drop Android based tablets “if Windows tablets take off.”

Samsung, Android’s single biggest tablet vendor saw its flagship Tab 10.1 banned in the US recently following a legal stoush with Apple. Industry whispers now indicate the Korean giant may drop Android Os for its future Galaxy Tab models.

Globally, Apple’s iPad accounts for around 63% of the tablet market, but analysts have cited Windows tablets as a game changer which could well disrupt Apple’s lead in the tab market, on the professional side at least, and reckon the smartphone industry will also be a different ball game by 2015.