Windows 8 tablets. Are they going to fail?

Much has been mentioned about Windows 8 and how it is going to be Microsoft’s saving grace. The main appeal to Windows 8 is how it is touchscreen friendly and how it has a great Metro style ui. Lots of people have been downloading the developers preview versions so they can try it out.

The talk of how great it will be on tablets is often heard. Microsoft not content with the happy noises people are making are looking like they are going to screw it up.


Three facts are behind my concerns. Firstly Windows 8 will have support for ARM processors, which are low power and ideal for use in phones and tablets.

Secondly Windows 8 also supports something called “Secure boot” which locks down the bootloader on the device to only allow signed operating systems to run. This is a security feature to stop viruses from altering the boot settings. So it is flaunted as a good thing.

Thirdly Intel and Microsoft are refusing to discount their products.

Have you ever dual booted your laptop or pc? You download Ubuntu¬†or something along those lines and run it alongside Windows. I do this on most of my laptops, I don’t know why, just because I can. Well when people initially heard about Windows 8 tablets they got all excited imagining dual booting these tablets with Android, Ubuntu or some other distribution. Someone from Redhat spotted that all Windows 8 machines would have secure boot turned on and that it couldn’t be turned off and to top it off Secure boot would only signed software to boot as well. Which means the pc manufacturer would have to digitally sign the version of Windows to get it to run. Great news for the Linux community! Microsoft backtracked a little and said that the feature could be turned off on x86 machines but not ARM based machines. So they have basically put a stop on a huge potential modding community getting various Linux distributions running on the upcoming Windows 8 tablets. Unless someone makes a Windows tablet using one of the new Intel x86 mobile processors it will be a disaster.

Intel and Microsoft both want to make money with Windows 8. But neither of them seem to have analysed the market they are about to enter. Maybe check the prices of the current top end best selling tablet and make your devices come in under that price. The new Windows 8 tablets are rumoured to cost way more than an iPad.

Which makes me wonder which tablet people will actually choose. It’s not like your home pc where you just buy one and oh look it’s got Windows. Tablets are a little better researched than that. I feel another round of origami devices coming on.

Lastly I feel I should point out that what Windows have done with the bootloader is no different to what Apple have done with their devices. Yet we don’t complain about that. For some reason I just thought Windows 8 would just be great, yet the more I read about it the more I worry.

Source – Wikipedia

Mike Daisey goes to the Apple factory
Do we need this sort of thing in the UK market?