According to a recent report from industry analysts IDC, Apple has a chokehold on the tablet market – one that is unlikely to loosen anytime soon. Still, that hasn't stopped challengers such as Samsung and Motorola from trying. The latest contender? Microsoft, which could be days away from unveiling a tablet running Windows RT, a mobile-centric version of the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system.
Tech site TheWrap.com says Microsoft has planned a "secretive event" for Monday, where it will introduce an iPad rival. Details remain vague, and Microsoft has remained mum on the rumors. Still, Microsoft has been careful to stress the mobile capabilities of its new operating system, and it makes sense the company would want to introduce its own in-house tablet.
Of course, as Matt Hamblen of Computerworld notes, this wouldn't exactly be the first Microsoft tablet. The Redmond, Wash.-based company has released slates built by HP and Samsung and powered by older Microsoft operating systems. And yet Windows 8 RT is another beast entirely – an operating system optimized for mobile devices and touchscreen use. So would a Microsoft tablet running RT be a match for Apple?
Well, maybe. Microsoft certainly has the experience and the smarts and the marketing might. But over at PC World, Ian Paul points to a couple recent high-power Microsoft hardware flops: The Zune music player, which was meant to compete with the iPod, and the Kin, a feature-heavy smartphone targeted at younger users. (The Kin crashed and burned pretty spectacularly.) To be fair, Xbox worked out well.
"Apple is definitely lacking a strong challenger since Android tablets have largely failed to challenge the iPad," Paul writes. "Windows 8 tablets may be the answer since they offer a different experience than Apple's tablet. But given Microsoft's spotty history with making popular hardware, the software maker might be better off to leave the tablet making to its partners."
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