Category Archives: iPad Rivals

Microsoft Slashing Price of Surface RT Tablet

Surface RT Price Cut

It looks like Microsoft is about to slash the price of their Surface RT tablet line. As The Verge reports, the price for all models of the Surface RT is set to drop by $150 starting this Sunday, July 14.

With the new price cut, the price for the entry level 32GB Surface RT will come down from $499 to $349.99, and the 64GB model will be available for $449.99. The Touch Cover keyboard is still a $100 add-on.

This is yet another bad sign for the Surface line. Lowering the price by nearly 1/3 looks like a bit of a desperate measure, or maybe even a sign that the RT won’t be around for that much longer. This follows on the heels of a report last month showing Windows tablets had less than 1% adoption rate in the enterprise and a tablet web usage report that showed Surface tablets with a less than 0.5 share.

I think both Surface tablets have been hugely overpriced, especially as the latecomers they are to the tablet market. I’ll be shocked if we don’t see a similar price cut for the Surface Pro line soon.

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Latest Enterprise Mobile Device Activations Report: Who Cares about a Powerpoint App?

Device Activations by Platform

The latest report on enterprise activations of mobile devices from Good Technology has very good news for Apple, the iPad and iPhone, and Android. And some very grim news for Microsoft and their Windows Phone and Surface tablet lines. See the teeny, tiny sliver of red in the chart above? That’s the Windows Phone share of device activations in the report. The Surface tablet line doesn’t even manage a sliver of the chart for tablet activations.

Here’s a little background on the Good Technology Mobility Index Report for Q1 of 2013:

With a diverse global customer base that includes FORTUNE 100™ leaders in commercial banking, insurance, healthcare, retail, government, and aerospace and defense, Good is uniquely positioned to provide insight into the adoption of new mobile platforms and devices. Good Technology analyzed the mobile devices activated by its customers over the first quarter of 2013 to highlight trends in mobility and device preference.

Some of the report’s numbers that jump off the page include:

iPad Dominating: The latest generation of iPad devices (iPad 3 and beyond) now lead as the most widely used tablets among Good customers, and Apple continues to hold a strong grasp on the tablet market with 88.4% of total activations.

Android Gaining Momentum: Activations from Android tablets almost doubled during Q1 2013, while Android smartphone activations remained consistent compared to Q4 2012.

The Only Way Is Up?: Windows Phone has the largest opportunity for growth, with less than 1% of total activations, as it continues to be dwarfed in comparison to the global market leaders.

When I see these sort of numbers I can’t help but think about those cocky Microsoft TV ads touting Windows 8 tablets and trashing the iPad. The ones that highlight how terrible it is that there’s no Powerpoint app on the iPad – something that would seem like a big deal to, say, enterprise users maybe. Well, the Powerpoint-less iPad is going like gangbusters in the enterprise, Android tablets with no Powerpoint app are showing some momentum too. Windows 8 tablets with Powerpoint – not even a 1% sliver on the chart.

Maybe it’s time to talk about an Excel app in the ads.

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Bill Gates Says iPad Users Are Frustrated Because They Can’t Type, Create Documents, Use Office

Gates on Frustrated iPad users

Bill Gates has shared some thoughts on the iPad again, during a CNBC interview – this time claiming that lots of iPad users are frustrated at their lack of ability to do things like type or create documents.

At about the 7:45 mark of this video clip at 9to5Mac, Gates talks about how with Windows 8 Microsoft is trying to gain share in a market that’s been dominated by the ‘iPad type device’ and says:

… but a lot of those users are frustrated. They can’t type, they can’t create documents, they don’t have Office there. So we’re providing them with something with the benefits they’ve seen that have made that a big category without giving up what they expect in a PC.

Really? People used to talk a lot about Steve Jobs and a  ‘reality distortion field’ – I’d say that the Delusion Bubble that Gates and Microsoft seem to live in is just as powerful. iPad users can’t type, can’t create documents – has he ever been near an iPad?

For me, this is a bit like Tim Tebow talking about how many Denver Broncos fans are frustrated with that Peyton Manning guy. Microsoft might want to show that they can make a tablet that shows any sign of appealing to users before they dish out their thoughts on the supposed frustrations of iPad users.

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Survey Says: iPad Still the Runaway Leader in Tablet Usage

March 13 Tablet Usage

The latest report from the Chitika online advertising group shows that the iPad is till the runaway leader in tablet usage share. The report is based on web traffic share – and the iPad’s lead actually increased during March – to 81.9% of US and Canadian tablet web traffic.

Just to repeat, that’s 81.9% for all iPads, and less than 20% for all other tablets. The closest rival? Amazon’s Kindle Fire at below 8%, followed by Samsung tablets at less than 5%.

The worst news on here is for Microsoft. Just months after the launches of their Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, and the enormous promotional spend on them, their share is well below 1%. They’re running neck and neck with the Motorola Xoom, which was a major flop and was axed years ago.

Impressive numbers for the iPad.

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My Newest Tablet: Not an iPad


My newest tablet, just acquired today, is not an iPad. It’s the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 –s shown above right between my Nexus 7 and the iPad mini.

I’ve become quite a fan of the 7-8 inch tablet and I saw some very good early reviews of the Galaxy Note 8 and decided to try one out. I’ve had the Nexus 7 for months and been thoroughly underwhelmed by it thus far – so it’s a good time to try out another small tablet. I went to a Microsoft store recently and wanted to see if I liked a Surface RT enough to give it a go – but it didn’t grab me at all.

I’ve had the Galaxy Note 8 for only a little over two hours – just enough time to get to know it a tiny bit and stick it on a charger really. So no deep thoughts on it yet of course – but just as a super quick early impression, I like it. I think I already like it better than the Nexus 7 and I’m very keen to get to know it better.

I’m not ‘switching sides’ here by any means. I sill love the iPad and particularly the iPad mini. I have always been fascinated with mobile devices and I try to keep up a bit with other tablets that seem interesting. I’ve previously owned and spent time with an HP Touchpad, an original Kindle Fire, a Kindle Fire HD, and the Nexus 7.

As I get to know it and use it more I’ll likely write quite a bit more about the Galaxy Note 8 at my other fledgling tablets site – 247 Tablets.

Have any of you used any of the Galaxy Note devices? If so, please share your thoughts and recommendations on them in the comments.

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Surface Sales Estimates Are Bleak, Microsoft Thinks Better Marketing Will Save the Day

Microsoft Surface TV ads

Predictions and estimates offered last week for the early sales numbers for Microsoft’s Surface tablet line don’t paint a very pretty picture. They’re pretty bleak in fact – especially considering how heavily hyped and marketed the Surface RT and Surface Pro have been.

Here’s some details from a Bloomberg story on this:

Microsoft has sold little more than a million of the Surface RT version and about 400,000 Surface Pros since their debuts, according to three people, who asked not to be named because sales haven’t yet been made public. The company had ordered about 3 million Surface RTs, they said. Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG, had initially expected Microsoft to sell 2 million Surface RT devices in the December quarter alone.

Based on Apple’s last reported quarterly results it looks like more iPads are sold every week than the total number of Surface devices sold in four and half months (the Surface RT launched in late October of 2012 and the Surface Pro in early February of this year). If Bloomberg’s numbers are anywhere near accurate, then Surface is really not making much of a dent in the tablet arena at all.

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The New Surface Pro Ad: It’s the Funky Bad Dancing Tablet?

Wow. I’ve watched this new ad for Microsoft’s Surface Pro a few times now, and I still find myself laughing and shaking my head at it. I guess I just don’t get what the strategy behind the Surface ads is. These are meant to be the tablets / tablet hybrids that ‘let you do real work’. The powerful, serious business devices. But their ads are all about people dancing around with them – and offer just about zero indication of anything very business-like yopu can do with them.

Anyone care to fill me in? What’s the message that these ads are trying to deliver?



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TechRepublic’s Half Assed Surface RT to iPad Comparison

Half Assed

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TechRepublic has a post up this week from Patrick Gray that is billed as a hands-on comparison of the Microsoft Surface RT and the iPad. It’s a half-assed piece that’s full of apples to watermelons style comparisons.

For starters, when discussing the quality of the displays, Gray compares the Surface RT to the iPad 2. So that’s a tablet released very near the end of 2012 being pitted against the iPad released near the beginning of 2011 – and iPad that is now two generations behind the latest model. Lame.

Then Gray trots out a bit of tired, way overused, and misinformed nonsense about the iPad being a ‘just for consumption’ device (emphasis is mine in the excerpt below):

The aim of Microsoft’s tablet was to be easy to use and finger friendly, plus incorporate the best elements of a traditional computer, like running full-fledged productivity applications, which the iPad has never done well.

Bullshit. What are full-fledged productivity applications then? Over 90% of the Fortune 500 are deploying or piloting the iPad. That’s the heart of the enterprise arena there – so what,. they’re all using the iPad to watch movies and do some fun web browsing?

Local, state, and national governments are using the iPad. Healthcare professionals are using the iPad for everything from patient records to diagnostic usage. NFL teams are replacing their playbooks with iPads and have coaches and players using them heavily. The US Air Force and many commercial airlines are using iPads as electronic flightbags. Authors are writing entire novels on iPads, musicians are creating and producing entire albums on iPads.

The iPad has the iWork productivity suite, a number of apps that offer MS Office editing compatibility, cloud-based apps that offer access to Windows and the Office suite, and a huge array of great productivity apps from 3rd part developers.

Which tablet is the one that lacks for even half-decent app choices? The one that needs to pay developers to encourage them to develop for the disjointed half mobile / half desktop Surface RT? Hell, Office itself doesn’t even run on the ‘RT’ side of the Microsoft tablet.

Overall, Gray’s piece is a half-assed look at the Surface RT vs. the iPad, and a regurgitation of a delusional theory that Microsoft’s new tablet is somehow better for ‘real work’ than the iPad. Most reviews of it I’ve seen have left the reviewers not even wanting to carry on using the Surface RT after a day or two, nevermind getting any work done on it.

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Flirting with the Dark Side

Nexus 7

I received my Nexus 7 32GB with Mobile Data last night. I think I was likely one of the last stops on the UPS route, as it hit my doorstep at around 7PM.

I’m not actually flirting with the dark side or planning a switch to Android. But I do think the Nexus 7 looks interesting and it seems to rated as one of the top small tablet rivals to the iPad mini. I’ve tried out both the 2011 Kindle Fire and this year’s Kindle Fire HD and wasn’t particularly impressed with either – so I figure it’s about time to spend some time with a tablet running ‘real’ Android as opposed to the Kinde’s heavily ‘forked’ version.

I have not spent much time at all with the Nexus 7 yet, so no impressions to share just yet – other than that my 9 year old daughter thinks it is ultra cool, despite being told she is not allowed to like Android devices.

Once I’ve got to know it better I’ll share some thoughts on the Nexus 7 of course – but I’ll likely do that over at my more general tablets site: 247 Tablets, while keeping the focus 100% on the iPad here.

Have any of you tried out the Nexus 7? If so, please share your thoughts on it in the comments.

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Microsoft CEO Believes Unicorns Exist, Pigs Fly, & Surface Is the First Tablet Customers Want

Ballmer with Surface tablet

OK, so the first two parts of the post title may be a little exaggerated, but Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, does apparently believe that the new Microsoft Surface ‘PC tablets’ are coming into a tablet market where nobody thus far has made a tablet device that customers want.

In a recent interview with CNBC he has lots of fun things to say about the competition that the Surface may face in the tablet arena – and he dismisses it out of hand:

I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting …

You can go through the products from all those guys … and none of them has a product that you can really use. Not Apple. Not Google. Not Amazon. Nobody has a product that lets you work and play that can be your tablet and your PC. Not at any price point.

A few things stand out here. Actually, 100 million things stand out for starters – as in, 100 million iPads sold in just 2.5 years. I think a lot of folks would class that as a pretty clear indication of customers wanting something – though apparently not in Ballmer’s world.

Ballmer talks about PC tablets, because of course he and Microsoft are not big fans of the idea of a Post-PC era. And he seems to believe that a PC tablet is what people really want. I think it’s another example of Ballmer and Microsoft being blind to what’s happening in the mobile space. I think MS has been clueless about mobile for years, and Ballmer’s views on the tablet market just show that they still are.

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Microsoft Exec Calls iPad Mini a ‘Recreational Tablet’

iPad Mini Recreational Tablet

A tablet war of words seems to have broken out over the last few days between Apple and Microsoft. Apple and Google and Amazon have occasionally traded barbs about their tablet devices, but now that Microsoft finally has an actual tablet available for sale – the Surface with Windows RT – Apple and Microsoft execs have exchanged a few choice words on the merits (or lack thereof) or their tablet offerings.

During Apple’s Q4 financial results call on Thursday afternoon, Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO) said that Surface tablets are a ‘fairly compromised, confusing product’ and that “You could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do all of those things very well.”

Yesterday Steven Sinofski, President of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live divisions, referred to the new iPad Mini as a ‘recreational tablet’. Here’s the mention, via Apple Insider:

“These are fantastic machines,” Sinfosky said of one of many reasonably-priced Windows 8 laptops shown at Microsoft’s event. “It’s $279. Here we are, talking about seven-inch recreational tablets for $329.”

I haven’t seen the laptop Sinofski is talking about, but I have to say I find it hard to believe that any $279 laptop is anything more than a complete piece of junk, probably comparable to some of the worst netbooks we used to see in the local Best Buy store.

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