According to BGR, Microsoft just released a new iPad-bashing ad with a head-to-head comparison of the iPad Mini and the Acer Iconia W3. Yet just yesterday Jim Wang, president of Acer, told Eva Dou and Aries Poon at the Wall Street Journal that Acer is "trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible."
It's all in the timing.
The ad predictably extolls Windows 8's advantages over the iPad Mini — Outlook is so very cool on an 8-inch screen, especially if you have teensy-tiny fingers, you know, and the W3 can play Halo — but the folks who made the ad were at a severe disadvantage: They're working with a Windows 8 tablet that's just horrible. As InfoWorld executive editor Galen Gruman put it:
It's thicker, heavier, and slower, and it has half the battery life of an iPad Mini. Its screen is decidedly inferior, with a yellowish cast, a dull appearance, and a limited viewing angle, and its touchscreen needs a heavy touch to respond.
Although Wang's observations have all the hallmarks of an expectorating contest, he was quite blunt:
The Windows camp has to do something to reestablish or reinforce confidence among PC users. People are reluctant [to buy] and are holding [off] their purchasing decisions... Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets. ... I also see a new market there for Chromebooks. ... We have to sustain our market share and protect our bottom line ... and by doing tablets and smartphones right, we can be prepared for the day after tomorrow.
Which leaves the nagging conclusion that the Iconia W3 wasn't a tablet done right — a fact that few would debate.
Now the tally looks something like this:
- Asus has completely pulled out of the Windows RT business; what it'll do for Windows 8.1 machines isn't yet known.
- Acer is moving away from Windows "as soon as possible."
- Dell's certainly staying in the Windows 8 camp — Microsoft's $2 billion loan to Michael Dell no doubt has something to do with Dell's loyalty, although even Dell has dabbled with Android tablets, and its thumb-size Android PC may get some much-needed traction.
- No. 2 worldwide PC maker HP has dipped its toe in Android tablets, and toyed with Chromebooks — and if the rumors (and photos) are true, it may even have an Android phone up its Christmas sleeves.
- No. 1 Lenovo is singing Android's glory. Just yesterday, Lenovo launched a bunch of new Android tablets in India.
Will the last Windows tablet user please turn out the light?
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