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After Windows 8 debacle, OEMs wax rhapsodic over Windows 10

Joab Jackson | July 30, 2015
After trying the patience of both consumers and the enterprise alike with Windows 8, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are hoping Windows 10 will reinvigorate the market for PCs, laptops and all-in-one devices.

dell vancouver laptop
Dell launched 12 new models, offered in more than 70 configurations, that run Windows 10. Credit: Dell

After trying the patience of both consumers and the enterprise alike with Windows 8, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are hoping Windows 10 will reinvigorate the market for PCs, laptops and all-in-one devices.

Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo are all releasing new batches of Windows 10 PCs, laptops, tablets and all-in-ones. They all built hardware to make the most of Windows 10's new features, such as the Cortana voice-aided assistant and biometric log-in options.

"There is a lot to like in Windows 10," said Chris Walker, Intel vice president for notebook products. The operating system takes advantage of the hardware advancements made over the past few years in notebooks, such as considerable improvements in battery life and screen resolution.

Plus, OEMs are convinced the timing is right for a wave of new computer purchases.

More than 600 million computers, all more than four years old, are still running Windows 7, Microsoft has estimated.

Such a stronghold of legacy computers represents a "significant opportunity" for OEMs, said Mike Nash, HP vice president of portfolio strategy and customer experience for personal systems.

"People need a reason to buy a new computer," he said. Windows 10 could provide the motivation for purchasing a new system.

The way Nash views it, the 600 million people running these older computers were ambivalent about buying a new system with Windows 8 installed.

Windows 8 had its issues, Nash admitted. In its pursuit of the then-nascent tablet market, Microsoft made the computing experience less than comfortable for those buyers of PCs and laptops. There was no start button. Apps were hard to find. The dual desktop and metro interfaces could be disorienting, he noted.

Not only has the start button returned, but Windows 10 also makes a much more sophisticated decisions about when to present the user with a touch-driven interface, and when to rely on the mouse-and-keyboard combo, thanks to the Continuum feature for detecting the device's operating characteristics.

Approximately 43 percent of users surveyed by HP are "excited" about Windows 10, and 44 percent have plans to upgrade their current machine.

The OEMs need some good news. Sales of computers in the second quarter of 2015 have slumped by 9.5 percent, compared to the same time a year before, according to IT analyst firm Gartner.

HP's enthusiasm is undeterred by Microsoft's ambitious plan to upgrade as many computers running older versions of windows as possible.

Models running Windows 7 that were manufactured before 2012 may be able to run Windows 10, but won't be able to take advantage of the higher-end Windows features, such as Cortana, Nash noted.

 

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