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How Samsung can save Windows 8 tablets

Armando Rodriguez | June 24, 2013
Samsung is the hero that Windows 8 tablets need but don't deserve.

Lower pricing
Samsung can also help mitigate Windows 8 tablet pricing problems. Microsoft's own Surface Pro runs high at $899 for the base 64GB model, while Dell's Latitude 10, laden with much more modest specs, retails for $500. It's difficult to convince people to drop such serious cash on a tablet when they can purchase a pretty decent laptop for the same price. A $500 price tag also puts Windows 8 tablet manufacturers in direct competition with Apple's iPad, the 800-pound gorilla of the mobile market.

"Samsung has to reinforce the notion that a tablet experience doesn't have to break the bank," says Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.

So how will Samsung get there? By leveraging its own assets. Samsung is a massive corporate entity--it manufacturers everything from smartphones to washing machines, and essentially makes most of its components in-house, most famously mobile processors and displays. So by leveraging its various manufacturing branches, Samsung could bring its Ativ tablets to the U.S. at competitive prices.

We're not talking Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire prices, but more along the lines of the iPad 2 versus the iPad with Retina display. A $400 Samsung Windows 8 tablet will still be a tough sell, but as Moorhead puts it, "It's a different value proposition." iPads are great for consuming media, but aren't as skilled at content creation. Microsoft's commercials may just be attacks against Apple's tablet, but they do make a good point: Windows 8 is better for multitasking and productivity.

So when you put it that way, paying $400 for a Windows 8 tablet doesn't seem so outrageous. Samsung's vast resources will help in delivering a Windows 8 tablet at a reasonable price.

The marketing spin
All of Samsung resources will also come in handy as the company helps tackle Microsoft's biggest problem: No one knows Windows tablets exist. "We haven't see a lot of pure Windows tablets outside of the Surface," says Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group. Indeed, putting aside Microsoft's marketing push on TV and online, Windows tablet makers haven't been doing much to increase Windows 8 tablet awareness. If you need a good example of what weak marketing efforts will do to a product, just look at Nintendo and the poor sales of its Wii U.

But luckily for Samsung, this is an area in which the company thrives. It spends a ridiculous amount of money on advertising--way more than Apple or Microsoft--to make sure people know about its products and what makes them so cool. It's one of the reasons Samsung has been able to become the No. 1 smartphone maker in the world. With the power of Samsung's deep pockets, awareness for Windows 8 tablets can increase and the platform can continue to grow.


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