TechSpot: Apple and Google Tablets Moving to Microsoft Territory

The common refrain has been that tablets are for consumption and that laptops are for productivity, and never the twain shall meet. Because of refrigerators and toasters, or something like that. Microsoft tried to bridge that gap with Windows 8 and the Surface, but its efforts have been mostly met with general scorn.

But it's a different world today. Tablet sales have flatlined in developed markets, smaller tablets are less desirable in light of phablets, PC sales have stabilized and people want to do work on large screens.

And now Apple and Google want to cross that bridge, too, into Microsoft territory. Apple with the iPad Pro, and Google with the new Nexus.

Read: Apple and Google Tablets Moving to Microsoft Territory
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I guess I must be one of the few that like the idea of a convertible. As someone that can type with all ten figures (used to be called touch typing) I have very little use for on-screen keyboards for anything larger than a phone (and even there I'd love it if I could get a slid-out keyboard on a smartphone). So for me the Surface was the just the type of device I was looking for, as I'm not really interested in a "true tablet". The Surface RT from a hardware perspective is a really solid device (what I ended up buying). My only real complaint is that Microsoft didn't let Windows RT be just an ARM flavor of Windows 8 without all the silly restrictions, but I digress. The Surface Pro 3 is probably their best effort yet to build a convertible device. And it's on these devices that the dual-UI OS actually makes sense. Desktop for productivity (where touch becomes just a third interface to interface with it), and modern ui for a few applications where productivity are not the focus (Netflix, simple games, etc).

On top of that, probably half of the iPad users I've seen have purchased keyboards for their devices, so it does kind of re-enforce the idea that a tablet-only device may not be ideal for productivity. But then again, it depends what you mean by productivity. I'd hate to have to do any word processing or spreadsheet work without at least a real keyboard, but there may be some applications that only need a basic on-touch ui.

I seem to say this a lot, but it'll be interesting to see how all this plays out.

This article is a little premature. Wait for the 12 month sales figures of the Surface 3 and the figures will tell a different story. Microsoft have nailed the laptop/tablet hybrid with the pro 3.

And for that they need a desktop OS that can beat Windows. Neither Android nor iOS come close to the versatility of the Windows desktop at the moment.

UXGaurav said,
And for that they need a desktop OS that can beat Windows. Neither Android nor iOS come close to the versatility of the Windows desktop at the moment.

That must be the reason why Windows tablets are outselling iOS and Androids.. Oh wait..

For productivity Microsoft wipes the floor with iOS and Android - that's the whole point of the article.

A Google productivity tablet could at least have the appallingly bad Google Docs "office suite" on it. But what will businessmen do with an Apple productivity tablet? Sit around the board room and make fart noises?

Ptoof!

Seeing that the Surface Pro has had lackluster sales since its inception, Apple and Google should have a smooth conquering of this so called territory.

JHBrown said,
Seeing that the Surface Pro has had lackluster sales since its inception, Apple and Google should have a smooth conquering of this so called territory.

Honestly I think Microsoft has a huge hill to climb to win back public trust to sell hardware. People know how problematic their time spent in Windows can be and I think that mistrust carries over to big ticket hardware purchases.

They struck gold with the 360, but it was one of the most un-Microsoft things the company has ever done. But now look at the XBOX One and how more inline with the Microsoft world it has become and sales stagnate.

Obviously this isnt the only reason for low sales, but I think it's a big part of the picture.

Yet again, Microsoft innovates, and Apple/Google copy it and run away with the success that Microsoft SHOULD be having. All while claiming they originated everything, and all their fanbois believing them.

pmbAustin said,
Yet again, Microsoft innovates, and Apple/Google copy it and run away with the success that Microsoft SHOULD be having. All while claiming they originated everything, and all their fanbois believing them.

What exactly did Microsoft innovate? Attachable keyboards? Guess you never used Asus' Transformer range, which existed long before Surface.

Asus is still "Microsoft", in that it's Windows.

I'm referring to Google and Apple catching up to the groundwork that Microsoft has laid with not just the Surface, but Windows 8.1.x

Actually with WiDi tablet use internally is growing. And everyone wants to use the Surface. It's "glitches" are hurting it. From WiFi, to some overheating, to ridiculous Bluetooth. Across the organization and the whole line of Surfaces if you connect a Bluetooth device, good luck using it again without removing it and pairing it all over. They need to improve their WiDi Miricast stability as well. Do that and Google and Apple won't go away, but they won't win either, not in the enterprise. Phones are another story...

Has Microsoft learned the very valuable lesson that compromises rarely, if ever, work nearly as well as purpose-built software and/or hardware? We will see with the release of Windows-9. Hopefully, Apple and Google will not sacrifice their core competencies in attempts to market compromises to compete with Microsoft.

TsarNikky said,
Has Microsoft learned the very valuable lesson that compromises rarely, if ever, work nearly as well as purpose-built software and/or hardware? We will see with the release of Windows-9. Hopefully, Apple and Google will not sacrifice their core competencies in attempts to market compromises to compete with Microsoft.

The only valuable lesson learned is that your troll speak is running wild.

Please tell me, what is googles 'core competency ' in terms of heading into 'microsoft territory ' aka laptops (as per the insinuated group).

Please don't use the chromebook as an example.

Apple fair enough OSx is nice and the hardware is beautiful but its still not windows (plus and minus in that).

If your not tied to certain software (as in monetary or availability based or company network (AD)) and want top end hardware with top end price and don't mind relearning your computing methods (or relish it as your a 'geek') then fair play and good luck, I just don't see plenty of people falling into that category/description.

I also think that windows 8 was actually needed. Mad thought I know but hear me out.

Its been done time and time again in all aspects of life from computing to politics, if you have to change your policies and have a very large group of users/people/followers, the trick is to make a massive initial change that goes way past your target and gets all sorts of crazy reactions..........your then in a position to be patient and then reel things back to where you actually wanted it to be with everyone applauding, whereas if you went to the level you wanted to be initially you'd still have backlash but no room to back down (without losing your goal).

Windows 9 by all accounts will easily please the desktop crowd (I'm a desktop user that loves w8 btw, but you can't ignore the shouting ey), its disabling the modern ui for mouse/keyboard users but making it available along with all my store apps that I love (without forcing them on you), while devices that benefit from the touch ui the most will get it by default and finally the true android/ipad competition will come in the form of a full arm no desktop store only no virus or crappy toolbar rocking windows with touch office built in along with full sync to your desktop for passwords for websites and WiFi networks etc and settings and personalisation.

Basically I live where its heading, I love the way even now the features make my computing life easier and I'm deffo all in on the Ms train simply because it makes it all easier - think about it not many can lead a truely none Ms it life, be it windows at work/home/family services like one drive and outlook and office, putting it simply by embracing the Ms platforms/services I think I get a better deal both value wise and feature/ease of use wise as well.

Just my opinion folks...

TechKnowNYCKEY said,

So you have been trolling for over 30 years?
How is he a troll for not agreeing with everything Microsoft. He's been in the business since 69 and runs Microsoft software. I don't get it.

You don't get it. I wasn't commenting to YOU.
But since you asked... have you read his other comments here and on PCWorld? If you have, then you know exactly why I say what I say. Believe me when I say that he is well known in the forums. And not for anything good.

Edited by TechKnowNYCKEY, Sep 5 2014, 11:37am :

I think people forget that the iPad and Google tablets have been used as productivity devices for very long time now. Those in denial like to list requirements like mouse/keyboard/office as true productivity devices not realizing that many companies, specifically Fortune 500 ones, have their own written apps for these devices to allow input of data.

No one will deny that, but it is the amount of money, resource to implement those devices to the infrastructure that causes enterprise and educational sectors to rethink what their embarking on.

RommelS said,
No one will deny that, but it is the amount of money, resource to implement those devices to the infrastructure that causes enterprise and educational sectors to rethink what their embarking on.

A local logistics company developed an app for input on data of their delivery routes. They are always changing and restructuring so there's a ton of data coming in. The app allowed them to circumvent the traditional keyboard/mouse input by directly taking data from the app to their programs.

There's a multitude of ways tablets are increasingly becoming used in the workplace. To say that they need a keyboard/mouse to be useful is just silly.

Thus MS and its partners came out with their own versions. Plus, who said that keyboard and mouse is the main differentiators when it comes to this technology.

RommelS said,
Thus MS and its partners came out with their own versions. Plus, who said that keyboard and mouse is the main differentiators when it comes to this technology.

Look at other comments...

The point is, both companies are about to do the same thing that MS has been doing, so forget about the mouse and keyboard thingy for the moment because Surface can pretty much do the same thing that iOS and Android can do with or without the keyboard ....or pen.

Microsoft is already eat scraps with their tablets, and now others want to take it away? This shouldn't be too hard and good luck to them.

Not having a full OS makes this "competition" a one way game with no chances for Google and Apple.

Capy said,
Not having a full OS makes this "competition" a one way game with no chances for Google and Apple.

With Microsoft's inferior ecosystem, you could argue that it's Windows that's not a full OS.

Legacy desktop apps aren't desirable on mobile devices before you say it. That leaves Metro. And we all know how much of a disaster that is.

simplezz said,

Legacy desktop apps aren't desirable on mobile devices before you say it. That leaves Metro. And we all know how much of a disaster that is.
Well, have you ever tried running legacy apps on Surface Pro 3? I use them a lot and love the way they are working. Besides I'm absolutely not restricted to install everything I want, not only the market-provided apps, which makes SP3 way ahead limited-OS tablets.

I have to say I didn't like the legacy app idea before I tried sp3. But sp3, because it's capability for legacy apps, has become my one device(confessing I still keep iPad as hotspot). I love it. Legacy apps do well on a surface, even if you use touch. I think everyone should actually try a product before repeating someone else's opinion, though.

Android already supports the mouse. Hook a Bluetooth mouse to an android device and you will be amazed that it just works out of the box.

The difference is with Windows, touch feels like a natural progression of the OS. You can switch between the three (mouse, keyboard, touch) with ease.

LogicalApex said,
Android already supports the mouse. Hook a Bluetooth mouse to an android device and you will be amazed that it just works out of the box.

irrelevant, supporting mouse has to be along with real multi-tasking and taskbar support like in windows. so you can move windows around, minimize, copy-paste, drag-drop .... android and iOS donot support real multi-tasking.

LogicalApex said,
Android already supports the mouse. Hook a Bluetooth mouse to an android device and you will be amazed that it just works out of the box.

This ^^

Just shows the ignorance of many of the naysayers. I doubt many of them have even used Android seriously. If they had, they would know these kinds of things.

LogicalApex said,
Android already supports the mouse. Hook a Bluetooth mouse to an android device and you will be amazed that it just works out of the box.

It merely works, it is not useful. The point is Android UI is designed for touch. Think of how terribly the keyboard and mouse worked back in windows 8. I think the same is true for android, if not worse. Let alone iOS it doesn't even connect to a mouse.

And now Apple and Google want to cross that bridge, too, into Microsoft territory. Apple with the iPad Pro, and Google with the new Nexus.