Analysts Believe Microsoft Can Still Be a Contender in the Tablet Space

Both Forrester Research and IDC analysts are banging the Microsoft tablet drum. They believe Microsoft can compete with the likes of Android, iOS/iPad, WebOS, but they need hardware partners in order to be successful — and there in lies the problem. HP is going full stream with WebOS after their decision to shelve its Windows Slate device (at least for now), Dell has been busy developing their own tablets running Android, and Lenovo has recently shifted to Android for its hybrid tablet/nettops.

What Microsoft needs to succeed, according to Forrester Research:

…Microsoft [needs to embrace] Curated Computing by providing a simple, streamlined, guided experience for consumers, drawing on the design strengths of other Microsoft products like the Zune HD and the Kin. A Microsoft tablet that synchs with the Xbox 360 — with all the implied benefits, including the Natal interface — would be a killer hub for the digital home, enabling back-and-forth streaming of videos and games that one-ups the capabilities of the iPad and makes Microsoft relevant for the next decade.

IDC, on the other hand, believes:

Microsoft must keep HP—the largest player in the U.S. consumer market—in the game and tap into HP’s TouchSmart lessons and assets. Dell, too, is a critical player for the consumer market. Dell will need more hand-holding than HP, as it lacks the TouchSmart experience.

So who’s right? My money goes to Forreseter Research at this point, though I did side with IDC’s way of thinking when the Windows 7-powered HP Slate was first making the rounds (the TouchSmart UI would have been a nice addition to the tablet’s experience). Time will tell which direction Microsoft plans to take, but whatever decision they make — be it Windows 7, Windows Embedded Compact 7, or some custom ZUNE/Kin mashup — the decision will have a lasting impact to the company’s future.


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