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Hardware  » Microsoft announces changes to Windows to be more competitive in tablets

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  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13500

 
OP  5/25/14 3:40:39 PM#1

http://anandtech.com/show/8048/windows-81-with-bing

1)  Windows will now be compressed on SSDs, greatly reducing the installation size and making a 32 GB tablet not a complete joke for lack of storage space after the OS takes it all.

2)  Windows will be more aggressive about suspending idle applications, allowing it to run only 1 GB of memory, at least if you don't like to run much in the way of other software besides the OS.

3)  Windows will now be free on devices with a screen size less than 9".

The first two are largely about allowing Windows to run on lower end devices.  Do you really want a tablet with 32 GB of storage space and 1 GB of system memory?  The former might be okay for some purposes with a slimmed down installation size.  But some software wants more than 1 GB just for one application.  Even if you don't expect to play AAA MMORPGs on a tablet, browsers commonly want several hundred MB--and web browsing is one of the core things that you're supposed to be able to do on a tablet.

But the last one is the biggest deal, I think.  Microsoft doesn't charge $100 to OEMs for Windows; I think it's somewhere in the ballpark of $30-$50, though I didn't just look it up.  But after various other companies along the way take their markup, eliminating the cost of Windows might well subtract $50 or $70 or some such from the price of devices.

Barely any Windows devices sell with a screen size below 9"; Android has most of the market for such devices (both tablets and phones), and iOS has most of the rest.  So it's not like Microsoft is giving up much revenue to do that.  Laptops virtually never have a screen that small, and Windows is still the dominant OS in that form factor.

But this is obviously driven by competition.  What happens if laptops running Android or iOS become popular?  Or, for that matter, Chrome?

There is one caveat on the "free Windows" bit, but it's a small one:  the OEM has to make Bing the default search engine for Internet Explorer.  End users are, of course, free to switch to a different search engine--or better yet, a different browser entirely.

I've often said, if you want a Windows tablet, you should get such and such hardware.  But that assumes that you actually want a Windows tablet; most people don't.  As the article linked above said, in tablets and phones, Android isn't viewed as a low cost, inferior alternative to Windows.  Microsoft is trying to make Windows more competitive, and that's a good thing.

  docminus2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/04/13
Posts: 138

5/25/14 4:01:14 PM#2

 I don't get the fuss about memory - memory nowadays is so cheap, why not install more from the start?

 

  Denambren

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/03/08
Posts: 311

5/25/14 4:10:33 PM#3
Originally posted by docminus2

 I don't get the fuss about memory - memory nowadays is so cheap, why not install more from the start?

 

psst - before you go out into the world after your cryo-sleep, a lot has changed since the year 2000 - handhelds now dominate the market, Apple is back from the dead, and Windows installs on more than just a PC. 

 

Good luck out there

 

 

  Rusque

Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1745

5/25/14 4:14:30 PM#4
This could a nice way to get a small windows tablet and then hook it to a monitor/TV. Obviously not for gaming, but a nice cheap alternative.
  Asm0deus

Elite Member

Joined: 9/06/10
Posts: 865

5/25/14 11:16:13 PM#5
Will the savings really be passed on to us though?

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  Hulluck

Novice Member

Joined: 1/19/13
Posts: 447

5/25/14 11:22:47 PM#6
Originally posted by Asm0deus
Will the savings really be passed on to us though?

There is probably no real savings and likely doing it because they have to in order to compete. Combined with banking on making money back through apps or services..  My guess.

  Asm0deus

Elite Member

Joined: 9/06/10
Posts: 865

5/25/14 11:28:14 PM#7
Originally posted by Hulluck
Originally posted by Asm0deus
Will the savings really be passed on to us though?

There is probably no real savings and likely doing it because they have to in order to compete. Combined with banking on making money back through apps or services..  My guess.

That was my thinking when I posted this question.

case: Coolermaster HAF932
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RAM: 2x2g G-SKILL DDR3-1600mhz 9-9-9-24
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GPU: gtx msi N760 TF 2GD5/OC
cooling: Noctua NH-D14
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  Vrika

Elite Member

Joined: 10/03/05
Posts: 2056

5/26/14 1:11:42 AM#8
Originally posted by Asm0deus
Will the savings really be passed on to us though?

I think all the 3 devices that are eligible for this price reduction can have their prices cut now.

  docminus2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/04/13
Posts: 138

5/26/14 1:29:15 AM#9
Originally posted by Denambren
Originally posted by docminus2

 I don't get the fuss about memory - memory nowadays is so cheap, why not install more from the start?

 

psst - before you go out into the world after your cryo-sleep, a lot has changed since the year 2000 - handhelds now dominate the market, Apple is back from the dead, and Windows installs on more than just a PC. 

 

Good luck out there

 

 

I am aware of the fact that we are talking handhelds. But you can't tell me that the memory (memory or storage) costs are reflected in the retail price, esp when comparing say a 16 vs 32 GB memory option. 

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3419

5/26/14 1:30:49 AM#10

I think it's a simple case of too little too late here. MS had a huge opportunity with Windows 8/RT release to show some tight integration and synergy between desktop and tablet, and somehow in the implementation they pretty much managed to alienate both crowds at the same time.

We've already got two dominating systems here, yet another "Me Too" isn't going to come along and get any traction - free or otherwise.

Now, if they can come out with Windows 9 and actually fix all that neat synergy stuff that is supposed to happen between PC and tablet - then they could make some waves. You have to can't just come in and do the same things everyone else does - even if you do it better you aren't breaking into the market. You have to do something no one else can do. Microsoft is uniquely poised to deeply integrate their tablet (RT) OS into their desktop OS (at least more so than throwing Metro on top of the desktop and calling it integrated). That's something that even Apple hasn't really managed to do yet with iOS and OS X, and Google is trying to push with their cloud services (although isn't quite there yet either).

  grndzro

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/06
Posts: 1113

5/26/14 1:35:17 AM#11

The faster everything switches over to Linux the better.

AMD/NV/Intel are all on a Linux driver kick ATM and games are being ported left and right.

AMD actually released a hotfix driver this week for linux. lol

 

This is a response to the differences between a bloated windows os compared to a sleek dedicated Linux OS. Android is winning and it shows in MS decisions.

I'm sorry I am biased against MS, I offer no apologies.....I got screwed over with Vista and had to do tech support for that POS for years.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3419

5/26/14 1:53:54 AM#12


Originally posted by docminus2

Originally posted by Denambren

Originally posted by docminus2  I don't get the fuss about memory - memory nowadays is so cheap, why not install more from the start?  
psst - before you go out into the world after your cryo-sleep, a lot has changed since the year 2000 - handhelds now dominate the market, Apple is back from the dead, and Windows installs on more than just a PC.    Good luck out there    
I am aware of the fact that we are talking handhelds. But you can't tell me that the memory (memory or storage) costs are reflected in the retail price, esp when comparing say a 16 vs 32 GB memory option. 

I think the point isn't that the memory options are heavily marked up - because they certainly are. But the system memory gets locked by the manufacturer, and the CPU selection plays a heavy part in that. No matter how much storage flash memory you add to the device (that is heavily marked up at retail, no doubt), you don't increase the available system memory.

So really, your paying a marked up amount for the convenience of additional storage. I don't know of any tablet where you can pay for additional system memory, although there is probably an Android line out there that will let you somewhere. Sure, some tablets let you add your own storage easily enough via SD card or what not, but I can't think of any where you can alter the amount of system RAM available, nor can I think of any reputable tablet where the device doesn't ship with sufficient physical memory installed such that it has insufficient memory for the system at the expense of storage.

The iPad Air, for example, has flash memory for storage - that's the 16/32/64/128G you pay through the nose for. All full size iPad Airs, though, have 1G of DDR2 system RAM, where as the Minis have 512M - and that can't be configured.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3419

5/26/14 2:06:33 AM#13


Originally posted by grndzro
The faster everything switches over to Linux the better.

AMD/NV/Intel are all on a Linux driver kick ATM and games are being ported left and right.

AMD actually released a hotfix driver this week for linux. lol

 

This is a response to the differences between a bloated windows os compared to a sleek dedicated Linux OS. Android is winning and it shows in MS decisions.

I'm sorry I am biased against MS, I offer no apologies.....I got screwed over with Vista and had to do tech support for that POS for years.


I am a long time Linux fan, and off and on user. The only linux box I still have at home is my NAS, but I still use them at work from time to time.

The main deal with Linux is that it's anything but stripped down. Sure, there can be a stripped down install (and those are very sleek), but your standard Linux options are so numerous that it can be somewhat overwhelming and daunting.

Just take the very first choice in a person running Linux - they usually are told to pick a distribution. There are ~hundreds~ that are actively supported, and dozens of those are extremely well put together and I'd have no problem recommending. But to a person just wanting to use their computer --- we're just on step one, and we haven't even downloaded or installed anything. Throw in additional quirks like yum/git repositories (I love them, don't get me wrong), various kernel versions and extensions, having to compile something from source, Gnome vs KDE....

A lot of people cringe at Apple's "Take it or Leave it" one-size-fits-all attitude, and I can understand that perfectly. Linux takes the exact opposite approach - have everything imaginable under the sun available, because someone somewhere will want to use it someday.

I love Linux. I don't know if it would necessarily be any better if we all switched over to it.

Although, the number of devices that run Linux under the hood and you don't often realize it or know it (a lot of routers, DVRs, NASs, Android devices, Chromebooks, high speed particle accelerators, TVs, wrist watches, etc...) - maybe we are already at the point where Linux has "arrived", it just snuck in through the back door where you can take a highly specialized device, and because of the multitude of options and the flexibility of the architecture custom build a Linux build for that particular device. It wasn't necessarily the best thing for the desktop.

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5857

5/26/14 2:26:19 AM#14

I'm using Windows 8.1 on my desktop and have a Lumia 928 (Windows Phone 8). I thinks it's a decent OS and I like it better than Win 7 or any of their previous OS. The Lumia 928 is by far the best smartphone I've owned, much better than my previous Galaxy S3. I really hope Microsoft pulls it out and does even better on the next iteration.

I think the price cut on mobile devices is to entice manufacturers not to pass along a price reduction. They want to penetrate the market and this is one of the ways, along with loosening restrictions, to get hardware vendors to adopt them.

However, with all that said the only reason I'm still using Windows is for gaming. There are several things about Linux (I like Mint and Manjaro) more - everything is a file, the power offered to the user, design quirks like no drive letters, and a lot more. If I were to give up my Windows games I would be on Linux in a heartbeat. Now with Steam streaming I realized I could actually move that direction.

Even though I love my WP8 more than any Droid I've owned it just hasn't been working for me without full access to Google services. I don't have hangouts to chat with coworkers. I use Chrome on the desktop and there are things I just can't do with my phone I want to. On top of that, all the ancillary apps for my games only work on iOS or Android.

So as much as I think Microsoft is making better decisions now and the optimizations are great, I also think it's too little too late. We'll see what Win 9  brings, but I can't think of anything they could bring to the table that would get me stoked.

Curse you AquaScum!

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13500

 
OP  5/26/14 7:08:41 AM#15
Originally posted by Asm0deus
Will the savings really be passed on to us though?

If there's a healthy amount of competition, they'll have to pass on the savings to compete.  That's how capitalism works.  But that's also a big "if"; I wouldn't characterize the number of sub-9" Windows 8.1 devices out there as "a healthy amount of competition".

  Xthos

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2650

5/26/14 8:36:06 AM#16

The savings should take something that was a little over priced, and make it competitive.

 

I was looking at buying a windows tablet myself, but something above the 9" range, and I may pick something up for portability, depending on the price.  I bought a 15" laptop instead with 8.1 on it, and have 8.1 on my PC.  I like a lot of the options for linking the laptop and PC, I also have a windows phone.  Figured I would get as much out of the devices working together as I could, I think they still need to get things working together a little better when it comes to tablets/phones.

 

I know they have plans to switch to 2 OS, from the 3 now, and I also read about how they were supposedly going to make it so a developer could port a RT/Mobile app to a full windows app with just a click of a button (So this may make things a little better).  I would like to see for those that use both devices, that if you have a app for RT/Mobile, and say it is one you have to pay for, you also get it on the full windows version, and they integrate/share information between the two.

 

I have noticed a lot of smaller 8" tablets that are decently competitive in price with full windows on them now, not sure how much this kills the speed of the smaller device, was wondering if the only thing not running a full version of windows would become their phones soon.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10718

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

5/26/14 9:31:38 AM#17
Originally posted by Ridelynn

I think it's a simple case of too little too late here. MS had a huge opportunity with Windows 8/RT release to show some tight integration and synergy between desktop and tablet, and somehow in the implementation they pretty much managed to alienate both crowds at the same time.

We've already got two dominating systems here, yet another "Me Too" isn't going to come along and get any traction - free or otherwise.

Now, if they can come out with Windows 9 and actually fix all that neat synergy stuff that is supposed to happen between PC and tablet - then they could make some waves. You have to can't just come in and do the same things everyone else does - even if you do it better you aren't breaking into the market. You have to do something no one else can do. Microsoft is uniquely poised to deeply integrate their tablet (RT) OS into their desktop OS (at least more so than throwing Metro on top of the desktop and calling it integrated). That's something that even Apple hasn't really managed to do yet with iOS and OS X, and Google is trying to push with their cloud services (although isn't quite there yet either).

 

Their poor showing as a Desktop OS didn't help things at all.  Windows 8 was supposed to be a complete, end to end ecosystem, and it didn't even make progress in the market they already owned: desktops.  People aren't going to think, "Wow, that was a cr@p desktop OS, I think I'll get a phone with it!"  Unless most desktops are the OS that they want to push on Tablets and Phones, they are wasting their time. 

 

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13500

 
OP  5/26/14 9:49:05 AM#18

One thing about DRAM is that if the device is on, the memory is always on and always burning power.  More memory means more power to run it.  In a desktop, that's a rounding error, but in a phone, it's not.

Another notable comment about memory is that Android is currently 32-bit.  I'm not sure if the latest version of iOS is as well; the latest iPad (not mini) is the first 64-bit ARM chip ever released.  So that limits how much memory you can have for those operating systems.

  Hulluck

Novice Member

Joined: 1/19/13
Posts: 447

5/26/14 9:54:43 AM#19
Originally posted by lizardbones
Originally posted by Ridelynn

I think it's a simple case of too little too late here. MS had a huge opportunity with Windows 8/RT release to show some tight integration and synergy between desktop and tablet, and somehow in the implementation they pretty much managed to alienate both crowds at the same time.

We've already got two dominating systems here, yet another "Me Too" isn't going to come along and get any traction - free or otherwise.

Now, if they can come out with Windows 9 and actually fix all that neat synergy stuff that is supposed to happen between PC and tablet - then they could make some waves. You have to can't just come in and do the same things everyone else does - even if you do it better you aren't breaking into the market. You have to do something no one else can do. Microsoft is uniquely poised to deeply integrate their tablet (RT) OS into their desktop OS (at least more so than throwing Metro on top of the desktop and calling it integrated). That's something that even Apple hasn't really managed to do yet with iOS and OS X, and Google is trying to push with their cloud services (although isn't quite there yet either).

 

Their poor showing as a Desktop OS didn't help things at all.  Windows 8 was supposed to be a complete, end to end ecosystem, and it didn't even make progress in the market they already owned: desktops.  People aren't going to think, "Wow, that was a cr@p desktop OS, I think I'll get a phone with it!"  Unless most desktops are the OS that they want to push on Tablets and Phones, they are wasting their time. 

 

Have to agree. It took me so long to get Windows 8 setup and how I wanted it after I first installed.  I don't go through systems or upgrades very often. Twelve hours straight on just the O/S (first night).  I actually didn't realize at the time that the sun was coming up. I should have been able to jump from 7 into 8  and essentially not skip a beat.  Been able to look at it, with no frustration and notice the new features while essentially being familiar with the interface and how it works. Something Windows for the most part standardized.  When I went from XP to 7 the transition was painless. I was searching for hours online trying to figure out how to get my O/S to work like previous versions with 8. 

  fivoroth

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/10/06
Posts: 2820

5/26/14 11:05:26 AM#20

I never understood the big hate for windows 8. I have used Windows XP, Vista and 7 extensively and I don't think it's nearly as bad as VIsta.

When I switched from 7 to 8, the one thing I noticed is that the Windows is almost exactly the same. I just don't know why people say they couldn't figure it out. It works in the exactly same was as Windows 7 except for that start menu.

The start menu provides you with exactly the same productivity as the current app screen they have. You can boot to desktop and the app screen looks way better than the start menu and it can be navigated in the exactly same way.

What even shocked me was people complaining that they couldn't figure out how to search. Really? It works exactly the same way as in Windows 7. Press start button and start typing. 

Anyways Microsoft are in a position in which they are not used to - aka being the underdog in the mobile industry.

There are many things to like about their OS though. It provides more customisation options than iOS. It looks more modern than both Android and iOS. Android for all it's supposedly glorious customisation is still using the standard grid of icons found on iOS. Sure you can put on some bloatware like widgets and stuff to customise it but tiles seem vastly superior.

Windows OS also runs better than Android. I have had a Galaxy S2, S4 and Nexus 5 and always found Android to be laggy and powe hungry compared to iOS. Windows is as smooth as iOS, has a modern look and has some interesting customisation options.

However, I still think it will be very difficult for them to change things. iOS became popular because it was the first kid on the block. They popularised the whole idea of what we see in current smartphones. Android became popular because manufacturers simply couldn't use iOS as Apple restricted it to its own devices. It was also free and you could find some really cheap Android smartphones.

Windows doesn't seem to have a way of penetrating the market. iOS dominates the high end market, Android dominates the low and mid end market. Also Microsoft needs to overcome the whole app problem. Android and iOS have so many apps and WIndows is missing key apps. 

Oddly enough even Android still hasn't caught up to iOS in terms of apps. There are still a lot of iOS app exclusives and it seems that all apps either launch simultaneously or they launch on iOS first. They only reason why an app would not be on the iOS store is if Apple doesn't allow it or it's not possible given the current iOS restrictions.

Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

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