When Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system debuted this past year, many industry insiders expected that the company’s own branded Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets would act as the catalysts that the company needed to jumpstart is tablet market share. Of course, that never happened. While the Surface Pro went on to dominate the new convertibles segment of the Windows market, the Surface RT has mostly floundered thanks to its lack of app compatibility and lackluster processor.
Multiple Form Factors
Microsoft might have spent the first year of Windows 8’s life boasting about how it enabled multiple form factors, but until now it’s mostly been just the one-off tablet with a keyboard dock here, or the random laptop with a touchscreen there.
With today’s product announcements, Dell fully embraced the world of Windows 8. It now has everything from notebooks with touch technology, to tablets with add-on keyboards and everything in between. Other companies have dipped their proverbial toes in the water that is full Windows 8 support, but only Dell has really embraced the new Windows chassis spec across its entire portfolio. Even better, the company has done so at multiple price points.
No Windows RT
I am a believer in the long-term viability of Windows RT, but let’s be real. Outside of the Surface RT, which only sold modestly, Windows RT hasn’t exactly been a crowd pleaser.
Although, it’s likely that the relatively pricey nature of Windows RT tablets hindered early adoption, it’s more likely that users weren’t too thrilled about not having access to desktop applications when they need them. Dell, seems to have recognized this and gotten out of the market for Windows RT devices entirely. Instead, the company is turning to Intel’s Atom processors for great battery life and app compatibility in its tablets. It’s a smart move, one that I feel signals the short-term end of Windows RT as a viable platform for any device company not directly owned by Microsoft. Even Dell’s Venue 8 Pro, delivers a full Windows 8 experience in a 8-inch form factor.
Fully Embracing Change
Finally, Dell’s unveiling of its new mobile line feels like the first time Windows device manufacturers have embraced change beyond expensive novelty items. The company seems to have gone out of its way to embrace the new realities of the marketplace.
The entire line embraces the color options pioneered by other consumer electronics. The Dell XPS 11 includes a backlit touch keyboard that practically screams, “We’re embracing new technology where it makes sense.” The entire line also shares a common design aesthetic that borrows from the XPS 13, but also includes refinements where it makes sense. In the Windows world, neither of these things happen too often, and when they do the results are always successful.
Dell seems to have finally found a footing that doesn’t rely on just new processors and colorful marketing videos. These new machines are stylish yet modestly attractive, innovative yet functional. With Dell getting their act together, it’s only a matter of time before other hardware companies like Toshiba and Acer get their act together too. Lenovo and HP are already mostly there.
We Windows users don’t get to say this too often but, today is good day to be a Windows user.