The first Windows 8 tablets are expected to come to market in the fourth quarter of the year, but much speculation has already abound on whether these models will be priced competitively enough to steal market share from Apple’s iPad or lesser rivals running Google’s Android.
That fear has returned again today, as tech website VR-Zone reports that Microsoft intends to charge OEM manufacturers $85 per license to get their hands on Windows 8 RT, which is the version for ARM-powered tablets.
The source believes that this will have a knock-on effect, with tablet manufacturers essentially having to raise the Windows 8 tablet prices to between $500 and $800 to make a profit. By comparison, Apple’s iPad 2 is priced at $399, while the new iPad starts at $499.
Should these prices turn out to be correct, tablet manufacturers adopting Microsoft’s latest OS may face an uphill struggle to attract consumers, especially when iOS and Android devices can be found cheaper. What with Windows 8 being promoted as the biggest update since Windows 95, consumers may also be unwilling to spend so much money on an untried platform, even with Microsoft expected to bundle its Office suite with Windows RT tablets for free.
Despite this, tablet and PC vendors seem to be genuinely excited about the future of Windows 8, with Michael Dell today telling delegates at a Gartner conference that Windows 8 represents an “evolutionary path for Windows into tablets”. Dell is one of many vendors thought to be considering rolling out Windows 8 tablets, with HP, Lenovo and Nokia also thought to be interested.