As you all know, Microsoft is hard at work making sure Windows 8 runs well on tablets, including a completely new, Windows Phone 7-like Metro user interface. Another similarity between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7, apparently, is that Microsoft will be controlling the hardware experience rather tightly. This all comes from Acer CEO J. T. Wang.
Acer is, of course, one of the most prominent hardware partners for Microsoft, and for Windows 8 tablets, too, the company is working together with Microsoft. However, whereas Acer can pretty much build whatever it wants with Windows regular, Windows 8 for tablets comes with some very strict hardware requirements – too strict, even, according to Wang.
They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process,â€ Wang told BloomBerg at Computex, the trade show in Taiwan which currently comes down to tablets, tablets, tablets. Both chip makers and hardware partners “all feel it’s very troublesome”, according to Wang.
I guess this is the backlash that was to be expected. PC makers have had an insane amount of freedom when it comes to making computers, and now, for the first time, they have to face a stricter and more controlling software supplier. Even with Android they’ve been relatively free to do as they please, but if the same rules applying to Windows Phone 7 will be applied to Windows 8 on tablets, then they’re in for something new: resolutions, RAM, GPU, storage, and a whole load of other things could all be mandated by Microsoft.
Just like with Windows Phone 7, I see this as a good thing. Despite the strict requirements for WP7, there’s a diverse set of devices to choose from, and compatibility excellent, and while the first update was blemished by Samsung failing to make decent firmware, it went perfectly fine for all other phones – a far cry from Android’s mess. Tablets are more like phones than regular computers to me, so having a similar restricted hardware experience seems like a logical choice.
The iPad has a huge lead right now, and if the first Win8 tablet is a cheap piece of crap, the OS will be written off with no fair trial. Microsoft is well aware of this, and wants to prevent it from happening.