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Google and Apple and Amazon are all pushing hard for the mini-tablet class of devices, but Microsoft will be sitting this one out.
As first reported by Wired, the Windows maker is planning on tablets of 10.1-inch screen sizes or larger for its Windows 8 launch.
This information comes courtesy of Microsoft Windows group VP and CFO Tami Reller, who confirmed to a reporter that Microsoft is staying solidly out of the 7-inch space — at least for now.
That smaller tablets are already wildly popular with consumers is beyond question. Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets have been selling like the proverbial hotcakes since their launch. And Google’s Nexus 7 tablets have seen huge demand from consumers, as well.
As for the just-launched iPad mini, analysts are already predicting Apple will see demand that outstrips supply.
And a recent study shows that the smaller tablets are leading to more pageviews and engagement from users.
But perhaps the most attractive part of the 7-inch class is — let’s be quite realistic — the more accessible price points. Ranging in the $150-$300 neighborhood, these devices give a broad swath of consumers access to fun, useful gadgets that, while still not price-accessible to the vast majority of Earth’s population, are appropriate for the budgets of more families and individuals around the U.S. and the world — a lot more appropriate than, say, an LTE-supporting iPad or a larger Android tablet.
So, is Windows, the most popular operating system in the world, sitting out a big opportunity to get into the hands of more consumers with a more affordable, accessible device? Or is it sitting out a stupid fad — the laserdisc of tablets, if you will?
Time will tell, and we’ll keep an eye on what Microsoft has planned for Windows tablets in the near future.