Barnes & Noble, Amazon’s only legitimate competition in the eBook space, has announced its plans to spin off its NOOK and educational divisions into a new subsidiary, known tentatively as “Newco.” The book retailer will hold an 82.4% stake in the company, with the remaining 17.6% under the control of Microsoft, thanks to a $300 million investment. This strategic partnership also marks the end of a patent dispute between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft.
A Windows 8 NOOK app will be one of the first fruits of this joint venture, but the integration is rumored to go even deeper. The man spearheading this strategic partnership on the Microsoft side is none other than Andy Lees, who ran the company’s Windows Phone unit until he was mysteriously moved out of the role five months ago. There’s a very strong chance that the next NOOK reader might actually run Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8, rather than Android.
On a more lighthearted note, Brandon Watson, Microsoft’s former Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone who recently moved over to Amazon to work on Kindle, humorously tweeted that “There are other, cheaper, ways to let someone know you are mad they left.”
With the NOOK now in Microsoft’s camp, it’ll be interesting to see if the Redmond software giant leverages the brand to help Windows 8 tablets compete against the Kindle Fire, which continues to burn brightly.
[Microsoft PressPass via All About Microsoft]
We love tablets here at Anythingbutipad, but we know they aren’t perfect for every situation. Tablets provide a compelling experience for consuming content and media, and they work well for composing the occasional email or making a few edits to a document. But when we need to get real work done, we immediately switch to our laptop or desktop computer.
CrowdGather CEO Sanjay Sabnani recently expressed his satisfaction with Intel-based Ultrabooks like the sleek Acer Aspire S3, which manages to perfectly blend performance and portability. Sabnani calls his tablet and Ultrabook combination a “no compromise” solution, and we tend to agree with him. We live in a world where the best computing experience can be obtained by using tablets and laptops in tandem, rather than just one or the other.
The problem with this dual-device scenario, however, is that tablets and computers have radically different operating systems and user experiences. What’s more, switching between devices can be a bit of a pain. Apps, documents, settings, and more have to be configured on multiple devices, and keeping them in sync is a challenge. Android is purely a mobile operating system, RIM doesn’t manufacture BlackBerry laptops, and Windows tablets aren’t quite ready for prime time… yet.
HP announced on Thursday that it is not going to sell, spin off, or dissolve its PC division, known internally as the Personal Systems Group (PSG). This decision comes straight from newly-appointed HP CEO Meg Whitman, who took over for former CEO Léo Apotheker.
Apotheker surprised the industry in late August when he revealed that HP was discontinuing its line of webOS devices and solely looking to license the OS. This news was revealed alongside the statement that HP would be looking into how it would handle the future of the PSG.
According to Whitman, HP “needs to be in the tablet business.” That, however, does not mean those devices will be running webOS. The TouchPad line will not continue with webOS, as HP hasn’t yet decided what to do with operating system. Instead, HP plans to turn its focus toward Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8, which is being optimized for tablets and other touch screen devices.
Having spent some time with the Windows 8 developer preview, we can safely say that Windows 8 is shaping up to be an excellent tablet OS. Windows 8 tablets probably won’t be in stores until at least mid-to-late 2012, but they will be a major improvement over the current Windows 7 tablets.
We’re glad to hear that HP is sticking with its PCs and tablets, and we can’t wait to see what the company has in store.
[eWeek via Pocketables]
Believe it or not, most consumers would prefer a tablet running the Windows operating system, rather than something like Android or iOS. This shocking revelation–shocking, at least, to some people–comes by way of the Boston Consulting Group, which recently conducted a survey of preferred tablet operating systems.
The results speak for themselves. 42% of US consumers would prefer a tablet running Windows. This is followed iOS, the first pick for 27% of consumers, and Android, the tablet of choice for 20% of people stateside. BlackBerry, PalmOS, and Meego also garnered some consumer interest, but all were 10%. A separate poll by Forrester shows similar results for Windows tablets (46%), but dramatically lower interest for iOS (16%) and Android (9%).
Thankfully, Microsoft has a solution for these prospective customers. Windows has existed on tablets in one form or another for nearly a decade, but the next version of Windows, codenamed “Windows 8,” is specifically being designed with tablets in mind. Microsoft’s next OS will be a lightweight, fast, fluid, and versatile operating system. It will support nearly every input method imaginable, from the traditional mouse and keyboard to the increasingly popular touch interface. Even styluses will be supported.
Windows 8 tablets probably won’t hit stores until next fall, but when they do, consumers will undoubtedly be struck by how beautiful the reimagined interface is. Nearly half of consumers already want a Windows tablet, despite the fact that it rarely enters into everyday tablet discussions. How many more people will as well once Windows 8 hits the market?
[All Things D]