Having received modest interest and a total bath on their first tablet products, Surface and PlayBook, various reports suggest Microsoft and BlackBerry will be trying again to compete with the tablet giants soon.
Microsoft Looking Smaller
To compete with the raft of tablets, phablets and other gadgets out there, Microsoft has made some changes to its hardware template profiles, which should allow partners to create a new range of tablet devices. With Windows Blue update now the focus of attention for the press, the Windows 8 ecosystem partners have to do some hard yards to build up the user base.
While the range of Surface Pro and RT devices might still be doing a modest trade, there seems to be acknowledgement that the Windows 8-cabal needs to spread the load and focus across all budget levels. So, the message to box builders that Windows 8 will now support, "a consistent minimum resolution of 1024 x 768 at a depth of 32 bits across all Windows 8 system form factors." suggests that smaller 7" and 8" devices are on the way.
These new tablets will be needed to help Windows 8 compete against Amazon's Kindle Fire, the Google Nexus and other price-competitive devices. Such a relatively primitive resolution would disable a few Windows 8 features like app snapping. Will Microsoft be producing its own lighter Surface devices to grow the family or leave this one to partners.
BlackBerry Thinking Enterprise?
Despite having mentioned sales of 370,000 PlayBooks in its last quarter, BlackBerry wrote down its loss on the tablet product some time ago. The new BlackBerry 10 platform gives it a clean slate to start off with and a company road-map suggests a tablet will be following on along with a phablet-type device in Q3/4 after the launch of the Q10 keyboard-phone.
BlackBerry will likely maintain its primary-enterprise focus, despite all the apps and new media services it is adding to its store line-up. While BlackBerry will barely be playing in the same field as iPad and Kindle Fire, generating a respectable enterprise business for tablets is all part of the company's regeneration, and if consumers come along for the ride, all the better.
Certainly, things will be a lot more interesting later in the year as all these devices aim to differentiate themselves in a rapidly maturing market. And, all eyes will be on Apple's next announcement to see if there is any further evolution to had in the tablet market.