Windows 8 RT does not need to beat the ipad after all
indows 8 will be sold on most new consumer PC from Oct 26 on, consumers shopping for a low end laptop (399 - 599) will be faced with the choice of either a chunky laptop or a fancy and sleek Windows RT hybrid that is not only a laptop, but a tablet as well.
There are advantages and disadvantages on both propositions:
The main disadvantage of going with a Windows RT tablet will be of course, not been able to use legacy x86 applications, but that will be much less of an issue once the Apps store starts filling up, yet it becomes even more irrelevant due to the current trends of x86 apps, if you regularly visit once popular download sites like downloads.com or softpedia.com you will see what I'm talking about. Screen size could another while processing power and storage may play a roll as well.
The advantages list is enormous in the other hand, been the main ones: form factor, nicer hardware, battery life (2-3x), free Office, touch screen, better LCD panels, potentially better gaming performance than current low end x86 offerings (except AMD in the few models is offered) and full Windows 8 experience.
The value proposition of Windows RT tablets seems huge compared to same price point of x86 offerings. You may also argue that x86 if more capable and you would be absolutely right, but no one buys a 500 dollar laptop to run photoshop or play crysis, yet these hybrids will provide more than adequate performance for the avg person.
Cannibalizing this market will be a no brainier for OEMs and Microsoft, as margins in this price band are almost none existent, yet, they conform the bulk of PC users, last year the Avg PC laptop price was around 513 dollars http://blog.laptopmag.com/the-average-pc-laptop-cost-513-in-february . ARM based solution may provide a better margins than Intel's.
I would expect that most RT hybrids will be sold around the 450-550 dollars range including keyboard, as Today's offerings are around that price ( ASUS TF300T + Keyboard = 510 USD).
Of course a direct consequence of this approach will be to gain traction on the tablet space rapidly and cement a solid user base for the Windows 8 ecosystem.
I believe in a future where you can work and entertain in one device, I think that's the right approach to satisfy the IT needs of the average person. Laptops and desktops will stay here for a lot longer, but I've no doubt that they will be niche devices in a few years, I don't buy that multi-device future that some Analyst likes to talk about and I believe we will get there, I just can't wait.