So we’ve all heard about Windows 8’s woes and how it has thus far failed to be the savior of the PC industry. In fact, both IDC and Gartner released the PC market’s final sales numbers for 2012 showing that global PC shipments declined by 4.9% (Gartner) or 6.4% (IDC), depending on which firm you follow. The question for market watchers and PC-makers alike has been downgraded from whether Windows 8 is a PC savior, to will Windows 8’s acceptance even ever happen? With that as the backdrop of my story, I prepared for my first ever CES and was hoping to see some crazy desktop designs and exciting new features that would entice consumers to buy into Windows 8. What I saw at CES, however, was much like Windows 8’s release – disappointing! Many of the desktops I saw had similar designs as I had seen in retail for the past two months with minor specification tweaks for the new year. Ouch! Other than Lenovo’s 27-inch Horizon Table and Asus’ Transformer AIO (that was announced months before), for the most part, all of the other desktop manufacturers seem to be entering 2013 in much of the same way they left 2012; cautious and waiting for Windows 8 to gain acceptance.
Microsoft’s latest operating system has been given many nicknames, including Windows 8, Win8, and what I’m now calling “W8 and see”. The final moniker seems to be the current theme for desktop makers. Some vendors are hopeful that Windows 8 will catch on by the second half of 2013, while others went as far as to say they are “considering other options” – and thus, have all but given up on the new OS.
PC manufacturers haven’t deserted the desktop segment, but they are putting it on hold while they wait and see what the market is going to do with Windows 8 before they devote more time and resources to it. In the meantime, PC-makers are keeping busy either trying to decide if they want to jump into the phone and tablet markets, or, for those already in those markets, to continue to develop and heavily push their mobile devices.
In closing, “W8 and see” is the current state of the desktop market, with similar desktop designs, features, and technologies to come in 2013. My question is, how are consumers going to fall in love with Windows 8 desktops when the new units are similar to the ones they have already seen? What’s going to change? Is Windows 8’s appeal a just a matter of time thing, or do PC-makers need to make changes to their designs, features, and approach to help Windows 8 succeed in winning over the market?