New Windows tablets are an interesting proposition. The current tablets that sport Windows 7 are not exactly the greatest thing ever and the costs are too high to justify a purchase. With Surface, Microsoft is issuing a challenge to both OEMs and those who look down on Windows 8.
It's no secret that OEMs are unhappy with the announcement of Surface. These companies were open about their ambitions to build the first line of Windows 8 tablets that took advantage of the Windows 8 UI. They probably never expected Microsoft to jump into the hardware market. They're now getting into the PC hardware market with tablets and it could be just the thing that these OEMs need.
Let's go back to the Windows 7 tablets. Windows 7 wasn't really built for tablets and the hardware itself wasn't exactly anything revolutionary. It was just as disappointing to see the planned Windows 8 tablets and realize it's the same hardware with a different OS.
The problem stems from OEMs becoming complacent with the status quo. Say what you will about Apple, but at least they're always tweaking the design and making hardware more fashionable and functional. The PC market never really tried to appeal to anybody outside of enterprise and students. That's a problem and Microsoft has obviously had enough of it.
When the Surface launches on October 26 alongside Windows 8, don't expect demand iPad-like demand. What you should expect is a Windows tablet that gets the hardware and price right. Even more exciting is that Microsoft has taken the lessons they learned from the Xbox and Xbox 360 and have applied them to Surface. Microsoft knows entertainment and how it works. That's going to be the Surface's greatest strength as it emerges into the tablet market.
That's what these traditional OEMs are scared of. They're not very good at making hardware that complements the software. Microsoft is showing them how it's done. They should stop complaining about Microsoft entering the OEM market and instead do something about it. It's kind of sad that it took competition from Microsoft to make OEMs seriously reconsider how they make hardware.