As I am writing this post, I’ve just caught a glimpse of a news story on Google News that says Samsung’s Series 7 Chronos Ultrabook is now available in US for $1200. A good news is that it’s actually $100 cheaper than the Chromebook Pixel which was only recently unveiled, thanks to Windows 8 which is several times more functional than Chrome OS.
But there’s also a really bad side to the story too and you might’ve already guessed it and that’s the price (yes in this case as well). At $1200, its as expensive as the MacBook Pro with Retina display and that’s not great news as the Mac will always sell better because of almost total supremacy in that price bracket.
Both parties, i.e. Microsoft and its O.E.Ms are to be blamed for these high prices. They’ve yet to make a laptop which is super-cheap and still runs Windows 8 well. That’s the reason why more and more Chromebooks are taking the place of Windows in the lower-end price category despite having several times less features.
Samsung’s cheap $249 Chromebook is constantly at the top spot in Amazon’s laptop category while Toshiba’s Satellite is the only Windows 8 laptop in the top five and that too costs around $350. What’s more, is that in the top five, only MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are the only tablets that cost a premium.
The O.E.Ms, however, are a bit reluctant to sell products at a premium too as Microsoft’s licensing fee is itself quite high. The amount it charges from manufacturers ‘per system’ can go up to $100 which means companies will have to sell their products for high prices to earn profits. Both sides will have to realise quickly that customers want low-priced Windows systems.
Updating is expensive too. Windows 8 Pro alone will cost you Rs. 14,199 online at Shophive while the Windows 8 retails for Rs. 10,199 there (you might find it cheaper elsewhere). That’s not anything new though as previous Windows versions have been known to be priced aggressively too. However, Windows 8’s Modern (or Metro) UI will require you to buy a touchscreen monitor for the complete experience which will make the already-big-dent in your wallet larger. No, cheaper Windows 8 laptops are not a choice as they offer sluggish performance.
The software itself can get confusing if you’re stranger to tech or even just an average user. The scrapping of the Start Menu is just one joint of the chain. The OS itself constantly shifts randomly between tablet and desktop configurations. Internet Explorer, for instance comes in two versions.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a fan on Windows 8 and will prefer the OS over OS X or Chrome OS anytime but these problems are something which are constantly posing a threat to its success. Problems related to operating system are not easy to solve but that’s not impossible. Third-party software can make your life easier but downloading and installing them prove to be hectic for an average user.
There is currently only one expensive laptop line-up which people buy with their eyes closed and that is the MacBook range. At the same price point as the MacBook, Windows ultrabooks do offer more functionality and software library but with these issues, I don’t think Microsoft can convert people and their money towards themselves, at least not in next one year.