TOKYO – When Microsoft’s Surface tablet is launched worldwide on Oct. 26, it will be a no-show in Japan.
Is Microsoft snubbing Japan because of its growing irrelevance as a market? Or is Microsoft wary about its Surface tablet flopping in Japan? At the same time, Japanese companies are rushing to release a host of Windows 8 tablets and PCs during the fourth quarter.
Speculation abounds here concerning the software giant’s first tablet. Surface will go on sale in eight markets including the United States and the U.K. In Asia, Microsoft will roll it out in China and Hong Kong, but not in Japan.
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Microsoft has only said it is “undecided” about releasing the Surface tablet in Japan.
Analysts said Microsoft will forgo a launch here this year as it cooperates with Japanese manufacturers in hopes of promote sales of its new Win 8 operating system. Microsoft will launch Windows 8 on Oct. 26.
Domestic PC manufacturers including NEC., Fujitsu and Toshiba unveiled new models this week for winter shopping season. Despite a growing debate over the end of PC era, Japanese companies are hanging their hat on Windows 8 in hopes it will fuel growth in an increasingly saturated market.
Fujitsu has unveiled a series of consumer tablets called Arrows Tab. Just 9.9-mm thick, Fujitsu claims it to be “the world’s thinnest” Windows 8 tablet, equipped with such features as water resistance and an eye-tracking sensor. The eye-tracking feature enables an interface that’s getting a lot of attention here: Users can scroll the screen in all four directions by simply moving their eyes. The machine will sell for 100,000 yen ($1,263).
Fujitsu's water-proof, eye-tracking Arrow Tab