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).
M'soft would run a big risk getting an early black eye on Surface from sophisticated Japan consumers turning their noses down at a device that has good quality but sells in part by being a cheaper alternative to an iPad or a tablet from local giants like Toshiba and Sony.
Better strategy for M'soft is to build demand in more cost sensitive markets and see if it can build envy-demand in Japan.
It will be interesting to watch how this plays out!
Junko, look at the bottom of the first page of your article. The comma is indeed off one place.
I find these new type of tablets to have gobs of potential. Hard to imagine that they would flop. Even if Win8 itself doesn't appeal to everyone, at least in its initial Service Pack 0.
Yes, 10,000 yen = $126. The comma is NOT wrong.
These Japanese PC/tablets mentioned in the article, except for Fujitsu' Arrow Tab, have been developed as a new generation of notebook PC that can be also used as a tablet.
Indeed, the pricing seems very high; but they are priced for the Japanese domestic market, and the current yen-U.S. dollar exchange rate wouldn't help, either.
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