Do Windows 8 Tablets Stand a Chance?

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Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology Analysis and Research at Creative Strategies, Inc, a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm located in Silicon Valley.

According to Comscore, tablets now represent 2% of all U.S. based internet traffic. The dominant contributor to tablet traffic is, of course, Apple’s iPad. In fact, according to Comscore, iPads delivered 97.2 percent of all tablet traffic and even edged out iPhones in delivering the highest share of traffic for the iOS platform (46.8 percent vs. 42.6 percent of iOS traffic).

(MORE: Smartphones, Tablets Account for About 7% of Web Traffic Now)

Clearly tablets are here to stay, but where is the iPad’s competition? Given that Android tablets are yet to show a mass market success, perhaps the competition will have to come from Windows 8 tablets. The question is: Do Windows 8 tablets have a chance to succeed? Well, It may depend on HP.

Last week HP officially made the decision to keep their PC business and not sell or spin it off. This was a very good decision, in my opinion. Although HP and Microsoft have always remained strong partners, specifically in the area of personal computers, HP’s decision to purchase Palm and bring WebOS in-house caused many of us to believe HP wanted to control their own OS destiny.

It’s clear to me, though, how this story will most likely play out for HP: WebOS is basically dead in the water and HP is committing to develop Windows 8 tablets going forward. The decision for HP to keep the PC business in house is not only good for competition and consumers, but more importantly it will be good for Microsoft and Windows 8 in particular. HP is still the number one PC manufacturer and their commitment to Windows 8 holistically could do a lot for Microsoft’s new OS.

(MORE: HP Changes Its Mind, Won’t Spin Off PC Division)

This comes at a time when Microsoft is making the rounds, trying to rally partners to fully commit to Windows 8. I have heard some doubt and concern from PC and tablet manufacturers who have had some reservations about fully backing the new Windows OS. Even with that in mind, I have no doubt that all current PC manufacturers will back Windows 8 and charge forward with Microsoft, loading the new software on their notebooks and desktops.

However, if any product category in particular could be a winner with HP’s decision, it could be Windows 8 tablets. If HP gets behind this new tablet design and OS, it would help solidify Microsoft’s push with this category into the consumer and enterprise markets where tablets will become one of the major growth areas in the near future.

To be honest, HP is the best possible partner Microsoft can have in regards to Windows 8 tablets. Why? Because Android is out of the question for HP.

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