A new ad from Microsoft mocks iPads by comparing them unfavorably to tablets running Windows 8, which receive live updates on their Start screens, run office apps, display two apps at a time and support Microsoft Office applications things iPads don't do.
The ad has the hapless iPad acknowledging a string of things it can't do until it finally asks (in the voice of iPad's Siri interface) "Should we just play Chopsticks'?"
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The ad hearkens back to an earlier iPad Mini ad in which a "Chopsticks" duet is played on both an iPad and and IPad mini.
The ad wraps up with a display of the price of an iPad ($699) and the price of a 64G Asus Vivo Tab Smart ($449) the message being that for $250 less, you can get a machine that does more.
It's interesting that the ad doesn't use the comparable $899 Surface Pro tablet made by Microsoft as a reference.
Low usage of Windows Store apps
Microsoft says it has more than 65,000 apps in its Windows Store inventory that are designed specifically for use on Windows 8 machines. The catch is that they don't get used that often, according to a report by Soluto, a Web-based PC-management service provider.
Based on data gathered from 10,848 Windows 8 devices, Soluto found that users were more likely to fire up Windows Store apps if they were working on a tablet or touchscreen laptop than if they were working on a desktop or non-touch laptop (see graphic).
How many times a day will a Windows 8 user launch a Metro App?
Soluto hasn't crunched the data yet about how often non-Windows Store (Metro) apps are launched, but suspects it is significantly higher, says Roee Adler, chief product officer for Soluto.
What were those apps? The most used was Yahoo! Mail, which was launched on average 26.91 times per week, followed by Social Jogger (25.98), Social Networks (21.19) and Lync MX (9.98).
Most users of desktops, laptops and touchscreen laptops didn't average launching a Windows Store app even once per day, and 44.38% of tablet users fell into the same category.
What does Soluto make of this? "There's a consensus in the market that Windows 7 was a good, solid operating system, and it's unclear why the change to Windows 8 was needed for those who are happy with Windows 7," the report says. "If you're pragmatic about using the Windows operating system with a keyboard and mouse - there's no rush. Wait and see what "Windows Blue" has in store for us before you upgrade."
Look for Surface tablets on NFL sidelines
Rather than stalking up and down the sidelines referring to laminated play charts NFL coaches may soon use Microsoft Surface tablets.Microsoft has signed a five-year, contract to pay the NFL $400 million to improve interactive features between football viewing and its new Xbox device. After that, the deal is expected to place Surface tablets in the hands of coaches, according to a story by the Associated Press.
For Microsoft this will primarily serve as a TV showcase for its technology and serve as a kind of advertising for the devices. Microsoft has already engaged Surface product placement, most notably in an episode of the ABC siticom show "Suburgatory" in which the device was actually written into the script as a love interest for the main character.
Microsoft will also place its branding on referees' instant-replay devices and other areas along the sidelines, the AP says.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.
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