Windows 8, Microsoft Surface, iPad Mini Reshuffle Tablet Deck

After a whirlwind of a week that announced new iPads and Windows 8, the tablet market is now a different beast with more choices for consumers and businesses. CIO.com's Shane O'Neill went on NECN to discuss the evolving tablet space (video).

At the spirited but surprise-free Windows 8 launch last week in New York City, both of Microsoft's Steves (CEO Steve Ballmer and Windows chief Steven Sinofsky) were in full hyperbolic "best ever" mode.

As in (actual quotes):

"Windows 8 PCs are the best PCs ever," -Ballmer

"Microsoft Surface is the best PC ever and it's the best tablet ever." –Sinofsky

Ever.

OK so it's their job to generate excitement and sell products, but how can you say something is the "Best Ever" when it's NOT EVEN AVAILABLE YET?!?

This is why I don't work in sales. But I digress.

Now that Windows 8 is finally available to the public the genuine discussions are beginning, and back on Earth Microsoft faces major challenges with Windows 8 tablets and PCs, including a mostly indifferent public

However, Windows 8 also has the potential to streamline the tablet, PC and smartphone experience in the enterprise like no other company can.

To push the mobile envelope even further, Microsoft on Monday announced Windows Phone 8, an updated version of Microsoft's struggling smartphone OS that will share compatibility with Windows 8. 

If anything, Windows 8, Windows RT and Surface just made the increasingly competitive tablet market even more exciting, along with Apple's iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad announcements last week.

Consumers and businesses now have more tablets of various shapes and sizes at their disposal from Apple, Amazon, Google and, at long last, Microsoft. All this choice is great for you and me.

Microsoft now needs to beef up the Windows Store, a sparsely populated area within Windows 8 and Microsoft's Achilles' heel. Yet industry analysts say that the 9,000 apps now in the Windows Store is a sufficient amount for a launch and something to build on.

Last Friday, I was a guest on NECN (New England Cable News) to discuss these subjects and more with NECN Business host Mike Nikitas. Check it out below.

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