Do Nearly Half of Americans Really Want a Windows Tablet?

One survey says yes and another seems to buttress the notion of a non-Apple tablet. No wonder Windows 8 is turning into a tablet OS first.

The iPad is the runaway success story of the tablet market. So why did a recent survey found almost half of people polled want a Windows-based tablet? It could be there is a desire for a real alternative.

Incredibly, this survey was not done by Microsoft, it was done by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In a survey of U.S. and Chinese consumers, the firm asked "Which operating system do you prefer on your tablet?" Their choices were Windows, iOS, Android, Blackberry, webOS and Meego.

The results weren't even close. Windows was tops with U.S. consumers at 42 percent, with iOS a distant second at 27 percent and Android at 20 percent. In China, 44 percent said they wanted a Windows tablet compared to 34 percent for iOS.

This isn't the first survey to find there is a clear wanting for an alternative to iOS and something other than Android. All Things Digital was the first to note that Forrester Research conducted a poll earlier this year and found that 46 percent of users would prefer a Windows tablet over other operating systems.

What it really shows is the Windows brand is still a good one, and that there is a desire for a good alternative to iOS and Android isn't it. Speaking purely anecdotally, I find that if you split Android users into the techie and non-techie camps, the techies love it and have the skills and ability to make it work, while the non-techie camp can't stand it and find it confusing.

There's lots of beautiful hardware out there. The problem is they lack a good OS on top of them. This is something Apple always knew and better not forget in a post-Jobs era. I would bet money that if Johnny Ive built a new tablet, different from the iPad but with his usual brilliance, and you put Android on it, it still wouldn't sell.

So it will fall to the "reimagined" Windows 8, with its built-in App Store and Microsoft brand name, to bring the fight to Apple. The tablet market is in its infancy and it seems like a lot of people are willing to wait.

One of the things BCG found is that the tablet market is set double in size in the United States by 2013, but it won't come from eating Apple's share. Instead, Microsoft will grow the market on its own and attract many first-time tablet buyers.

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