Microsoft’s 80-inch Windows 8 Tablet Targets Business Users

By | May 31, 2012

In a departure from the typical consumer-centric tablet wars, Microsoft says that it will launch an 80-inch Windows 8 tablet for businesses. The new form factor is designed to be hung on a wall; it has a touch screen; and it is envisioned as a way to take hold of and streamline the office space by functioning as a whiteboard, phone, notebook, sketch pad, and email and phone communications platform.

According to an article in Wired, Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system will run on a multitude of platforms, independent of their size, from smartphones up to the 80-inch screen and likely beyond. In the article, Microsoft Vice President Frank Shaw says, "Every screen should be touch, every screen should be a computer [....] Those screens are going to be big, small, wall-sized and desk-sized."

With the desktop computer seemingly becoming less useful to many employees with a preference for laptops and ultrabooks that can pack up and travel, an 80-inch form factor may still spark employee and IT interest. In particular, midsize companies, known for their agility, collaborative advantage, and forward-edge thinking, may want to re-envision the office space, particularly if the move to a jumbo-sized tablet could replace the desktop computer, phone, fax, paper, and whiteboards and reduce the number of operating systems that IT has to support. IT managers at midsize businesses will have to weigh the potential for cost savings gained from streamlining office operations and employee workspaces with the likely high cost to outfit every employee's office with an 80-inch tablet.

But not every office is likely to benefit from an 80-inch wall-mounted system. Software shops may do better with a high-powered desktop system. According to the Wired article, the performance features of the large tablet aren't clear. Furthermore, it is difficult to envision how writing massive amounts of code on a very large wall-mounted system might be anything less than tedious and neck-straining. Another consideration is the sheer size of the device compared to the typical size of an office at a midsize business. Outside of the conference room, an 80-inch device might not find wall space large enough to accommodate it.

Running IT operations is a particular area where a wall-mounted oversized tablet may be a perfect fit. IT shops typically have desktop setups with multiple screens to run and keep track of multiple IT processes. The extra-large form factor would keep the view of IT operations all in one place and in the visual forefront.

Although no release date is set for the 80-inch Windows 8 tablet, IT managers at midsize companies that are looking into bringing tablets to the workplace may also want to consider what benefits an 80-inch tablet might bring to the office as well.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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