>Many folk don't read the fine print on that area. And the cost of
Windows is minimal in those machines. So little that folk get uppity
when the Linux laptops cost the same.<
Agreed, Bob. Computer makers pay much less for Windows than individuals, and the bigger the vendor, the more leverage they have to improve the deal ... although in the past Microsoft has been known to favor some big vendors over others.
I'm sure at least some vendors factor in a Windows installation charge into the price of their machines, and that charge probably has a relatively small amount of profit built into it. Not enough to make a big difference in the per-machine cost, but it adds up as they sell more computers.
Redesigning a tablet to take full advantage of Windows would add to the total cost too, of course, although I don't know if it would be more or less than the cost of Windows itself. Such redesign would almost certainly add to the weight and thickness too. Eventually we may see tablets divide into two subcategories: the current thin-and-light versions; and chunkier, more full-featured devices that will essentially supplant the current tablet PCs and may or may not run Windows.
As for Windows itself on tablets (and smartphones), I have said elsewhere that I think Microsoft should re-think its current strategy. Apple didn't redesign Mac OS, it came up with IOS -- yes, it has a similar look, but it is less functional and has a name that separates it from the company's "computer" operating system. Microsoft's Windows 8 may actually come in separate versions for PCs and other devices, but as I understand it the company is redesigning the interface so computers will look like tablets and phones. That sounds to me a little like "dumbing down" the Windows interface, and not at all necessary; Windows PC users already use non-Windows tablets and phones easily enough, and I think they could do the same on those devices with a well-designed Microsoft OS that isn't Windows. (I would want apps that let me review word-processing documents and spreadsheets on a phone or tablet, and make minor revisions; but actually generating a long document or spreadsheet on such small devices would be painful.)
As for the point of my thread-starter post, I have done additional homework and now accept that Android is more configurable than I thought at first. And recently released or announce Android devices have the connectivity and memory-expansion options I want. I'm still bothered that the hardware vendors still decide which Android versions users get -- and when they get them -- but I'll chalk that up to hardware limitations in first-generation Android devices, which will largely disappear as the smartphone and tablet platforms mature. I'd still like to see Linux (beyond just Android) in the game, though; competition is almost always a good thing for both the industry and consumers.
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