I took a tour of retail outlets in Ireland this morning to see what splash Windows 8 had made. And when I got back to the office, I found that Microsoft had sent us a batch of cup cakes to celebrate:
So what sort of splash has Windows 8 made? I visited 4 outlets, 2 from ChainA and 2 from ChainB. The two chains always build in the same business parks so that made it easy.
In my local retail park, ChainA got me really down. They had 20-30 laptops there, almost all being big classic Windows 7 devices, the stereo typical thing that the iPad and Macbook have been crushing lately. They had 3 Windows 8 models on sale: 2 Lenovos and a Tosh ultrabook. None had touch at all.
Next door, ChainB was stocking mostly Windows 8 product. Any remaining Windows 7 product was marked for clearance. They’d been clever, pricing their product to clear so they would be competitive after the GA of Windows 8. The Lenovo 27” AiO was there *drools*. Forget the Dell One AiO. The Lenovo is beautiful and impressive. You have not live until you have done a 27” pinch zoom in Maps to go from continent level to neighbourhood detail.
They also had a Sony T13 Ultrabook with touch. I’m considering this as my Asus UX31 replacement … cos we are Sony distributors and I can buy from stock The Sony slider was there too.
Here I chatted with a part-time trainee sales guy who was a student. I showed him how, using Windows 8 devices he could take notes in OneNote and run the camera app to record a lecture in class. His eyes opened and that’s when he revealed that he has Dyslexia and has trouble taking notes. Windows 8 side-by-side apps to the rescue – and I am not doing hyperbole here. I wonder if MSFT considered this when they demonstrated the student scenario at the Surface launch.
Off to Dublin to visit 2 headline outlets for ChainA and Chain B where Microsoft Ireland had brought the press this morning. There was a Microsoft presence here to do customer demonstrations.
In ChainB, they continued to have lots of Windows 8 stock as in the rural outlet. They also had a mix of classic laptops (no touch) running Windows 8 in all sizes, some of which had the larger gesture (touch) pads with Windows 8 gesture support. Asus and Samsung ultrabooks on hand did not have touch/gesture support. The funny moment was when a customer came in and asked a sales guy if they had sold out of Surfaces; Surface is only in Microsoft stores (they only exist in the USA at the moment) and in select Microsoft Online Stores. The UK online store will not accept Irish billing addresses – we tried in the office.
EDIT: This outlet of ChainB opened for 2 hours at midnight last night. They did a full day’s business in those 2 hours and considered it worthwhile. I was surprised but happy.
Back in ChainA, and about 25% of this headline outlet’s stock was Windows 8, but not one of them was touch enabled.
Who’s to blame? It appears that the manufacturer’s let the side down. I know that certain stock has not made it to Ireland, and I’ve just heard that even the UK (considered one of the major Microsoft markets) is undersupplied. The demand is there – the shops were active when they opened the doors and I can hear our sales people on the floor dealing with retail outlets around the country. Windows 8 is trending on Twitter. The online media are talking about Microsoft and Windows 8 devices. The radio in Ireland is talking about Microsoft, Windows 8, new devices, and their 27th anniversary on this island (including that part of Windows 8 was developed a few KMs from where I’m sitting). And some big names in Ireland, such as the GAA (our biggest sports organisation with a very nice multimedia app), the Irish Times, etc, had apps published in the store in the last few days.
Here is the most depressing thing: there is not one Windows 8 tablet for sale in the country. So Time Square might have been buzzing last night, but in my personal opinion (and I am not speaking for my employers), the manufacturers let the side down and missed out on a lot of momentum this morning. That’s what I heard from them – and I know we can’t blame the channel.
Maybe stock will start coming in next week, maybe next month. I’ll post something when it does.
On a positive note: go find a Lenovo 27” AiO and do a 27 inch pinch zoom on a Windows 8 app
EDIT: Dell Ireland is accepting orders for the XPS 10 Windows RT tablet – my preferred option because of the rigid keyboard.