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How IT can prepare for Windows 8-packing millennials

Rob Enderle | Oct. 1, 2012
At a recent Intel event held to showcase upcoming Windows 8 hardware, Lauren Berger, blogger and author of "All Work No Play," delivered the opening presentation. Berger's topic was the life of a millennial, a group she considers herself a part of. As I am from a different, older generation, I don't have the same insight into millennials that Berger has. She is far better explaining what this powerful group of buyers is looking for than I would be.

In short they want instant but, as long as they aren't waiting, they will act as if it is even when it isn't. Their assumption appears to be that someone may be getting their email instantly because they see their email as soon as they open up the application. Even though the email they see may have been there for hours, they see it as instant and likely attribute any delay to the other user who they likely think is also multi-tasking.

Throughout the day she stays connected and is active on a variety of communications products (this really drove home to me why we, if we want to drive safely, really need self-driving cars. Communicating while walking, while eating, and even while talking to someone else over some form of electronic media is common, which suggests that for some people doing it while driving is likely common.

The Millennial

This gives us a profile of someone who wants to be connected all of the time. Wants to be able to run everything everywhere and wants consistency in experience, but variety in execution (so they get the best of commonality and individuality). But, like prior generations did, they will likely group around designs (much like they now appear grouped around Apple), but likely won't like designs favored by their parents (showcasing a long-term Apple problem). And, based on Lauren as an example, they have way too much energy.

Intel Windows 8 Showcase

Intel is clearly positioning the Windows 8 offerings against this millennial audience. Products that have substantial breadth in terms of applications compatibility yet still provide very slim designs and long battery life.

Acer, Asus and Samsung showcased convertible tablets that are thought to be the keystone product for Windows 8. With attachable keyboards they can convert from laptop to small notebook. In tablet mode they are similar to the iPad in size and performance and with the keyboard they are in line with an ultra-light notebook. This form factor has the broadest utility but also the sharpest screen size limitation in this class. Of the vendors in this group I like Samsung's Windows 8 line best because it spans all product types from phones to PCs and best anticipates the message that Windows 8 will likely drive, of "getter together" and creating a family approach that showcases why this company scares Apple.

HP showcased a high-end version of this concept, more robust, with what appears to be more money spent on both making the product look richer and providing a stronger touchpad. This will likely sell at a premium over Acer and Asus's offerings and closed it looks close to a MacBook. They are clearly targeting the traditional Apple class of buyer seeking products that convey status.


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