My, how quickly the tables can turn in the fickle world of consumer technology.
When Microsoft’s designers and engineers took to the drawing board to dream up Windows 8, the 9.7-inch iPad was the 800-pound gorilla of the tablet market, gobbling an insane amount of market share and laughing at Android’s attempts to break Apple’s stranglehold on slates. The future, it seemed, lay in big screens.
Then the Kindle Fire, the Nook tablet, and Google’s Nexus 7 appeared. Consumers fell in love with smaller, cheaper tablets overnight, and on October 23, 2012, Apple capitulated to popular demand and released an iPad mini of its own.
Three days later, Microsoft released Windows 8 to the public. With a design optimized for 10-inch-plus displays, it was already behind the times.