Microsoft will launch a new Lumia 8 inch tablet in March 2019, running Android, and designed to compete with a number of new offerings from competitors.
Lumia 8 inch tablet
The new 8 inch tablet from Microsoft will compete against a range of new offerings from competitors including the iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab A, and others from Lenovo, LG, Google, and the popular Asian brands.
We can expect the Lumia tablet to feature:
An 8 inch touchscreen with finger and pen input
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series processor
An SD card slot for additional storage
USB-C port for charging and accessories
Seven hour battery life
Android Pie operating system
Access to the Microsoft Android Store
Access to the Google Play Store
Amazon Alexa voice assistant features
In late 2018, we are seeing evidence of Microsoft transitioning away from Cortana and adopting Amazon Alexa as a voice assistant. This is happening across Microsoft's voice enabled products, including Windows 10, smart speakers, IoT devices, and home automation accessories.
Given Amazon's lead in this area, it's not surprising that Microsoft would choose Amazon Alexa, rather than partnering with Google or Apple to replace Cortana.
Many home automation products such as light bulbs, speakers, and smart appliances already work with Alexa; and many Alexa-enabled devices also work cross-platform with Google Assistant.
In early 2019, a range of new laptop and desktop computers will emerge from OEMs like HP, Lenovo, LG, Acer, ASUS, Dell, and others, running updated versions of Windows 10. At that time, we're likely to see Cortana branding fade away, and Alexa become more prominent. Expect to see Alexa-enabled stickers on new PCs in stores, and in television advertising from Microsoft.
Microsoft and Android
While it may seem unusual to some readers that Microsoft would release an Android tablet, it starts to make sense when you consider that Microsoft owns patents over the core technology of the Android operating system, and has previously used those patents to obtain fees from Android OEMs such as Google and Samsung.
Microsoft and Lumia
Microsoft obtained the rights to the Lumia brand when it purchased Nokia in 2013-2014, in an effort to bolster its Windows Phone offering, way back in the days when Stephen Elop was at Nokia, and Steve Ballmer was CEO at Microsoft.
While Microsoft has since sold off the majority of the assets it acquired as part of the Nokia deal, it still holds a number of patents, licences, and other artifacts from its ownership of Nokia's mobile phone division.
To avoid confusion between WIndows and Android, consumer marketing for the device will focus on the Lumia brand, the Android operating system, its software features, and physical features.
Don't expect to see strong Microsoft branding on these devices, as is seen with the Surface product line. Microsoft will be wanting an invisible wall between its Lumia Android devices and its Windows-based Surface and PC products.
Expect to see products announced in early 2019 (January) and become available in March 2019.
Until next time,