Yes, it starts with M. No, it’s not the forbidden M-word (aka Metro). The word is multitenant and here’s why I think it’s the most important feature for me and hopefully for a lot of other consumers too.
I have a family of 3. We own one iPad. Technically it belongs to my wife, so it’s configured with her accounts. There’s no way I’m logging in and out of all the twitters, facebooks and googles of the world on every use. So I barely use that iPad. On the other hand, there’s no way I’m buying a $600 consumption device for every member of the household. And sub-$200 Android devices are either crap, or US-centric (Kindle Fire, Nexus 7) content-wise, or both.
Maybe I live in some bubble, but in my world 90%+ of the people I know can’t go by with just a consumption device. My daughter needs to create a lot of stuff for school, make music, videos and other teenager hobby stuff. My wife enjoys fine control of editing her photos, blogging, etc. They are not power users on any scale, but “post-PC era” is not ready for their basic needs just yet.
So we are going to have at the very least 2 PCs of some sort in our home in the foreseeable future. We all have smartphones for our “computing” needs on the go. So the best niche for a tablet in our household I can see is something you may call a second screen device – a companion for hanging on the sofa watching TV, or a vacation device, or “a coffee table” device – a replacement for a stack of magazines on a coffee table.
And for these uses one device is more than enough. It just has to support an effortless way of switching profiles for every one of it’s frequent users. And Windows RT (whether it’s on Microsoft Surface or some other slate) does just that perfectly (at least I assume it does ;)