Microsoft is preparing to officially announce new members of its Surface family of tablets on Monday, and the company is hoping to have its hardware used more by schools and government organizations. Standing in the way of that goal are a wave of cheap tablets made by a ton of different OEMs that use the Android OS.
In a white paper published by Microsoft this week (in PDF format), the company tries to make the case that educational intuitions and government agencies would be better off buying a Windows 8 tablet rather than an Android device. One piece of concern is with security. Microsoft claims:
Most Android devices still feature a user selectable setting to allow installation of apps from unknown (unsigned) sources – enabling and encouraging third party app stores such as the Amazon (Android) App Market or various app stores offering pirated apps. However, this opening also enables malware, and with Android malware threats growing by over 30,000 over the last year alone, the security risks could be significant.
The paper also points out that security updates for Android tablets are fragmented thanks to different schedules for OEMs and wireless carriers. By contrast, all Windows 8 tablets are updated at the same time by Microsoft with no such need to go through a PC maker or wireless network’s timetable.
In addition, Microsoft’s paper makes the case that productivity on Windows tablets is better than Android-based solutions, thanks largely to the familiarity people have with Office applications. Microsoft says that Android apps sometimes need extra code to be written so they will work well with existing documents and apps.
Ultimately, Microsoft says that the cheap prices of Android tablets are the only real incitement for schools and governments but that using Windows tablets for their needs is a better choice in the long run.