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Is Nextbook next big thing?

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Microsoft has announced the Nextbook tablet, with runs Windows OS 8.1 and has access to over 700 000 applications. The tablets are available from Makro store nationwide.

Demand for tablets remains relatively high within developing regions including South Africa, where local consumers crave larger screen mobile devices to surf the web, access multimedia plus social media on the go, and be productive from anywhere.

Microsoft, in conjunction with local retailer Makro, is launching a low-cost device called Nextbook. These tablets are among the first Windows Reference Design devices that will be available in South Africa, on Makro shelves from November 2014.

The Nextbook tablets will come in two sizes, namely 8″ for users who want to read e-books or watch movies while commuting and 10.1″ for consumers who need more screen real estate for squeezing in more columns into their Excel spread sheets.

We are pleased to be partnering with Makro to put affordable, yet top quality devices in the hands of local consumers,” says Melanie Botha, Consumer Channels Group Executive at Microsoft South Africa.

She added that the Nextbook devices included everything that sets a Windows tablet apart from its rivals. This includes the full Windows 8.1 operating system as opposed to a mobile OS that provides access to more than 700 000 applications, a superior productivity solution offering in Office 365 as users get one year’s free subscription, unlimited OneDrive storage, 60 free Skype World Call minutes per month while your subscription is valid and the always-indispensable USB port.

A bigger screen to supersize the user experience

Besides a bigger display, the 10.1″ Nextbook also comes with its own hard cover keyboard that allows the tablet to provide a notebook like user experience for users. Consumers can use the keyboard for easier email, IM messaging, and Office document composition or editing, whilst the trackpad allows for pinch-to-zooming of images and webpages.

Currently, the Nextbook is only available from Makro stores countrywide and retails for R1 499 for the 8″ variant and R2 999 for the 10.1″ version.

The affordable pricepoints of the Nextbook devices make tablets much more accessible to a larger section of South African consumers,” says Kevin Maier, Merchandise Manager from Makro South Africa. “The 8″ model will appeal to customers who want to hold their device in one hand whilst consuming media on-the-go, whilst the 10.1″ tablet will find a home with road warriors that want to stay productive wherever they find themselves at a limited budget, without being limited in functionality,” Maier added.

Anthony Doherty, Windows Business Group Lead at Microsoft South Africa explains how Microsoft manages to keep prices down and affordable for consumers stating: “In addition to introducing freemium models of Windows to smaller sized devices (9″ and below) to make them more affordable, other steps have been taken to ensure Microsoft has created a competitive ecosystem. We have included different manufacturers and altered a few engineering standards such as allowing OEM’s to do their own internal verification, re-engineering Windows to be able to run on smaller hard-drives, while specifying an SD card slot to enable users of these devices to increase storage as needed,” he concluded.

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