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Is it too soon for a Windows 8 tablet?

By Louis Bedigian
Benzinga Staff Writer / September 11, 2011

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Samsung and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) might unveil the first Windows 8 tablet this week.

Ars Technica is pointing to a couple of sources (including the AFP News Service and This is my next) that all but confirm that the aforementioned tech companies will demo the first Windows 8 tablet at Microsoft's BUILD conference for developers.

But if they do, they will do so a good 12 months before Windows 8 is expected to be released. That's right – Windows 8 is merely expected to be released in 12 months. An actual release date has yet to be locked in.

Why would Microsoft and/or Samsung wish to announce a tablet so far in advance? In simple terms, they're looking for hype. They're hoping that if they go all-in today, they will be able to cash in tomorrow. But guess what: life doesn't work that way. While the entertainment industry often announces new films and TV shows several months – or years – before they are released, this is not the most effective strategy for technology firms to use. Not officially, at least. While Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) uses the rumor mill to hype its devices months in advance, the company rarely makes an official announcement without a specific (and imminent) release date in mind. Nintendo (NTDOY), meanwhile, gave consumers nine months to second-guess their Nintendo 3DS desires, resulting in disastrous sales figures and a premature price drop.

Thus, I can't stop wondering: why would Samsung want to make the mistake of unveiling a Windows 8 tablet now, and why would Microsoft ever let this announcement take place? Whatever hype these two companies gain today will be nothing compared to the copycats that they will endure tomorrow.

Instead, they would be smarter to take Apple's approach and save specific announcements for when the tablet is closer to release.

Follow me @LouisBedigian