White says component suppliers in China and Taiwan in the run-up to October 26 launch of Windows 8 were hesitant to ramp up component supplies. "The sentiment around Windows 8 was overwhelmingly negative," according to White. "[And] the supply chain [was] experiencing little life ahead of the October 26 launch [for Windows 8]."
Baker and White, along with other analysts and critics, don't expect Windows 8 device production to get going until mid-2013.
Can hybrids compete against the iPad?
But unlike previous Windows rollouts, computers running Microsoft's OS have some tough competition this time around.
Instead of buying a Windows laptop, holiday shoppers in 2012 can opt for Apple's iPad or any number of slates running Google's Android operating system. Tablets can, for many people, replace a PC for tasks such as Web surfing, email, games, and online video streaming.
In this so-called post-PC era, timing appears to be everything, especially when Apple's slick product launches include well-timed product availability. So being slow to market with new and anticipated hardware could be detrimental to the long term success of Windows in the touchscreen era, couldn't it?
There is already some debate about whether Windows 8 is being readily adopted by consumers. NPD Group recently said Windows PC device sales were lower in 2012 during the Windows 8 debut than during the same four-week period for Windows 7 PCs in 2011. Microsoft said in late November that it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses so far.
Despite the slow sales, Baker says it's unlikely that availability of new hardware was contributing to the anemic adoption of Windows 8.
"We're talking about products [hybrid laptops] selling for $800 to $1000 or more," Baker says. "The market has not flipped over to the point where consumers are willing to spend $700 to $900 on a PC versus $400 to $500."
So it's not like convertibles would be flying off the shelves even if they were readily available.