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Ballmer Promises Microsoft Tablet By Christmas

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the also-i-want-pie dept.

Microsoft 356

judgecorp writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told an audience at the London School of Economics, that there will be tablets running Microsoft's Windows operating system available by Christmas. 'We as a company will need to cover all form factors,' he told an audience of students and press. 'You'll see slates with Windows on them – you'll see them this Christmas.' Mind you, if he's talking about the rumoured HP Windows 7 slate, he may not be so pleased when it appears. A recent YouTube video showed a supposed prototype which has been described as a 'trainwreck in the making.'"

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356 comments

Well let's face it... (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796526)

Coal is so old fashioned.

I'd settle for (0)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797350)

Silverlight support on Android.

Really, MS is getting left in the dust for phone and tablet sales. If they don't get their foot in the door to the app markets, how are they going to gain any ground?

Embrace (Android), Extend (with Silver Light drivers), Compete (with a Windows phone/tablet).

I mean, what keeps people on Windows after all these years? It's not the stellar track record of performance and security. Its the huge range of apps. But if people are using apps that have the best support they can expect on their Droids, why switch to Windows?

If you can make headway into the application markets though, you can use that as a marketing angle to get people to make the jump to a Windows based device instead of an Android based device.

Heck Windows 7 Phone OS supposedly has XNA support for Silverlight. That can be a huge marketing advantage. "Like your Silverlight applications on the Droid? They run 1 bazillion times cooler on Windows 7!" But if they don't get people on to Silverlight apps, they've got nothing.

I'm not supper fond of Windows, but I loathe developing Flash.

-Rick

We want Courier! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796530)

But where is Microsoft Courier tablet?

Have some Courier New (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796828)

Why would the Courier font on a tablet be any different from the Courier on a desktop PC? Or has Microsoft deprecated Courier in favor of Consolas?

Once again.... (1, Interesting)

cyberkahn (398201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796552)

Microsoft a few months late and over a billion dollars short.

Re:Once again.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796624)

If by "a few months late" you mean "a decade ahead," then yes. Except for the billion dollars short part.

Re:Once again.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796788)

Offtopic? Really, mods? Let me guess... Apple fanboy?

Re:Once again.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796632)

It tickles me how Microsoft turned into a "me too" company. "Where do you want to go today?" is more like "Where were you a few six months ago?"

Re:Once again.... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796874)

It tickles me how Microsoft turned into a "me too" company.

I seems like Microsoft has always been a "me too" company.

Where do you think "embrace, extend (and extinguish)" came from? Microsoft has always been late to the market with technology, and that technology usually takes a couple of iterations to become really usable. In some cases, the technology is becomes pretty good, in other cases it gets deprecated and thrown out because even they can't make it work.

Now, some of their stuff has gotten mature and fairly usable, but some rots on the vine and is mostly an expensive transitional technology that people buy and get burned with.

But, except for Clippy, I am hard pressed to think of many situations where Microsoft felt like it was innovating. Granted, some of that might have been behind the scenes in APIs the the like (eg .NET), but as an end-user, Microsoft has been rolling out features that Mac, UNIX (and now Linux) have all incorporated for a long time.

I don't hate Microsoft in quite the knee-jerk way I used to, and I honestly find most of their modern products to be pretty damned god and stable ... but it's hard to really think they've ever led the way in consumer technology that makes me say "ooooh, I gotta get me some of that".

For the last bunch of years, they mostly seem to be watching what others do, come late to the game and then throw resources at it until they get it right (Sharepoint) or throw it away (Zune).

Re:Once again.... (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796918)

For the last bunch of years, they mostly seem to be watching what others do, come late to the game and then throw resources at it until they get it right (Sharepoint) or throw it away (Zune).

I don't anyone who administers Sharepoint will ever claim that MS "got it right." ;)

Re:Once again.... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796984)

I don't anyone who administers Sharepoint will ever claim that MS "got it right." ;)

No, but it has gone from being a technology demo that nobody knew what to do with to something that companies invest time and infrastructure dollars on.

But, yes, you raise an excellent point. :-P

Re:Once again.... (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797092)

But, except for Clippy, I am hard pressed to think of many situations where Microsoft felt like it was innovating.

The "XNA Creator's Club" on the XBox 360 feels like innovation to me.

They've got a "curated" platform (ie. very closed to normal end-users, just like the iPhone). They've managed to make a hobbyist dev kit for it that lets people tinker with their own XBoxes, do peer review of the software, and distribute that software to regular end-users (and get paid for it), without compromising the security/integrity of the curated platform, and without creating confusion by mixing hobbyist apps in with "pro" apps (conventional disk-based games, "XBLA" games, and "indy" games are three distinct marketplaces).

Now, you may think the whole concept of "curated" platforms is bogus. But, lots of folks don't -- it's a way to make a computing device that you can put into the hands of a naïve end-user, and still end up with something relatively secure and supportable. A big downside is that innovation gets stifled, and Microsoft's innovation here is a way to mitigate exactly that downside.

(If Kinect actually works, that could feel like innovation too. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet, though. And then there's Surface, I guess.)

Re:Once again.... (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797280)

The "XNA Creator's Club" on the XBox 360 feels like innovation to me.

But the XBox is exactly what I am talking about when I mention throwing resources at it until it is relevant. The XBox cost them loads of money until it became profitable. Nobody else could afford to be "successful" the way Microsoft is since it takes billions of dollars to prop it up until it is viable.

Now, you may think the whole concept of "curated" platforms is bogus.

Actually, I don't. I completely get why it is easier to deliver a good user experience by putting up guard rails and foam padding.

A big downside is that innovation gets stifled

I'm not so sure ... I have seen more innovation and change in user interfaces from iPad apps than I have seen in the industry in 20+ years. It is the first time someone has fundamentally changed the way I interact with a computer.

and Microsoft's innovation here is a way to mitigate exactly that downside.

How? I assume by making sure that the dev kit forall of their platforms is consistent? Is doing things the same way you've always done them "innovating"? Don't get me wrong, it's probably a good thing that people can use the existing APIs -- but that isn't exactly going to drive new ways of doing things.

If Kinect actually works, that could feel like innovation too. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet, though. And then there's Surface, I guess.

I assume Kinect is trying to build on what Nintendo built for the Wii? Again, not pioneering anything. It's taking an idea that is now several years old, and putting a little more horsepower behind it.

And, it seems like Surface has been vaporware for a whole lot of years -- I rank it right up with that Microsoft Home of the Future or whatever it's called. It's a bunch of experimental tech that hasn't been ready for the consumer, and doesn't really seem to go anywhere. It's intriguing, but it doesn't seem to be tangible yet.

Re:Once again.... (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797160)

But, except for Clippy, I am hard pressed to think of many situations where Microsoft felt like it was innovating.

Microsoft Bob?

Re:Once again.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797186)

Touché. I was aware of their other products being copied or bought. Maybe because I'm getting older and actually paying attention to their attempts that it's becoming painfully obvious. It's like a 40-year-old wearing a backwards hat and baggy britches. Quite sad and humourous at the same time.

Re:Once again.... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797188)

There are some nice examples of what MS has "done first" on the web, in terms of UI, compared to Mac at least. Though by far, MS is a follower not a leader, they don't always copy. And as you said, some of their copying gives much needed polish to an idea.

Re:Once again.... (1, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797324)

Well, to be fair... Microsoft demo'd a lot of features in Longhorn back in 2002 that apple copied and was able to get to market with faster (due to Micorosoft's major screwups in developing Longhorn). Microsoft showed stuff like 3D Window managers with wobbly windows, instant search, etc.. long before they were in other products like Compiz/XGL or OSX.

So in some ways, microsoft does innovate a great deal, but they're often slow to get practical products to market.

Re:Once again.... (3, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797224)

Microsoft has always been slow to adopt new technologies until they've been proven. They like to see other peoples mistakes and learn from them (though they don't always do so). As the saying goes, you can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs.

However, addressing the "trainwreck" article.. it's rather stupid comments...

"Why include a “CTRL-ALT-DEL” button on the device’s chassis unless you expect the software to crash on a regular basis?"

What century is he living in where c-a-d still reboots a computer? It's used for several tasks these days, like.. oh, i don't know.. LOGGING IN?

"What’s with having a mechanical button to activate a virtual onscreen keyboard?"

Maybe because onscreen buttons may be obscured by apps running?

"but an unmodified version of Windows 7 on a small touch screen translates into icons roughly the size of theoretical particles"

Obviously he's never used Windows 7 on a multi-touch screen. You can use multi-touch to pinch-zoom the icons to whatever size you want.

That's what causes a "trainwreck in the making?" Stuff that he simply doesn't understand.

Re:Once again.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797332)

Ahh, selective memory. I seem to recall my dad having a Windows tablet PC like a decade ago. Who's "me too", again?

Re:Once again.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796660)

Perhaps....

The microsoft way
Version 1 copy/buy someone else, this version blows
Version 2 put in half the features promised from version 1, still blows, creaky and buggy
Version 3 put in the other half of the features from version 1, It actually works now, still creaky and buggy but showing promise
Version 4 the version where they actually start doing cool stuff
Version 5 more of 4
Version 6 Now its cool
Version 7-11 let it stagnate and die
Version 12 woooopse someone is eating our lunch better make it cool again, go back to step 3

Re:Once again.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796704)

Late? To the tablet market? Does the tech world have severe amnesia or something? It was called Windows XP Tablet Edition and there were plenty of devices sold. Microsoft just didn't anticipate that people would prefer having horrifically hobbled environments that can only execute approved farting applications downloaded through official sources.

Re:Once again.... (5, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796722)

Microsoft a few months (years) late and a billion dollars short... and the market analysts noticing at long last [bbc.co.uk]

Shares in Microsoft have already fallen 23% since April this year, with analysts concerned that the computer giant is failing to assert itself in the growing smart phone and tablet computer markets.

Ballmer's just trying to prop the value of his share options up before they force him out.

Re:Once again.... (5, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796724)

Microsoft is anything but late to this party. They have been trying to launch a tablet for over a decade now. They've tried again, and again, and again, and they have failed every single time.

I've lost count of how many times they have tried, but it goes all the way back to Windows 95 for Pen Computing, or whatever it was called.

Re:Once again.... (3, Insightful)

gander666 (723553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796986)

Ding, we have a winner. Microsoft has had ample entry points into this market, and frankly the sales and adoption have been pathetic.

Don't get me wrong, people who have adopted them are satisfied with their pen computers, but the sales have been in the low 200K units per year out of the 40M laptops or so sold per year. A tiny fraction.

Repackaging WinMo or Win7 into an iPad like form factor will not result in success

Re:Once again.... (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797266)

No, before Windows 95, there was Windows for Pen Computing which was pen interface options for Windows 3.11 which was competing w/ Go Corp.'s PenPoint, the Moment &c.

William
(who had an NCR-3125 which would dual-boot into PenPoint and Windows)

Re:Once again.... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797290)

I can hardly wait for this to come out. (Don't flame me yet.)
Once I get my hands on one used from Craigslist, and install Linux I will finally have the Linux tablet I have been dreaming of for years.

Doing it just to do it (0)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796570)

So what he's saying is, we don't have a great idea for Windows on a tablet, but we know tablets are hot and we would look dumb if we don't make a windows tablet, so we're creating one just to try to look good. Of course, it will be a POS, but hey, we made it!

Re:Doing it just to do it (3, Interesting)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796658)

Windows has been on tablets for a decade, and they aren't at all bad.

Re:Doing it just to do it (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796844)

OK, so what is this article about? And don't go pestering me to RTFA. It ain't gonna happen. LOL

Re:Doing it just to do it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797074)

OK, so what is this article about? And don't go pestering me to RTFA. It ain't gonna happen. LOL

  • Tablets are good.
  • We're innovating, and will soon have something our competitors are already shipping and selling in vast quantities.
  • New technology can be disruptive and drive innovation as people adopt it.
  • We envision both the public and private cloud, and therefore more revenues from server licenses because we can still really only envision business needs with a server model we stole from Sun in the 90's.

Re:Doing it just to do it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796966)

Windows has been on tablets for a decade, and they aren't at all bad.

And, yet, they have utterly failed to make a tablet computer something "mainstream" that Joe User wants, or even knows exists. I'm sure it fits into a niche market, but so far, tablets have been relegated to just that -- a niche market.

I'm curious to see what they build, but by Christmas I think the other competitors will have a big head start and Microsoft will be playing catch up. Then it becomes a matter of watching them grind away until they get enough market share to be relevant, or realize they haven't made something people want.

Re:Doing it just to do it (0)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796994)


they aren't at all bad.

That isn't exactly a glowing endorsement. I think that's the problem with all the Windows-based tablets thus far.

Re:Doing it just to do it (1)

AkkarAnadyr (164341) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797026)

Whenever I've had to work on Windows, I've needed a tablet or two alright.

If theirs are so good, they should include them with the install disks.

Re:Doing it just to do it (1, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797246)

Windows on tablets haven't been exactly very good either. Because of the small form factor, tablets have been expensive compared to laptops and desktops. MS never made any real changes to Windows to take advantage of the touchscreen. In terms of pure functionality, tablets were just laptops with touchscreens and a stylus but a lot more expensive. It is not a big wonder why they didn't sell very well.

On the other hand, the iPad is not as cheap as the cheapest laptops but not as expensive as the most expensive ones. Where the iPad differentiates itself is that it is optimized for consumption not productivity. As millions have been sold, Apple seems to have recognized that there was a market for such a device. Personally it doesn't meet my needs yet, but it might as Apple makes improvements to it.

Re:Doing it just to do it (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796922)

From T other FA (eWeek needs better people if they think they can stop me cutting and pasting... sheesh...)

Why include a "CTRL-ALT-DEL" button on the device's chassis unless you expect the software to crash on a regular basis? What's with having a mechanical button to activate a virtual onscreen keyboard? And yes, the device seems to web-surf pretty quickly, but an unmodified version of Windows 7 on a small touch screen translates into icons roughly the size of theoretical particles: You better have a stylus or small fingers.

We're not even going to talk about how it takes 25 seconds to boot.

The rest of the article is not worth looking at, let alone reading.

Re:Doing it just to do it (3, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796954)

So what he's saying is, we don't have a great idea for Windows on a tablet, but we know tablets are hot and we would look dumb if we don't make a windows tablet, so we're creating one just to try to look good. Of course, it will be a POS, but hey, we made it!

Well, that's the thing: Windows' best selling feature is it works on anything. Windows' (arguable) worst feature is that it wasn't designed to work with anything. The bad part of not being in the hardware business (in this context) is that MS doesn't really have the ability to drive the market in that regard. So they seem to be in the position of cajoling some hardware manufacturer into releasing a tablet. Now they can partner with that company to develop features that will work well on a tablet, but it's not the same as Apple deciding "we will make a tablet" and doing everything necessary to make it a success.

I don't know what the answer is for MS. Could be they need to acquire some sort of high-end, low-volume boutique PC manufacturer to serve as a marketing arm for new toys they want to develop. But for now they still depend on the manufacturers to decide what markets they want to get into.

Well, there are a number still available (3, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796592)

Motion has 3 models available:

http://www.motioncomputing.com/ [motioncomputing.com]

There's the Archos 9:

http://www.archos.com/products/tw/archos_9/index.html?country=us&lang=en [archos.com]

and the Samsung Q1EX:

http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/laptops/NP-Q1EX-FA01US [samsung.com]

and the Panasonic Toughbook is available as a slate.

Sadly, Fujitsy quit making slates though (perhaps they'll go back to making them?) --- interestingly the selection of Windows slates has gotten so low that some people who want a larger format slate are purchasing the Axiotron Modbook (a converted Mac laptop) and installing Windows on it.

William

But does it run (Android) Linux? (3, Interesting)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796594)

Or the bigger question - which of the big Linux distros have drivers for touchscreens? I can see Ubuntu being all over this one.

Re:But does it run (Android) Linux? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796688)

All of them. Ease of use depends on the touchscreen, though; different brands are different.

Re:But does it run (Android) Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796848)

Windows and gnome, kde, etc -- even X -- are designed for mouse and keyboard. repeat: mouse and keyboard. bolting touch support on top is a mess. Take a tip from Apple (and Android) and start over based on a touch interface.

It may be the tech writer in me, but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796596)

An anagram of 'slate' is 'stale'

It would have to be in the retail chain already (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796620)

To be in the stores for the holiday shopping season, it would already have had to be shown to retailers, the retail space booked and paid for by Microsoft, and the first containers of product on ships in transit from China. It's too late in the retail cycle for this season.

Re:It would have to be in the retail chain already (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796748)

Damn - you're right. It would have to be arriving right now into the stores from their DCs to be ready for the holidays.

Of course, he said available by Christmas. Doesn't mean you'll be able to find them anywhere except one store out in Los Angeles which has two. Whatever - if Microsoft's involved and it doesn't have more computing power then some small nations have, I assume it will fail.

And in typical Ballmer fashion (3, Insightful)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796622)

I'm betting that the tablet will be running the exact same bloated Windows OS that is meant for PC's. Ballmer still wants to see the same Windows start menu, etc. on every single device no matter how big or small. He should learn a lesson from Apple with the iPhone & iPad. What makes them so popular is that Apple did NOT take the Mac OS-X GUI and try to shoehorn it on a smaller device. The smaller screens necessitated a much simpler and more user friendly interface. Until Ballmer accepts this and lets Microsoft develop a new UI paradigm for portable devices they're doomed to failure over and over again.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796790)

At least Ballmer will allow multitasking and a more or less open development platform. I assume, anyways.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (0, Troll)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796902)

At least Ballmer will allow multitasking and a more or less open development platform.

Since when was Windows an open development platform? Try writing a decent Windows app using gcc and not making use of frameworks like .Net, MFC, etc. The vast majority of Windows development is done using Visual Studio which pretty much ties you into using a proprietary framework. Not that Apple is any better...

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796964)

Well, it's more open in that you don't have to ask permission to distribute every program that you make for it. But... yeah, not the most open system in the world.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796956)

Great, so we'll need antivirus and antispyware software installed as well?

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797302)

A dig at the iPad?

Guess what? Most iPad developers don't care about multitasking and an open development platform. Most people want an easy way to buy cheap apps to extend the use of their device.

If an open development platform is important to you, you're in the minority.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (4, Interesting)

doconnor (134648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796812)

The trouble is Microsoft has to base it on Windows OS, because the ability to run legacy Windows software is the only advantage they have over iOS, Blackberry, Android, WebOS or any other tablet.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797016)

Well technically Window Mobile, although it has been made to look like desktop Windows, does not come from the same codebase as Windows NT. They could have taken Window Mobile and optimized it for the tablet rather than take desktop Windows and shrunk it for the tablet. In fact, that's what they finally did with Windows 7 Phone. That's the approach in what Apple did with the iPad. They actually developed the iPad first but it wasn't ready. But they were able to shrink and thus became the iPhone. It wasn't until a few generations of iPhones that Apple thought they were ready to release the iPad.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797208)

Window Mobile and it's many predecessors have never been particularly successful. There's no reason to think a tablet version would do any better.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (1, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796860)

he smaller screens necessitated a much simpler and more user friendly interface.

Not just the screen but also the input selection. Apple decided to go with all touchcreen and few physical keys. That necessitated them developing multi-touch and gestures. Or vice-versa. In retrospect what Apple did wasn't exactly revolutionary but just them being practical. Multi-touch existed long before the iPhone and iPad. To my knowledge no one put them on mobile devices before. Also Apple used touch as much as possible. Sliding vertically is the same as scrolling. Sliding horizontally is page flipping, etc. Compare that with MS. MS has had tablets for a decade or more. However besides swapping out a stylus for a mouse, MS has put in very little thought or development about optimizing the UI for tablets. There is no sliding. Clicking and dragging on the stylus is the same as with a mouse; however, with a stylus, it's not very as comfortable or elegant.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (4, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797168)

Sadly, in this industry, sometimes just being practical is being revolutionary. Its amazing the degree to which people will throw themselves against the same obstacle over and over again without re-thinking their assumptions.

This thread is filled with examples of tablets with windows on them and none of them have been serious commercial successes. MS has tried time and time again to enter this market and they have failed every time. One would think by now that they would do the practical thing and consider the platform from the ground up, bu they didn't do that over the last 10 years.

Re:And in typical Ballmer fashion (3, Interesting)

flooey (695860) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797216)

However besides swapping out a stylus for a mouse, MS has put in very little thought or development about optimizing the UI for tablets. There is no sliding. Clicking and dragging on the stylus is the same as with a mouse; however, with a stylus, it's not very as comfortable or elegant.

One of the very interesting things that was pointed out to me is that scrolling with a mouse wheel and scrolling with a finger both work the way you expect them to, but they work in opposite directions. With a mouse wheel, moving your finger up moves the document up; on touchscreen devices, moving your finger up moves the document down. That's the kind of thing that makes just putting a desktop OS onto a touchscreen device a losing proposition: you need to change fundamental input interactions in order to make it work the way people think it should work.

If it isn't Courier, they can keep it (1, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796630)

Yes, we want tablet PCs. Yes, we want tablet computing pads.

We also want the Courier.

But we won't get the Courier. Ballmer hasn't got the vision to sell something like that.

There never was a Courier (2, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796778)

But we won't get the Courier. Ballmer hasn't got the vision to sell something like that.

They also don't have the vision to design it. The whole thing was basically a video mockup, and if you really thought about it the design as it was just was not practical. There is a vast world of difference between what a video effects guy can come up with and what really can be made.

Re:There never was a Courier (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796866)

I submit that a touch device that allowed you to "circle" an object, capture that object into an object clipboard, then drop it into any application which would be able to query the object or act on it in a special app-specific way *could* be developed.

Indeed, this is what OLE intended before it faded away. If a CLR or JVM underlies the API, it should be possible still. Android seems to hint at this, but no one has the wherewithal to bring it all together. MS could do that, but they won't.

Several christmasses ago (3, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796642)

Hasn't Windows been on tablets since tablets were first sold, several years ago? Back when having no keyboard meant half your computer had fallen off, rather than being a selling point.

Re:Several christmasses ago (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797082)

Hasn't Windows been on tablets since tablets were first sold, several years ago?

Well, no, not since they were first sold. The tablet form factor even predates Apple's Newton introduced in 1993, although that's probably the first really well-known incarnation. At the time Windows was at version 3.1, with Windows 95 still over a year away and Windows NT just seeing the light of day.

Re:Several christmasses ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797120)

Yes, and nobody cared.

Telling that Ballmer is 'promising' a Microsoft tablet by Christmas. Seems like even he thinks there aren't any available at the moment.

OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796652)

The video has been pulled! Any mirrors?

Re:OMG (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797012)

I saw the leaked HP slate video a couple weeks back (I assume this was it). Highlights:
  • mouse pointer is visible when windows starts up then hides
  • you have to press a physical button to toggle the on screen keyboard
  • there's a physical button for alt-control-delete
  • touching performs a mouse click at that location, with a touch indicator/animation.
  • slow/jerky scrolling in internet explorer.

It's windows 7 with some half-assed touch support bolted on. it will run your existing windows software but your windows software was designed for mouse and keyboard. I think you would need to be really desperate to go anywhere near it (this characterization applies to Microsoft, manufacturers, and consumers)

Re:OMG (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797198)

Thank you for converting the video into a super-low bitrate text-only video format. I'd still like to see a higher-bitrate video, cuz I think a lot of the details have been lost in compression.

if Ballmer wants them under trees, they should be (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796670)

sold right now. they aren't? well, they won't be under any trees, then.

another opportunity missed.

moving from MachoSoft to MicroSoft, time marches on.

Re:if Ballmer wants them under trees, they should (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797114)

sold right now. they aren't? well, they won't be under any trees, then.

Well, he didn't say you'd have them under your trees by Christmas, or even that you could line up (just kidding) to buy them Christmas day. He said you'd see them.

I think he means there will be youtube videos that aren't so bad they need to be pulled, by Christmas.

YouTube video is gone... (3, Interesting)

sapgau (413511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796672)

Video has been removed, that could be a story in itself...

Wow (5, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796938)

Video has been removed, that could be a story in itself...

Even a video of a Windows product can't stay up for more than a month!

So what? Will it be any good? (2, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796692)

I can sell you a tablet *right now* that runs some version of Microsoft's "Windows". You just won't be able to do much with it. I mean, Windows CE 2.11 only does so much.

The problem with this promised Windows 7 Tablet is that it won't do much either. Great, you can surf the web..., what else can you do with it? Very few apps support touch interfaces, and Windows in general is not an OS suited to a tablet computer.

What everyone's forgetting is that Apple made a very smart move by NOT putting OS-X Tiger on the iPad, since that OS wasn't suited to a touchscreen system. Instead, they simply scaled up the iPhone OS which was already made for people with fat fingers.

I mean, can't you just wait for the tablet to prompt you to press CTRL-ALT-DEL? Or tell you that if you want to close the app, press ALT-F4?

Re:So what? Will it be any good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797232)

Have you used a Windows tablet? Didn't think so.
My tablet had a full keyboard, but you can easily use the on-screen keyboard for CTRL-ALT-DEL.
I got a Toshiba M400 when I went back to school to finish my engineering degree.
Came with XP, upgraded to Vista. Used it everyday for notes, homework, etc. I carried this tablet and no paper notebooks.
Full color notes, ability to write on PDFs distributed by the prof, able to simply email notes to students who missed class. Plus, I was able to run all the engineering programs, since it was a full Windows OS, able to do all my coding in C++ and Java. Able to run Linux VMs.
My iPad is fun and great for a few things (email, surfing, playing silly games), but there's no way it could taken the place of a Windows Tablet PC.

Microsoft OneNote is the killer app for tablets.

So, I couldn't use my finger...try writing down mathematical formulas, engineering diagrams, etc with your finger.

ballmer more like lollmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796700)

aw shit, ballmer got into the medicine cabinet again, someone call poison control

This says a lot to me actually (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796708)

Given their rush to make a release prior to Christmas I think it's safe to assume that Microsoft regards tablet computing as simply a toy not as a real platform.

I mean, if they were concerned about getting a serious toehold in that market they'd release something solid when its ready, not when its sales might artificially peak due to Christmas shoppers right?

Maybe I'm reading too much into this...

Re:This says a lot to me actually (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796864)

Market window can be more important then a solid product. Just look at the iPad.

17 years too late? (2, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796714)

My first Windows based tablet computer was the Dauphin DTR-1 which was released in 1994.

Seems he failed to mention the year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33796718)

Or say if it would even boot.

What? (1)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796720)

Tablets running Windows have been around for a few years. Did Ballmer forget he had Tablet PC Edition? It really didn't offer anything fancy beyond handwriting and portability (sort of). By the time they recreate all of the features that iPad has, Apple will be on to something better. Why don't they get this?

Why not? (2, Insightful)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796880)

I, for one, would welcome a full-fledged OS on a tablet. It'd take a little longer to boot, sure, and demand more powerful hardware, but it's not like there isn't an upside. Desktop OSs are much less closed, with you tipically having a lot more control over your applications and preferences. In order to pay for the superior specs and remain competitive, battery life could be downgraded. Because, frankly, when are we that far away from a power source? Most of the tablet users I know tend to never take their gadget out of the house, anyway, so the battery could be entirely discarded. Then you could add a physical keyboard, because even the best virtual ones suck in comparison to any $5 real counterpart. All that's left now is to make it modular, so if my screen or processor malfunctions, I can simply replace it instead of having to redundantly rebuy a lot of components I already have. Now THAT'd be a useful device. I'd call it a "personal computer".

It's a reaction to Wall Street (5, Informative)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796946)

The investment bank cut its rating of Microsoft shares from "buy" to "neutral". [bbc.co.uk]
It said Microsoft was being threatened by the rise of tablet computers such as Apple's iPad, which do not run Windows software.

Re:It's a reaction to Wall Street (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797042)

The stock market is so dumb. You cut the rating for a billion dollar profit company to neutral? lol

Re:It's a reaction to Wall Street (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797172)

You cut the rating for a billion dollar profit company to neutral? lol

There are two reasons to buy shares in a company:

1. Growth, which pushes up the value of those shares.
2. Dividends, which give you a better return than a savings account.

Windows may still bring in lots of profits, but the opportunities for growth are far less than a company entering new markets... and most people would rather own shares in growing companies than fat old companies that pay out dividends with a stable or declining share price.

Re:It's a reaction to Wall Street (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797206)

Your argument is pure arrogance from ignorance.

share price has fallen 23%. Look at it's 12 month trend.

It's understandable, between a slow economy, and rising competition. Plus, there is nothing in the next year that would cause a sharp increase in there sales.

Re:It's a reaction to Wall Street (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797298)

The stock market is so dumb. You cut the rating for a billion dollar profit company to neutral? lol

So when something is "good" (in this case, profitable), its worth an unlimited amount of money to buy in?

Unprofitable companies can be good investments, if they're cheap enough (often well below the sum of their parts). Wildly profitable companies can be poor investments if they're expensive enough.

Market Promises Disinterest right now. (2, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797126)

No one cares Balmer. Get a new idea. Stop copying Apple. Apple is a dick company... Why cant Microsoft initiate, rather than follow Apple. By the time Microsoft copies Apple's inventions, Apple has already dominated the market and Microsoft's pathetic copy is dead before it ever comes out.

Microsoft is run by a fat fucking idiot. Lets face it.

Looking forward to it. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797276)

If it turns out to be halfway decent I'm getting one. Having owned a tablet PC running XP I thought the thing had a lot of potential, they simply screwed up the execution. What those devices needed was an iOS-interface that streamlined used with a tablet. Instead they simply offered XP in it's standard form. But then, at the time touch screen technology wasn't where it was today, and PDAs and styluses were still in widespread use. A lot of effort by companies like Sony seemed to be expended on trying to integrate an external keyboard.

When I first heard of the iPad I was interested. But my hope was that it ran a modified version of OSX. So much for that idea.

I find it appealing that I could have a device as portable as the iPad but that allows me to do anything I could with a conventional PC. If nothing else, I want to be able to connect my ODB2 plug to it and run my car's diagnostic software on it.

If this device ends up being a flop or too expensive, I'll just go with a netbook I suppose.

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