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Why Windows 7 "Slate" Tablets Won't Happen 467

Posted by kdawson
from the try-phone-seven-mobile dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Galen Gruman questions the viability of Windows 7 on tablets in the wake of the news that HP will use Palm's WebOS as the foundation for iPad rivals, rather than follow through with the previously hyped Windows 7-based Slate. 'The iPad proved a tablet shouldn't be a portable computer that happened to have its screen always exposed. Even though technical components are shared between the Mac OS and the iPhone OS, the irrelevant Mac OS functions aren't gumming up the iPhone OS, and Apple's development environment doesn't let you pull through desktop approaches into your mobile applications. You're forced to go touch-native,' Gruman writes, adding that, when it comes to touch capabilities, Windows 7 leaves much to be desired. 'Sure, a few Windows 7 slate-style tablets will ship — Asus and MSI are said to have models shipping later this year. But those products will go nowhere, because Windows 7 is simply not the right operating system for a slate.'"
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Why Windows 7 "Slate" Tablets Won't Happen

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  • Thanks you... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Itninja (937614) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:10PM (#32342258) Homepage
    ...for linking to the 'print version' of the article. I wept a small tear of joy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:14PM (#32342284)

    Hell, I'm having a hard time thinking of what would be right for a "slate". That Courier sure looked nice for what it was designed to do. As a general computing platform... nah

    OS designed to be used at a desk with a keyboard, mouse, and unlimited energy? Not so great on a small slate.

    OS designed for small handsets for quick and dirty access to stuff on the go? Easier to put on a slate, but still not something I'd want.

    Where is a slate with a "SlateOS"? Good for reading, good for watching, good for casual surfing/ computing. multitouch, high end pen input.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by forkazoo (138186)

      Newton.

    • by nutshell42 (557890) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:47PM (#32343198) Journal
      Hell, I'm having a hard time thinking of what would be right for a "slate". That Courier sure looked nice for what it was designed to do. As a general computing platform... nah

      Microsoft's the Xerox of our days. There's some great ideas coming out of Microsoft Research but the rest of the company's pathologically unable to see anything through to the end.

      Tablet PCs. Great idea, it failed because all the devices were half-assed notebooks with a touchscreen tucked on. It failed because MS went all the way to create the best handwriting recognition on the planet and then didn't make it usable in Office (with the exception of one specialized app). It failed because they really needed something like the Courier user interface but instead they built the back-end then scrapped it and instead they're just gonna copy Apple like usual.

      P.S.: Oh and they failed because Intel's been unable or unwilling to really improve the Atom in over two years. It's their Tick....Quack model of development. The Quack is them moving the GPU on the CPU die which is less about better performance or lower power and more about killing Nvidia without being quite so obvious about it.

      • by Draek (916851) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:55PM (#32344076)

        And Tablet PCs failed because I've never, *ever* seen one priced below the level of a high-end notebook. I've heard there's some in the US, if you're willing to spend two days finding one online and then masquerading as a small business to buy it, but in the rest of the world your options are between "sell one kidney" and "sell both".

        When an Apple product is the *cheap* alternative, you know you're doing something very, very wrong.

    • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:48PM (#32343206)

      I concur. Microsoft already tried the tablet route with the MIDs not 3 years ago, and it sucked, because desktop OS's are too deeply invested in keyboards, mice, and power outlets. I bought a Samsung MID and it was a terrible user experience.

      I've thought for a long time now that stylus' are crutches that allow you to use the wrong kind of UI on a portable device. The iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad only serve to reinforce that belief.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Voyager529 (1363959)

        I've thought for a long time now that stylus' are crutches that allow you to use the wrong kind of UI on a portable device. The iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad only serve to reinforce that belief.

        That depends. Wacom seems to be making a living for themselves making it possible for graphic designers to use a stylus on their laptops. A general purpose input, it is not. But if Wacom can make their existence dependent on adding a stylus to a computer, there IS in fact a demographic that WANTS one. Personally, I've been saying it for ages - HP, Toshiba, and Fujitsu have all had tablet PCs since 2004, they've all cost an arm and a leg (though I've seen some decent HP units cost south of $1,000 recently),

  • Mobile and Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Miros (734652) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:17PM (#32342310)
    Microsoft has never managed to crack the mobile nut, why is that? What is their strategic blind spot that makes them so unable to penetrate this industry, even through acquisition?
    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:25PM (#32342394) Journal

      Their vulnerable blind spot is called WINDOWS.

      Everything in Windows was designed for mouse/keyboard combination, and there is no touch UI to behold.

      Apple's approach is much better, different products, different approaches, and a different UI for Desktop and touch based items.

      The reason why touch screens suck so much, is not because they suck, but the application/OS is always bolted on afterthought, rather than separate approach.

      This is why I see Apple and Android being the dominant players in these types of devices. And if HP can pull off a miracle and get Palm functioning, it might prove to be a viable third tier option.

      I'm afraid the people running Microsoft can't think outside of the whole "Windows" paradigm long enough to figure out that Windows is NOT a touch screen OS, no matter what they try to bolt on.

      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:45PM (#32342600) Journal
        Their vulnerable blind spot is called WINDOWS.

        Sort of.

        Actually, Microsoft doesn't have a "vulnerable blind spot". What they have is an applications stack lever. They've never managed to reach into the mobile platforms because their whole business is built on application/data incompatibility with other platforms. The cost of moving from Microsoft is not the loss of Windows. It's the loss of the millions of Windows apps.

        That's wonderful for them when they "compete" in the Wintel market, but elsewhere, without the support of that weight of backwards compatible applications, their OS efforts are exposed as bland, clunky and unreliable.

      • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:17PM (#32343464)

        Their vulnerable blind spot is called WINDOWS.

        Yes, and no. Microsoft wants Windows to be everywhere, and lots of people want Windows to be everywhere. So far, that hasn't worked for a variety of reasons.

        Everything in Windows was designed for mouse/keyboard combination, and there is no touch UI to behold.

        Again, yes and no. Windows 7 has a terrific touch UI. but the legacy apps aren't written to support it.

        An affordable windows slate is wanted and needed and has a market, if it has the performance characteristics necessary (cpu, battery, etc..). Nobody wants another overpriced tablet pc.

    • by Lally Singh (3427) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:27PM (#32342410) Journal

      They're working too hard for Windows lockin. If they would just let that go, and let all their smart people develop a *good OS* for *just* *mobile*, with no ball & chain to Windows, it'd be competitive.

      Sadly, I think that such an activity is against their DNA at this point.

      • by willabr (684561) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:43PM (#32342572)
        I've been using a Hp tablet PC, windows 7 and OneNote (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office_2010). This seems to be a very good solution for me, I can use all my desktop data, anotate with the pen, and when not using the One note touch/pen interface I can swivel the screen around and use like a laptop (keyboard etc). I travel around alot and need to gather a bunch of "freeform" data, I can take some pictures, embed them into my documets, write a few notes next to them, send them off to various mail accounts, download some data from the net, and when I get back to the Orfice, connect up to the network and share the whole works whith a few co-workers. I don't really listen to a lot of music or watch movies with it, (although I did spend a week out in boondocks of Wisconsin and the netflix account came in handy) I guess you get what you need and leave it at that, often I think that most of the hype is created to sell advertising copy. When all is said and done, you figure out what you need to do, and then get the best fit.
      • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:21PM (#32342938)

        They're working too hard for Windows lockin.

        And Apple isn't working just as feverishly for their own lockin?

        • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:06PM (#32343346)

          It's a little different - the ecosystem, yes - vertical integration is their game, but for your data they are opposed to lock-in.

          Office apps: documented, open XML format (making it very easy and supported to write converters if you don;t want to use the format itself).
          Audio: AAC
          Video: H.264
          Email: .mbox
          Calendars/contacts: vcard/icalendar

          They want you using Apple hardware and software, but they make it easy to move your data in and out of the ecosystem as you choose.

        • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:03PM (#32344118) Journal

          And Apple isn't working just as feverishly for their own lockin?

          Sure, they are, but they aren't trying to leverage MacOS out into the iPod Nano. The difference is that Microsoft isn't willing to compete on features + quality alone, they want to bring all their application base to the new platform. They may eventually succeed, but it would be a long, hard road. Apple seems perfectly willing to ditch their "application base" if/when the need arises - witness OSX itself, which is a complete, ground-up rewrite of their O/S for Macs. And it's worked very well for them. I type this on a Mac Mini that I've grown to love.

          So much, that I was just about to turn in my geek cards and pick up the Apple Fanboi deck. But I have to say, with their recent shenanigans around Flash and the iPad, any urge to do so have vaporized. As a developer myself, I'm thinking I'd rather take my chances on Android than deal with the increasingly dystopic-looking future with Apple!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      (Disclaimer: Personal experience)

      For the same reason that people don't like Internet Explorer, or Windows in General, after trying out alternatives seriously. It's slow, it's bloated, it's insecure. I haven't seen a windows mobile phone that takes less than a second to load the contacts list, or one that even manages to navigate menus fluidly.

      It's not a hardware issue, its a software issue. And they haven't had a lot of big name acquisitions in the mobile field, as far as I can recall.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449)

      Who has said they are complete failures at this? They have a phone on every network/carrier, they have tons of apps, and they have tons of sales - no not as much as apple, but you don't have to beat everything to a pulp to be successful.

      Only reason I quit using my Windows Mobile 6 device (and will never get another one ever again) is because of the firm belief that I shouldn't have to reboot the phone 2-3 times a day. Aside from that issue - the apps were great, the experience was usable and the battery lif

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy (160321)

      There's a bunch of stuff they never managed to crack. In the entreprise, "embrace and extend" works, though I wouldn't really call that "cracking" anything, it's more like buying into something. In the consumer market, they failed at pretty much everything, except Xbox, and that's only because they where willing to sink so much money into it that they scared competitors away.

      Generally speaking, their blind spot is their legacy: they're afraid to innovate lest they either break backwards compatibility, or op

    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:31PM (#32343048)
      Also, what is it about a multi-billion company that cant find an advertising agency that can make one decent commercial for them? Seems like every single ad by Microsoft is somewhere between bad and embarrassingly bad.
  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r @ g m a i l.com> on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:17PM (#32342312)

    Slate tablets running a regular, desktop OS have been around for almost 10 years now. And they still have yet to gain traction or become popular. Mainly because people don't want a desktop OS in a slate form factor. Part of the reason why these new phone OSes are making inroads in the tablet space is because they were designed from the ground up to work in low power conditions (ARM processors) and work with a finger based input. What's more, the app catalogs of these OSes are full of apps that are designed with these limitations taken into account from the beginning.

    People say they want a slate running a desktop OS so they can use all their existing desktop OS apps. But what they fail to realize is that any slate tablet is going to have the internals of a netbook or worse, and the apps they're gonna try and run are going to be designed with a keyboard and mouse in mind, which will make finger usage difficult. Sure, you could carry around a keyboard and mouse with you in case you need it, but then you've kinda defeated the purpose of a slate tablet in the first place (portability), and might as well carry around a much more powerful laptop.

    • by Miros (734652)
      So is the problem that Microsoft wants to hold on to backwards compatibility too much? Why can't they do what apple has done with the iPhone, or Google with Android? They certainly have the resources (talent, cash). What's the problem?
      • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:34PM (#32342464) Journal

        Microsoft's first answer to every problem has been to protect/promote Windows, even when that wasn't a viable strategy. At first they tried to ignore the internet because it conflicted with their idea of Windows, and then when that didn't work, they came up with IE and tried to use that to tie the internet to Windows. Windows is their biggest cash cow, it's their marketshare dominance, it's the heart of their company. (One big exception to this is the Xbox, which despite not making any money, has at least been successful in terms of marketshare. If the Xbox dropped you into a windows desktop when you powered it up, it probably would've failed pretty hard).

        They're finally starting to get it, but at this point, they're years behind.

    • by Knara (9377)

      Mainly because general end users don't want a desktop OS in a slate form factor.

      There are some domains where a desktop OS tablet is very desirable.

      • by BarryJacobsen (526926) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:33PM (#32342458) Homepage

        Mainly because general end users don't want a desktop OS in a slate form factor.

        There are some domains where a desktop OS tablet is very desirable.

        There are some domains where a Barium Enema is very desirable. That doesn't mean the general population wants one.

  • I could have sworn I heard in the run up to release that there were tablet features built-in to Win7. Pare down the install footprint by ripping out unneeded drivers, and then you've got a full OS on a tablet. Sure, it's probably not as good as an OS designed specifically for a tablet, but you'd still be able to connect whatever peripherals you had ports for, and install whatever you wanted.

    Or is the tablet mode just not that useful for
    touch/stylus computing?

    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:28PM (#32342416)

      You basically repeated the summary. Yes, it has a tablet mode. Yes, some manufacturers are going to ship with it. Yes, it's going to suck.

      As much as I loathe Apple's restrictions, they have the right idea with the iPad. As a device, the entire desktop UI metaphor needs to be rethought.

      Microsoft is the type that's always going to throw a stylus and a full keyboard into the mix "just in case", and developers will enevitably end up writing with those in mind because it's closer to what they already know how to work with on the desktop. In short, Microsoft's products in new markets suck because they just don't have the balls to try something REALLY different. They take baby steps when they should be taking leaps.

    • by adonoman (624929) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:41PM (#32343138)
      I've had a Windows 7 slate for several months now (combo multitouch/stylus), and it works great for me. Windows 7's handwriting recognition is amazing. Multitouch gestures do leave something to be desired, but given that I have a directional pad on the side of the slate, I generally use those instead. With a full wacom digitizer, I can use photoshop and other pressure sensitive apps. It's bright enough that I can read in almost full sunlight. If I need to type, I just use a bluetooth keyboard. And of course, there's OneNote, which is really the single most important app I use. I've played with a friend's iPad a few times, and it really just seems like a cheap toy compared to what a real slate can do. The real reason PC-based slates haven't caught on (IMHO), is entirely based on the price point. A decent tablet costs $2000 or more - anything less and you're getting a piece of crap. Of course, at $2000, you alienate a very large portion of your potential market. Most PC manufacturers realized this, and stayed from tablets almost completely, not willing to make an expensive device that wouldn't sell, or an overly cheap device that wouldn't be worthwhile.

      Apple's marketing magic has managed to create a market for cheap-ass crap slates, by not marketing them as computers, but rather as toys for grownups. They've lowered the functionality expectations, so people won't be disapointed with something barely more than a big cell-phone. I wouldn't even want to try Photoshop on an iPad if it were available. I'd give OneNote a shot if it existed for the iPad, but I wouldn't expect much from it.

  • Why don't they... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105)

    Build a tablet that can run .Net and Java apps native, can render CSS3 (gotta get at least 80% on Acid3), and can run both Flash and Silverlight in the browser. I'd be willing to part with some hard earned cash for it.

    But for now, if my choices are between "be a tool, buy an Apple" iPad and a "more bloated than 3 day old roadkill" Windows 7, I think I'll wait.

    -Rick

    • by Miros (734652)
      What about one of these? [pcmag.com] (dell tablet running android)
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:41PM (#32342560)

      Not gonna happen. MS would never let .Net run anywhere else and the same will be true for silverlight soon enough. Note no play ready DRM for moonlight and the fact that the windows version is gaining features the mac one will never get. Microsoft would never do anything that does not serve to prop up their windows desktop monopoly.

  • Android market can get segmented quickly in terms of display resolutions and hardware capabilities, how do these "big players" expect to deliver quality apps to the Android devices?
    I already have an iPad (that makes me a sheep according to some of you more "in the know" experts, I know) but I do like the idea of a strong competitor to Apple. Unfortunately, I don't think Android will deliver.
    Had HP, Dell or anyone else had the balls to embrace Linux a few years back and deliver a few meaningful apps, I think

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Your "car analogy" doesn't have anything to do with what you wrote.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gyrogeerloose (849181)

        Your "car analogy" doesn't have anything to do with what you wrote.

        Sure it does. He's saying that he no longer wants to be forced into dicking around to get his tablet computer to do what he needs it to do, much in the same way that he no longer wants a car that requires him to pop the hood and stick a pencil in the carburetor in order to get the engine started. He's also saying that the iPad is the equivalent of a newer car that just starts when he turns the key.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MrHanky (141717)

          No, he was writing about fragmentation of the market. He does not say a word about being forced to dick around -- which you correctly point out is what the "analogy" is about -- and neither does that have anything to do with the problems of the android platform. So basically, he plain forgot what his complaint was, and veered into the stale cliché of Macs "just working", and you support him because you're an idiot fanboy just like him.

    • I disagree. Android is a multi-touch OS through and through, and its stock form is simple enough to be used by most people (or at least those who would purchase an iPad otherwise), but is flexible enough under the hood to allow curious types to modify to their heart's content. While it's true that Apple provides all of the apps most users will want to use the tablet for, Android does the same thing AND allows alternatives. Don't like the stock browser? Download another from the Market. Want a better eBook reader or camera app? Download them from the Market. iPad/iPhone users don't have that option.

      Additionally, Android has another huge advantage in the tablet arena: it's capable of TRUE multitasking for all applications. This is somewhat detrimental for a phone since battery life and memory is already limited, but is not as much of an issue for tablets, which are expected to be way more powerful and don't have to dedicate resources to the cell phone component. Getting similar multitasking on iPhoneOS is only possible through jailbreaking, which is a concern for a LOT of people, considering they either aren't technical enough to do it (yes, I know it's super easy) or are afraid of potentially long-term consequences associated with it. Basically, it makes the tablet that much closer to a computer, without the extra overhead.
  • Windows 7 is the first OS that "could in theory" work on a tablet/slate, but like TFA says, it's taking Windows and down-scaling it for a much lesser subset of it's design. Windows CE did this; tried to have the full/normal Windows desktop experience on a (much) lesser device and now they've scrapped it in favour for a massively redesign & specifically engineered mobile OS, because that too was ultimately a shit idea. Horses for courses.

    I don't see tablets/slate as being productivity work-horses; you ge

  • Archos 9 (Score:4, Informative)

    by riboch (1551783) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:34PM (#32342460)

    Archos 9 (http://www.archos.com/products/nb/archos_9/index.html?country=us&lang=en) ships with Windows 7, the older Archos 7 and Archos 5 shipped with Angstrom Linux and they even release the source code.

  • At this point, while the products Apple is shipping obviously have good points (many of them) and in many ways are going in the right direction, it still wouldn't matter. If Apple had released an e-Ink tablet, we'd be reading how anything non-e-ink is bound to die and that backlit tablets are dead. If they released something that is in every way opposite to the iPad, we'd be reading about how anything close to the current ipad is dead and simply "not the right tool for the job".

    Apple, the greatest marketing

    • by dangitman (862676) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:44PM (#32343162)

      Windows 7's issue here isn't anything based on capabilies, design, or limitations. Its that "It wasn't approved by Apple fanboys" and nothing else.

      Funny how not so long ago, Apple and its users were insignificant and doomed to obscurity, irrelevant in the face of the Windows behemoth, but now somehow "Apple fanboys" wield immense power to control entire industries.

      Alternatively, it might be that your analysis is way off and not really based on reality. I wonder which is more likely?

  • Only Apple could convince the industry that limiting features is a good idea.

    I wont touch the iPad... not until v3.. and until it can sync in other ways without itunes etc.

  • by WillyWanker (1502057) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:50PM (#32342660)
    The operating system isn't the problem. It's the GUI. There is no reason why you can't run Windows 7 on a slate with a different GUI that is custom-tailored to a touchscreen environment.

    If slates are going to stand any chance of being successful they need to be full computers running a full OS (even if it's Android) that have a properly-designed GUI. Smartphone OSs just aren't going to cut it.
  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:07PM (#32342810) Homepage Journal

    The input method for an OS or its applications is very basic stuff; what works well for input from a keyboard doesn't work well with a mouse. Try operating programs in a Windows CMD window with your mouse and see how far that gets you. Operating Windows from a keyboard is possible but you wouldn't want to try to do serious work this way - and even today there's important menu functions that don't have keyboard equivalents. Neither of those designs is wrong, they're just designed for a particular input method. You can attempt to patch things so that the support for a wrong input device is a different kind of wrong but the only way to do it right is to start from scratch and design from the ground up for the input method.

    A touch screen interface - especially multi-touch - is also a different input method. Your finger isn't a mouse and while you can try to emulate a mouse with a finger you'll quickly find that there's information a mouse supplies that a finger can only do awkwardly if at all. You'd think that Microsoft - who was right there in the thick of the battle to change input methods from text to mouse - would know these things. I suspect their engineers do but their marketing people apparently don't.

    Anyone that has a digitizer tablet connected to a Windows box can easily verify that attempting to operate Windows with nothing more than "point" and "click" is a frustrating experience. Everything is much more difficult to do until you reach a critical point where you won't be able to proceed any further. Their tablet add-ons try to address these fundamental problems but they can only do it imperfectly - Windows is designed from the ground up to be operated with a mouse / keyboard. The companies making tablet PCs have known this for years and you might note that they include a detachable keyboard and a PS/2 mouse port in their designs. Their hope was that your in-house programs would be good enough to work from the touch screen and that this would make their product truly useful. Trying to use Office apps on a touch screen just doesn't work well enough to be usable.

    Apple's success with their touch screen devices is largely due to the simple fact that the OS that runs them was built to use a touch screen as its primary input device. And much of their app approval process is there to insure that quickie ports of mouse operated apps aren't inflicted on their users. Touch is another different input method and like the others, only works well when the system is built from the ground up to be operated in that way.

    If Microsoft wants to play in this market they're going to have to break away from tradition and build a lightweight touch operated OS - they've got the talent to do it but I'm not sure if they have the willingness to do it. I suspect they'll just keep on pushing their desktop OS on tablets and watching them fail in the market.

    Linux on tablets is going to face the same challenges. To operate not just the kernel but the applications using an interface that reports nothing more than a "click" at a screen address and do it well will require some very serious effort - and a willingness of the various programmers to support not only the keyboard / mouse version but the touch version as well. If we want to see successful Linux tablets this will need to be done - or else Linux can follow the Windows model and suffer the same fate.

  • it may work for me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bugs2squash (1132591) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @07:14PM (#32342874)
    Truth is, I'm not looking for a replacement to my Laptop. I want something robust and minimal that I can take on the road from time to time. Maybe watch a movie or read pdfs on the plane, use to deliver my pre-prepared powerpoint, maybe touch up the powerpoint a little the day before the presentation when I find out I have mis-spelled someone's name. Allow me to keep some notes perhaps. Let me ssh into the servers at work if one of them needs attention while I'm travelling, maybe let me skype home from the hotel.
    My needs are quite modest and, frankly, are tied to the application stack and the standard list of PC ports (VGA, USB etc.)
    I'm not looking for a new computing paradigm, just something to fill a niche. Hell - I'm not so pure that I can't plug a wireless mouse into the thing if it helps. Something a little slicker than my netbook would be nice.
  • by Myrcutio (1006333) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:19PM (#32343474)
    The only thing the ipad proved is that the tablet market has been sorely neglected; the pent up market demand is palpable. There are still some very basic tasks that are well suited to a portable touchscreen device.

    Printing is a big one, its not that hard to detect and download a printer driver automatically, every desktop OS does it and it's great.

    The USB functionality, at the very least for (you guessed it, printers) and flash drives would make this the primary tool for a great many college students. Why tether a device to a desktop when the device is perfectly capable by itself of handling all kinds of file manipulation.

    That last point is the singular reason i have no interest in owning an ipad, the network device and file support is in the dark ages. Even apple supported apps like the vaunted keynote remote are horribly buggy, slow, and unintelligent, often requiring router configuration without the help of man pages. Is it really that hard to believe that offices WANT a slick, intuitive interface for accessing and manipulating documents on a local network, a flash drive?

    There's still alot of untapped market demand, the ipad only scratched the surface.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:49PM (#32344050) Homepage Journal

    I'm writing this on one of them. Specifics:

    http://www.motioncomputing.com/products/tablet_pc_le17.asp [motioncomputing.com]

    True tablet, no keyboard, though it supports most USB keyboards (obviously). Runs Windows 7 just fine (ran Vista when I got it, which was a nightmare), and has really good handwriting recognition. Great for reading in bed. And being able to play Plants vs. Zombies with a stylus instead of a mouse nicely offsets my hand-eye coordination problems.

    Which is not to say that I disagree with TFA about the economic viability of the thing. It's way too expensive, and if I weren't an overpaid geek who's willing to pay a huge premium just to have certain ubercool technologies, I wouldn't own one.

    The iPad is overhyped, as are all Apple products. But so what? Even if it's just an overgrown iPod Touch (which means it's something I'd never bother with), there's obviously a market for it. On the train to work this morning, half my fellow commuters were passing the time on some kind of pocket device, and maybe a third of these were iPhones or iPads. Take one of these and give it a half-decent screen, and I think you've got a winner, even if it is a product most geeks would sneer at.

  • by caywen (942955) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:08AM (#32345168)

    Microsoft just never quite understood its developer base as well as it should have. For decades, they kept API's incredibly archaic and unchanging because they fear abandonment. They were scared to death of putting out a brand new OS because they fear abandonment. That fear drove their decision making process.

    So, it must have shocked them greatly that so many Windows developers just went ahead and wrote a ton of brand new code for iPhone. Like, 100,000 apps worth of code.

    They never got it - developers *like* to write code. Just give them decent something to write *for*.

Old programmers never die, they just become managers.

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