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Microsoft Hardware

Ballmer Promises Microsoft Tablet By Christmas 356

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the also-i-want-pie dept.
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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Ballmer Promises Microsoft Tablet By Christmas

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  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:36PM (#33796526) Journal

    Coal is so old fashioned.

    • Windows 7 is Clean Coal. Get your coals straight.

    • Hah, I read this "Cool is so old fashioned" Makes sense both ways.
  • Once again.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cyberkahn (398201)

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

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

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:44PM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

        by binarylarry (1338699)

        "Where do you want to go today? ....wherever Apple and Google are of course!"

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

        by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:57PM (#33796874) Homepage

        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.... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:00PM (#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." ;)

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            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

        • by js3 (319268)

          Still waiting on the mac version of directx

        • by DdJ (10790)

          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 securit

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by gstoddart (321705)

            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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by man_of_mr_e (217855)

        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

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by UnknowingFool (672806)

          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.

          Except for the fact that MS has been one of the pioneers in tablet computing since 2001. Despite having started about a decade ahead, they've never seen the success Apple has with the iPad. And MS has had multiple attempts at tablet computing. I would venture to guess that Apple has sold more iPads this year than MS has sold tablets all decade and the year isn't over yet.

          It's the same with Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile preceded the iPhone by a decade. MS laughed at Apple and said the iPhone would neve

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:49PM (#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.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Goaway (82658) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:49PM (#33796724) Homepage

      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.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gander666 (723553) * on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:04PM (#33796986) Homepage

        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.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @03:34PM (#33799302) Journal

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

          This is a very good point. I've actually used Windows 7 on a tablet PC, yes, complete with touch screen. It's horrible!

          Imagine having to do window management on a device like that, stuff you don't even have to bother about on iOS or Android OS. Imagine an OS where lots of apps aren't designed for e.g. changed dpi settings (to at least be able to put your thumb on a maximize widget and not hit the restore widget!) and have their UI's crap out completely at that. Imagine how no text box in the OS will automatically pop up a virtual keyboard, and that the built-in Windows 7 virtual keyboard that's there consumes a third of the entire display on a 1024x600 touch screen. It's like how polished Windows XP 64-bit is for 64-bit apps. That's where Windows 7 is today, at best. They haven't even thought about how you're supposed to *use* Windows 7 as a touch OS yet, it's just a cobbled together mess of mouse interfaces, touch-oriented keyboards, small widgets, and API's for multi-touch features, for the 0.32% that use such devices on Windows 7. And they're already talking of a HP Slate this christmas. This will risk ending up a huge disappointment for HP.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)

            You don't have to imagine. Grab a free VNC app for an iPad and try it out for yourself. It's horrible. OS X on a tablet is pretty painful too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jimicus (737525)

        That's largely because Apple understand something that Microsoft historically haven't.

        A UI that works on a desktop PC does not necessarily work on a handheld device, simply because most of the assumptions made on a desktop PC (large screen, keyboard and mouse control) are no longer true. This has to go beyond just the desktop UI - applications must also account for this.

        Hell, even Windows Mobile has historically not dealt with this terribly gracefully.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:42PM (#33796592) Homepage

    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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by man_of_mr_e (217855)

      The motion computing tablets are $2000+ dollars... not exactly the same thing. Tablet PC's in that price range have been around for a long time.

      The Q1 is part of Microsoft's Origami platform launched several years ago, and never really took off because of poor battery life and weight problems in the devices, not to mention resistive touch screen sucks.

      The Archos 9 i've been keeping my eye on, but it lacks 3G. At 5 hours, it's battery life is so-so, but it's the best of the group at a good price point.

  • by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble.hotmail@com> on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:42PM (#33796594)
    Or the bigger question - which of the big Linux distros have drivers for touchscreens? I can see Ubuntu being all over this one.
    • All of them. Ease of use depends on the touchscreen, though; different brands are different.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rwa2 (4391) *

      I just bought an add-on resistive touchscreen kit for my eeePC 901

      http://www.slashgear.com/touchscreen-eee-pc-901-mod-2312854/ [slashgear.com]

      Haven't installed it yet, but it comes with Linux drivers. Will post on my /. journal if I reach any success with it later this week.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Its not so much the touchscreen drivers, which most OS's already have, that will make or break a tablet/slate system in the market.

      Its the interface and applications. The big problem that Windows has always faced on tablets is that both it and the applications put on it were made for a mouse driven interface. Where Apple scored big was in creating a touch interface, with associated apps, that worked.

      All the past tablet computers failed because they didn't have a touch interface that was easy and intuiti
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:43PM (#33796620) Homepage

    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.

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by UnknowingFool (672806)

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

        True if relying on shipping overseas by boat. MS could use air freight to expedite; however, it would be very expensive. It depends on how much MS is willing to spend to make it happen. MS will probably air freight just enough to say they made it in time for the season. If they sell out small quantities they could also announce "MS Tablets sold out everywhere!" type press releases as well.

  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:43PM (#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.

    • At least Ballmer will allow multitasking and a more or less open development platform. I assume, anyways.
    • by doconnor (134648) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:54PM (#33796812) Homepage

      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.

      • 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 w
      • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @08:14PM (#33802660) Journal

        Which is why they are going to die a slow death. And it started two years or three years ago (if not before). I saw the warning signs in 2003. Windows is a flat stable market, it has nothing "new" to offer, nor can it.

        Putting Windows anything on a tablet, because it can run "legacy" apps is just stupid. It is NOT a legacy product, and if shouldn't be treated as such.

        However, Microsoft COULD have come up with a OS that could be tied to AD (their best product, as bloated as it is) and controlled by Policy that ran on Tablets that wasn't "Windows". But they didn't, and they can't. THEY are WINDOWS. Everything they do is for WINDOWS. And as long as they think in terms of WINDOWS they are doomed to eventual failure, because WINDOWS doesn't do what people need on 4x5 inch screens or 9" tablets.

        In short, they've stopped being a "technology company", or "software company" and have become a "Windows Software Company". This is the same problem "railroad companies" faced, thinking they were in the Railroad business, when in fact, they were in the Transportation business.

        And this is why Apple is the #2 company in the world (Market Cap) and fast approaching #1 (Exxon), they aren't in the "Macintosh" business. If I was on the board of directors with Microsoft, I'd fire Balmer and find someone that had a vision of what kind of company Microsoft could be. I'd volunteer, but I doubt they'd pick a dumb idiot from the sticks like me.

        I am willing to listen to offers ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      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 pag

      • by Altus (1034) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:17PM (#33797168) Homepage

        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.

      • by flooey (695860) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:20PM (#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.

  • by EdZ (755139) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:44PM (#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.
    • by samkass (174571)

      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.

  • 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.

  • by sapgau (413511) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:45PM (#33796672) Journal

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

  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:46PM (#33796692) Homepage Journal

    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?

  • 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...

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:37PM (#33797522)

      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?

      MS has done this for years with consumer gadgets. For example, the Xbox and the Zune were pushed into the Christmas shopping seasons. Both allowed MS to claim that they moved millions of each when in reality, they simply pushed the quantities on retailers who would spend several months selling down their inventories. In the case of Zune, sometimes at bargain basement prices.

  • 17 years too late? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:48PM (#33796714)
    My first Windows based tablet computer was the Dauphin DTR-1 which was released in 1994.
  • Makes promises about upcoming technology, news at 11..and then again at 11:30!

  • Why not? (Score:2, Insightful)

    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
  • by jbengt (874751) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:01PM (#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.
    • by js3 (319268)

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

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:17PM (#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.

  • by Megahard (1053072) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:07PM (#33797022)
    His sled will be propelled by eight flying chairs.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:14PM (#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.

  • by Poingggg (103097) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:43PM (#33797638) Homepage

    It seems the 'Trainwreck'-movie has been removed by user from YouTube. Gosh, I wonder why!!

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