Microsoft CEO: "Windows 7 slates by year-end"

At his keynote at the annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the expectant crowd that they should see Windows 7 tablet slate devices by the end of the year. This won’t be a one-release pony, and we should expect to see devices from a variety of manufacturers producing a wide range of configurations and platforms.

In the address, he never mentioned the expected competition, Apple’s iPad and devices running Chrome OS or Android, by name. The Windows 7 devices will be aimed at not only the consumer market, a market that currently holds the tablet form-factor in high esteem, but also the enterprise market, hoping to integrate the tablet experience with the IT systems integration that Windows dominates that market with.

According to ZDnet, this announcement is way overdue. As other OS developers produce successful systems for the slate device, Microsoft is falling behind in this ripe market. While Windows 8 is said to be focused on the tablet and small form-factor devices, that OS is still years away.

Microsoft has already aborted one tablet concept prematurely. The demise of the Courier, an interesting dual-screen tablet PC concept, was trashed back in April, causing internal turmoil at Microsoft headquarters. The cancellation could have been the catalyst that caused respected product executive J Allard to leave the company (although he has denied this claim in interviews). If Ballmer’s words are accurate, a successful Windows 7 slate tablet may be just what Microsoft needs to get back into the tablet game.   

Image Credit: Zimbio

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MFH said,
I'd say that one uses WebOS now...

Dear god I hope not, WebOS is sh-t - and knowing HP with their wh-rish ways they'll probably sabotage it to justify them killing it off in favour of Windows.

rawr_boy81 said,

Dear god I hope not, WebOS is sh-t - and knowing HP with their wh-rish ways they'll probably sabotage it to justify them killing it off in favour of Windows.


I haven't tried it, but from the looks it seemed decent. The Palm-hardware was rather weak tough... I doubt HP will kill a Slate based on WebOS in favor of a Windows Slate, as they killed the Windows Slate to replace it with the WebOS Slate...
The WebOS Slate may be more a consumer device (sounds like a copy of the iPad... PhoneOS on a tablet ) but I bet the integration into a Windows network will be no better than with any Apple product...

That is why makers like EXOPC and even HP are putting some time into making a touch gui app that run on top of windows.

Before you scoff check out some video of the GUI layer running on an actual demo unit.

http://blog.laptopmag.com/exop...ablet-weve-been-waiting-for

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/30/exopc-slate-hands-on/

Not only does the exopc run win7 quickly, it can play 1080P video files flawlessly and the exopc GUI layer is built for touch and has it's own app store for touch developed apps.

You literally get the best of both worlds, hardware that run Win7 very well plus a touch layer built specifically for touch applications.

If after watching the videos of how smoothly things run you still cannot see a tablet running win7 well then nothing will convince you.

swanlee said,
That is why makers like EXOPC and even HP are putting some time into making a touch gui app that run on top of windows.

Before you scoff check out some video of the GUI layer running on an actual demo unit.

http://blog.laptopmag.com/exop...ablet-weve-been-waiting-for

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/30/exopc-slate-hands-on/

Not only does the exopc run win7 quickly, it can play 1080P video files flawlessly and the exopc GUI layer is built for touch and has it's own app store for touch developed apps.

You literally get the best of both worlds, hardware that run Win7 very well plus a touch layer built specifically for touch applications.

If after watching the videos of how smoothly things run you still cannot see a tablet running win7 well then nothing will convince you.

while the Exo PC definitly has the best TUI-overlay this actually leads to a complete mess again... Programms will have to be developed specially for the Exo PC to guarantee a consistent UI. I'd prefer the normal GUI over any overlay... I'm not a casual user tough...

MFH said,

while the Exo PC definitly has the best TUI-overlay this actually leads to a complete mess again... Programms will have to be developed specially for the Exo PC to guarantee a consistent UI. I'd prefer the normal GUI over any overlay... I'm not a casual user tough...

Well that's why you can use a REAL OS like Win7 if you don't want to use the touch gui, win7 by itself is very touch friendly. If your a power users how is a mobile OS going to give you the options to do whatever you want?

swanlee said,
Well that's why you can use a REAL OS like Win7 if you don't want to use the touch gui, win7 by itself is very touch friendly. If your a power users how is a mobile OS going to give you the options to do whatever you want?

I would argue it isn't - the idea of menus and so forth just simply not designed to be used in a touch sort of way. If they must use Windows 7 then I'd like to see a custom Silverlight Front end that is designed from the ground up for touch rather than it being a tacked on after thought.

rawr_boy81 said,

I would argue it isn't - the idea of menus and so forth just simply not designed to be used in a touch sort of way. If they must use Windows 7 then I'd like to see a custom Silverlight Front end that is designed from the ground up for touch rather than it being a tacked on after thought.

Well if you mean menus in context of "menu bar" than, you will notice that Microsoft actually started to abandon these in the main "consumer-programs" since the release of Vista.
Check Office, IE, Explorer, Live Suite,... they all use rather "big" interface elements: Aero bars, Ribbon UI, which should be useable rather easy with touch input...

If the battery life is the usual couple of hours associated with Full OS tablets AND the spec's suck then once again these will fail as they have so repeatedly.

Ill take my all day powered Windows Phone 7 tablet whenever you finally have the epiphany thanks MS.

Osiris said,
If the battery life is the usual couple of hours associated with Full OS tablets AND the spec's suck then once again these will fail as they have so repeatedly.

Ill take my all day powered Windows Phone 7 tablet whenever you finally have the epiphany thanks MS.

I'll bet these slates will be based on the Netbook idea you can easily get 10 hours of battery life. If you consider that bad, I'm gonna qoute Steve Jobs: "You won't read more than 10 hours."

ilev said,
Win7 on a tablet ? Have you check lately winSXS folder on Vista/Win7 ? 5GB of data, ten-thousands files..... usually 40% of Windows folder. Would you put this on a tablet ?
`
5gigs is so minor considering how big hard drives (even 1,8" ones) are today...
[1.8" goes up to 320GB currently, we even care about 5GB in WinSxS...]
2.5" is even more likely to be used in Slates - bet they will be touchscreen netbooks anyway, but hope they get D510's as single core Atom's can be rather limited if you multitask alot - goes up to 1TB. If we go on with the Netbook base you will get a 160GB HDD, still care about 5GB?

W7 and slate is disaster waiting to happen. Simply not the right combination of hardware and software. I looks like another KinSlate fail coming...

and to the poster above: 2.5" in a slate??

Borix said,
W7 and slate is disaster waiting to happen. Simply not the right combination of hardware and software. I looks like another KinSlate fail coming...

and to the poster above: 2.5" in a slate??


2.5" for a HDD can be done, just depends on arrangement of the components. If that one is too thick for you a 1.8" will do. BTW as 1.8" is more exprensive I bet they will use 2.5...

People said netbooks running win7 wouldn't work but the whole netbook market did not take off until netbooks started having windows on it.

People are just being silly and parroting Apple like talking points, Win7 is NOT the bloated un touch friendly OS that people here are making it out to be. Since it is windows you can run whatever touch gui interface you want, you can do anything you want, heck you can run Droid emulators if you want.

Being stuck with a mobile OS limits your choices and what you can do with what is a full fledged PC in a tablet form factor. These Win7 slates aren't little mobile toys they are real PC's with a lot of use for work and for personal use having win7 on them gives you all the options in the world for how YOU want to use them.

to poster above: just ask yourself why an W7 slate combo has not materialized yet...

As emphasis moves to the cloud a full blown OS for a mobile device is not practical. A combination of generic hardware and W7 will probably result in poor battery life or poor performance, both will not be something MS is aming for.

Borix said,
to poster above: just ask yourself why an W7 slate combo has not materialized yet...

As emphasis moves to the cloud a full blown OS for a mobile device is not practical. A combination of generic hardware and W7 will probably result in poor battery life or poor performance, both will not be something MS is aming for.


Best would be if they release Windows Phone 7 as a Tablet version....

MFH said,

Best would be if they release Windows Phone 7 as a Tablet version....

Why? it is not a phone, does not need a mobile OS, these are actual pc's just in a different form factor, we already have a tablet with a phone's os on it why do we need more of them?

Wonder why people just seem so hard headed against a Win7 netbook without the keyboard?

swanlee said,

Why? it is not a phone, does not need a mobile OS, these are actual pc's just in a different form factor, we already have a tablet with a phone's os on it why do we need more of them?

Wonder why people just seem so hard headed against a Win7 netbook without the keyboard?

I think I said it wrong. Personaly I would without a doubt choose a Windows 7 Slate over a PhoneOS based "Tablet". From what I've seen Win7 seems rather useable without a touchpad or n keyboard. But I think consumers would choose a PhoneOS over such a solution.

What actually annoys me the most is, that Microsoft has shown a Prototyp of the Metro UI for Windows Embedded Compact which looked rather interessting (as the PhoneOS itself) and announced that this won't be released... While I wouldn't need such a "dumbed down" OS, for my mum and dad something like that would be perfekt - Apple is no option; neither is anything that doesn't interact perfectly with a Microsoft network...

MFH said,

I think I said it wrong. Personaly I would without a doubt choose a Windows 7 Slate over a PhoneOS based "Tablet". From what I've seen Win7 seems rather useable without a touchpad or n keyboard. But I think consumers would choose a PhoneOS over such a solution.

What actually annoys me the most is, that Microsoft has shown a Prototyp of the Metro UI for Windows Embedded Compact which looked rather interessting (as the PhoneOS itself) and announced that this won't be released... While I wouldn't need such a "dumbed down" OS, for my mum and dad something like that would be perfekt - Apple is no option; neither is anything that doesn't interact perfectly with a Microsoft network...

Well that is the cool thing about win7, simply have a touch based gui layered on top of win7. I think we can establish that win7 itself will run fine on these slate pc's which have better hardware specs than netbooks whihc people are fine with.

If grandma has issues with Win7 it's pretty simple to just have a basic touch layer on top of it for ease of use.

That EXOPC touch layer is pretty much dummy proof but yet gives you the advantage of running on windows.

I think they need a trimmed down or special version of Windows for tablets. Full blown is either laggy and/or underpowered and are very hard to operate because they don't change the menu's to be more finger friendly. Glad to see them pushing this technology though.

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