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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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.

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.

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.

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...

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."

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...

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...

It's great to have Windows 7 functionality on a Slate but Microsoft are kidding themselves if they think it works great as a Slate. They need to put a lot more work into a touch friendly OS.

Python96 said,
Going to be a hell of allot better than the "ipad", piece of crap

Now, now. To me, the iPad is most definitely more a toy than anything else, but I wouldn't call it a piece of crap. It's impractical for anything that I'm interested in doing--even reading forums and posting something as short as this reply is absolutely cumbersome using a full touch screen keyboard. However, it is a very nicely built piece of hardware.

Python96 said,
Going to be a hell of allot better than the "ipad", piece of crap

You seem confident considering it's currently vapourware. Did you say the same thing about the Kin too? Inquiring minds wish to know

LoveThePenguin said,

You seem confident considering it's currently vapourware. Did you say the same thing about the Kin too? Inquiring minds wish to know

The Kin died because of the carrier's data plan. The phone was fine.

GreyWolf said,
The Kin died because of the carrier's data plan. The phone was fine.

If that was the case, why didn't they simply change carrier/plans? Additionally, that does not explain only 10k unit sales; that's extremely poor even for MS. Not only but also reviewing websites universally derided the Kin for it's lacklustre features.

To try and assign blame to others has become a common feature of microsoft products. The reason for vista's failure was poor marketing and poor driver support from manufacturers, Kin's was the carriers fault. I'm starting to see a pattern here... everyone else is to blame except microsoft lol.

LoveThePenguin said,

If that was the case, why didn't they simply change carrier/plans? Additionally, that does not explain only 10k unit sales; that's extremely poor even for MS. Not only but also reviewing websites universally derided the Kin for it's lacklustre features.

To try and assign blame to others has become a common feature of microsoft products. The reason for vista's failure was poor marketing and poor driver support from manufacturers, Kin's was the carriers fault. I'm starting to see a pattern here... everyone else is to blame except microsoft lol.

Vista only failed because hardware manufacturers were too stupid to actually provide drivers, the OS itself had it's flaws, but after SP1 there was no major problem in the OS.

The Kin,
well the plan on how to sell these phones was rather stupid (?). But Verizon's plan actually made it fail even more, it was way overprized. From the reviews I've seen there were good parts in the system, which may make it to Windows Phone 7 now (The Kin-team was merged with the WP7-team...)

Considering I can routinely find QUAD core processor machines for $350, it seems quite reasonable to expect Slate machines to be $150 and smoking fast with a FULL processor that would easily blow away the over rated Ipad. I would want one on my TV table for the couch... but not for $700, are you kidding me? Only a fanboy with no CLUE would do that...

jimmyfal said,
Considering I can routinely find QUAD core processor machines for $350, it seems quite reasonable to expect Slate machines to be $150 and smoking fast with a FULL processor that would easily blow away the over rated Ipad. I would want one on my TV table for the couch... but not for $700, are you kidding me? Only a fanboy with no CLUE would do that...
$150? keep dreaming

Bullhead said,

Yeah, and not to mention battery life...


Considering the about 10 hours you can get with a single core Intel Atom, think it should be able to get about 8 hours with a dual core Atom, as the CPU will likely be idle about 90% of the time...

MFH said,

Considering the about 10 hours you can get with a single core Intel Atom, think it should be able to get about 8 hours with a dual core Atom, as the CPU will likely be idle about 90% of the time...

With w7 and its constant disk access I doubt that.

LoveThePenguin said,

With w7 and its constant disk access I doubt that.

Ok, so what am I smoking all week long? Even a 2 year old EEE 1000H gets up to 6hours (considerng the battery already lost capacity that's pretty good). A new EEE gets even more time - it's definitly between 9 and 11 hours...
Maybe YOU should try it, before you bash it?

why making windows 7 tablet and they are preparing for Windows Embedded Compact 7 tablet.
stop been random please and release one product that actually work great for everyone. nothing more need it.

darkfanar said,
why making windows 7 tablet and they are preparing for Windows Embedded Compact 7 tablet.
stop been random please and release one product that actually work great for everyone. nothing more need it.

Windows Embedded Compact is for OEM system builders that have the resources to use the platform provided by WEC to build their own integrated solution. If you don't have that, Windows 7 comes with everything out of the box.

darkfanar said,
why making windows 7 tablet and they are preparing for Windows Embedded Compact 7 tablet.
stop been random please and release one product that actually work great for everyone. nothing more need it.

Because MS likes making as many versions as possible. I guess they figure 95% will fail and maybe 1 or 2 might match what's currently on the market. Just look at the their portable music players/phones/search engines, They just hope the public are stupid enough to buy into their gimmicky pr stunts and new coats of paint.

LoveThePenguin said,

Because MS likes making as many versions as possible. I guess they figure 95% will fail and maybe 1 or 2 might match what's currently on the market. Just look at the their portable music players/phones/search engines, They just hope the public are stupid enough to buy into their gimmicky pr stunts and new coats of paint.

There is ONE portable music player: The Zune HD
There is ONE phone-os for the normal user: Windows Phone 7
There is ONE phone-os for business users, which actually seems to become a legacy thing: Windows Mobile
There is ONE search engine: Bing

MFH said,

There is ONE portable music player: The Zune HD
There is ONE phone-os for the normal user: Windows Phone 7
There is ONE phone-os for business users, which actually seems to become a legacy thing: Windows Mobile
There is ONE search engine: Bing

WinMo is on life support. It's mainly there for legacy support and we'll see it fade away in a few years.

Windows = desktop
Windows Embeded Compact = Slates and similar task specific devices
Windows Embeded Standard = Task specific devices that require the NT Kernel
Windows Embeded Handheld = Corporate handheld devices (such as inventory scanners)
Windows Embeded Automotive = For cars
Windows Phone = Consumer Phones

They all only use two kernels. They use either the NT kernel (big windows and WES) or CE. The only ones that regular people would develop for are WP7 and W7. They are moving towards using a single language for everything, which is silverlight. So you write once and it'll work on anything that MS touches.

Bengal34 said,

WinMo is on life support. It's mainly there for legacy support and we'll see it fade away in a few years.

Windows = desktop
Windows Embeded Compact = Slates and similar task specific devices
Windows Embeded Standard = Task specific devices that require the NT Kernel
Windows Embeded Handheld = Corporate handheld devices (such as inventory scanners)
Windows Embeded Automotive = For cars
Windows Phone = Consumer Phones

They all only use two kernels. They use either the NT kernel (big windows and WES) or CE. The only ones that regular people would develop for are WP7 and W7. They are moving towards using a single language for everything, which is silverlight. So you write once and it'll work on anything that MS touches.


Isn't that actually what I said?
We are moving towards a single runtime environment, but that's not Silverlight it's: .NET and several interchangeable languages....

Win7 is not to bloated for a tablet, Win7 runs fine on slower hardware it will run fine on a tablet especially ones that have 2GB ram and a fast SSD. Win7 tablets are going to basically be netbooks without the keyboard but with better cpu's due to the new line of Atom's.

People scoffed at netbooks running windows but the whole netbook thing didn't take off till most of them ran windows. I have a netbook with Win7 and it runs really really well and very fast.

Win7 has about the same system requirements as XP and even the slowest new hardware out now is much faster than when XP came out.

Win7 tablets will run fine, Win7 netbooks run good and the new tablets will as well. This argument against Win7 tablets is false and completely unfounded.

swanlee said,
Win7 has about the same system requirements as XP and even the slowest new hardware out now is much faster than when XP came out.
Really?

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7:
1 GHz 32-bit processor
1GB RAM
16 GB of free disk space

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP:
233 MHz
64 MB RAM
1.5 GB of free disk space

Rudy said,
Really?

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7:
1 GHz 32-bit processor
1GB RAM
16 GB of free disk space

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP:
233 MHz
64 MB RAM
1.5 GB of free disk space

i dare you to run windows xp on that kind of system

Rudy said,
Really?

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7:
1 GHz 32-bit processor
1GB RAM
16 GB of free disk space

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP:
233 MHz
64 MB RAM
1.5 GB of free disk space

You obviously copied that from wikipedia and you've conveniently missed of the line where it says Microsoft does not recommend running xp on 64mb of ram and microsoft actually says it will have limited performance.

thealexweb said,

You obviously copied that from wikipedia and you've conveniently missed of the line where it says Microsoft does not recommend running xp on 64mb of ram and microsoft actually says it will have limited performance.

But it's still not going to require you to have close to 1GB of ram either

Rudy said,
Really?

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7:
1 GHz 32-bit processor
1GB RAM
16 GB of free disk space

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP:
233 MHz
64 MB RAM
1.5 GB of free disk space


+1
Haha, pwnd.

thealexweb said,

You obviously copied that from wikipedia and you've conveniently missed of the line where it says Microsoft does not recommend running xp on 64mb of ram and microsoft actually says it will have limited performance.


That's why it's called the minimum, not the recommended doh.

LoveThePenguin said,

That's why it's called the minimum, not the recommended doh.
+1


and that wikipedia article also states this:

Even though this is Microsoft's stated minimum processor speed for Windows XP, it is possible to install and run the operating system on early IA-32 processors such as a P5 Pentium without MMX instructions.[38] Windows XP is not compatible with processors older than Pentium (such as 486) because it requires CMPXCHG8B instructions.

But like the memory thing I figured it wasn't really worth mentioning....

LoveThePenguin said,
That's why it's called the minimum, not the recommended doh.

The minimum for Windows 7 leaves the user with a more functional computer than the minimal for Windows XP. Windows XP at the bare minimum requires 512MB (or higher if using a GPU with shared memory).

I don't know why people are talking about memory given how cheap 1GB is and the fact that if there is a 'Windows 7 for Slate' it will have a tonne of features disabled because they're not relevant to a user running a slate.

rawr_boy81 said,

The minimum for Windows 7 leaves the user with a more functional computer than the minimal for Windows XP. Windows XP at the bare minimum requires 512MB (or higher if using a GPU with shared memory).

When Windows XP came out people didn't have 512mb of ram and every one was running it fine

Rudy said,

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP:
233 MHz
64 MB RAM
1.5 GB of free disk space

There is no way Windows XP runs on these specs with all updates installed, but if you want to compare vanilla XP or XP-SP1 with 7, go on...

MFH said,

There is no way Windows XP runs on these specs with all updates installed, but if you want to compare vanilla XP or XP-SP1 with 7, go on...

Actually that's a better comparison anyway. w7 has no service pack. Besides, xp sp-2 could run on 64 mb provided you have swap space, much the same way w7 would need swap space if you had the minimum recommended 1gb.

LoveThePenguin said,

Actually that's a better comparison anyway. w7 has no service pack. Besides, xp sp-2 could run on 64 mb provided you have swap space, much the same way w7 would need swap space if you had the minimum recommended 1gb.

Just because Win7 has no service pack doesn't mean you can compare it to vanilla XP an say you can run WinXP on lower specs. Running XP on 64mb? Are you crazy? I have a old Pentium 3 here with 1 GHz and 512 MB RAM it's dead slow, locks/slows down extreme it's not useable for any real work. Even my EEE PC 1000H with 1 gig of RAM is faster/more responsive than it was with XP...

lordcanti86 said,
Win7 tablets are nice, but I'm waiting for Windows EC tablets.

There is no Windows EC, there is Windows CE and if a Windows CE based tablet were to appear it would have a custom interface rather than something approaching the desktop paradigm.

rawr_boy81 said,

There is no Windows EC, there is Windows CE and if a Windows CE based tablet were to appear it would have a custom interface rather than something approaching the desktop paradigm.

Actually there is a Windows EC, as EC stands for Empedded Compact, which is part of the Windows Embedded line an is based on the CE-kernel, whereas Embedded Standard is based on the NT-kernel. There a few more Windows Embedded version, e.g. one for automotives....

The EXOPC looks to be the best tablet coming out soon. It's got a new Atom CPU, 2GB ram, 64GB SSD, Broadcom HD chip, GPS, 3g etc. The key is it has it's own gui layer with it's own app store.

So you have the benefits of Win7 but still the quick and easy use of a tablet layer with apps written specifically for it.

more info about it here

http://www.exopc.com/

I don't understand why people are so attracted to tablets. Whats so good about them? It's a really big touchscreen.

That's the best part... To be able to express yourself with a sexy display instead of some plastic mouse/keyboard. The UI has to be designed for it too, so it makes it really nice compared to the other user interfaces. It's a clean design, one that you can put in your lap and just use without the hassle of input devices everywhere.

If they can make a sweet OLED display, then the sky is the limit. HD movies right on your display, and the ability to make the UI better and better for this sweet display. Your not limited at all, and the battery life is great.

Haptic said,
I don't understand why people are so attracted to tablets. Whats so good about them? It's a really big touchscreen.
Convenient to carry around In Stargate Atlantis everyone carried tablets around. Although theirs were quite bulky!

Xero said,
Convenient to carry around In Stargate Atlantis everyone carried tablets around. Although theirs were quite bulky!

That is because those are old fashioned tablets, convertible laptops in other words. These new ones really should be called slates...

Give me one with good battery life and windows 7 with a 10" screen and i will be replacing my notebook, paper notebook that is and not my laptop

Haptic said,
I don't understand why people are so attracted to tablets. Whats so good about them? It's a really big touchscreen.

On your feet computing. I would love a Windows 7 Slate with a nice camera on the back at work. Snap a picture, that shows up in my report. Be able to add annotations directly on the picture and write some notes down. Add a voice memo that shows up as an icon that I can click-to-play later. I can't do all this on my laptop. My current work-flow is crippled by the fact that I have to take a number of pictures with my camera and then take them to my desk and remember what photos I took and why.

As long as the device manufacturers don't churn out complete pieces of crap, this could be a very good thing. Despite being primarily a Mac OS X user, I'd be very interested in a Windows 7 tablet, if done right. It's a fantastic OS.

chaos_disorder said,
As long as the device manufacturers don't churn out complete pieces of crap, this could be a very good thing. Despite being primarily a Mac OS X user, I'd be very interested in a Windows 7 tablet, if done right. It's a fantastic OS.

Would also be nice if people would learn the difference between a Slate and a Tablet as they are completely different.

vaximily said,

Would also be nice if people would learn the difference between a Slate and a Tablet as they are completely different.

Would be nice if you could qualify that. A quick google search yields no distinct differentiation between the two...

Axel said,
Would be nice if you could qualify that. A quick google search yields no distinct differentiation between the two...

I think Microsoft's original vision for a tablet PC is a regular laptop that can be turned into a tablet by rotating the screen like some HP laptops. The slate concept is similar to the iPad where you have touch input only with no integrated physical keyboard and trackpad. Not entirely sure though.

chaos_disorder said,
As long as the device manufacturers don't churn out complete pieces of crap, this could be a very good thing. Despite being primarily a Mac OS X user, I'd be very interested in a Windows 7 tablet, if done right. It's a fantastic OS.

I too am a Mac user and acknowledge Windows 7 is a great operating system but I wonder whether it is the right operating system for the job - maybe it would be more suitable to use Windows CE 7 with an interface based on Silverlight more suited to slate input. I can see a role for Windows 7 but it was designed from the ground up to be a desktop/laptop/workstation/server operating system - even though Apple talks about the commonality between iOS and Mac OS X, the two operating system are entirely different beasts when you get into nitty gritty.

.Neo said,

I think Microsoft's original vision for a tablet PC is a regular laptop that can be turned into a tablet by rotating the screen like some HP laptops. The slate concept is similar to the iPad where you have touch input only with no integrated physical keyboard and trackpad. Not entirely sure though.

Sorry to be smartassish, but that's wrong. What you're talking about is a convertible. Both, slates and convertibles, are (more or less disjoint) subsets of tablets, so a slate is just as much a tablet as a convertible is.
Also, there have been Windows slates for years. I don't quite get what's so special about the new ones...