Microsoft TouchTab

Rumors are flying around about a special multitouch/touchscreen tablet coming from Microsoft in a year or two. This may sound surprising, considering Microsoft doesn’t make hardware for Windows OS, but it seems like they are. I think this is due to the fact that most PC makers just don’t understand how mobile computing should work. I think this is suppose to be a joint-project between multiple hardware companies with Microsoft – all expecting a share of the profits when it sells. TouchTab is suppose to coincide with the release of Windows 7. According to some, it’s said to be ‘revolutionary’ and ‘innovative’, two words most people don’t try to associate with Microsoft. The TouchTab will incorporate popular features of laptops, tablet PC’s, among other mobile features to make it a success.

Then, there’s also another rumor about the Microsoft TouchTop – Think of this as the TouchTab but more like a desktop, stationary computer. Sort of like the Microsoft Surface table, but small enough to actually fit on your desk.

As far on any specific details, that’s about all I can gather from these rumors. No pictures or any specified features. Sorry.

At first, I immediately thought this wouldn’t do so well on Microsoft’s relations to PC makers, who usually bundle Windows along with their computers. But considering that I heard it was a joint-project worked on by several PC makers, maybe they’ll be ok with this if they can just get a cut. It will be completely branded by Microsoft somehow, though the PC makers might get mentioned, though not directly on the device.

This is actually a good thing. This shows Microsoft is committed to bring next level computing to the masses. Well actually, touchscreen tablets have been here for awhile, but Microsoft (and hardware makers) for the most part, have never made them appealing to the masses. But maybe that might change now, seeing that they’ve obviously cared enough to join forces.

So even though I don’t know for sure what we’re going to see, it doesn’t hurt to wish does it? So I’ve made a list of all the things I expect to see in the so-called TouchTab. I’ll try to make it not be too Microsoft-specific, we’re these features can be applied to any future mobile device. (Though I might add in parenthesis where I would love MS technology to come in). So here it goes.

Hardware :

  • Smooth and durable plastic – I want the covering of the device to have a nice smooth surface. With as little rough spots or fingerprint-catching as possible. And make it scratchproof, or where it doesn’t scratch that easy. And of course, make it long-lasting. Think of laptops like the Vaio TX.
  • Built-in high resolution webcam – 5MP or higher maybe? I want video chats to be as clear as possible and photos taken with it to come out nice looking. And make it not stick out too much. Be as discreet but simple like the built-in iSight cams in Macs. The built-in mic should also be high quality enough to get good voice input. Just in case you feel like recording your voice or using voice recognition to move around your OS.
  • Touchscreen or multi-touch input – It would be wonderful to have a screen you could interact with. Hopefully, the thing behind it works well to detect every single touch, swipe, gesture, pen flick, etc. that you could apply to the screen. And the multi-touch better recognize multiple inputs. (I’m hoping that it would work in the same way as MS Surface)
  • Great specs (of course!) – Give nice decent specs. Give specs that will actually work well mobile. Don’t scrimp on specs. Give nice specs, and it would be even better if it could use less needed as possible and still work efficiently. And go for Compact Flash HDD too. As long as you give us the good specs, you can expect happier users.
  • Slide-out keyboard with light-up keys – Even though the screen will support touch inputs, that doesn’t mean some of us want to depart without them. I at least want the option. Make it ultra-slim to fit with the device’s design (or make it optionally removable from the screen) and I would love to see keys with light-up symbols (the symbols, not the keys themselves). I’m looking for a bluish-white (or an option to change other colors and hues) light. And make it one of those chiclet keyboards, similar to the Sony Vaio TX.
  • Light-up logo – As far as I know, only Apple and Alienware offer such a cool thing. There’s just something about a light-up part on external hardware that people just MUST have. The light-up really makes the device look cool. Please have it. Oh, and whatever logo you guys choose, DON’T make it too complex (abstract), ugly, or too overly big. That just ruins it.
  • Good external AutoDetection – Maybe the words don’t realistically meet up that way, but if it can auto-detect things, that would be neat. Such as if it become darker, to turn the light-up logo on (instead of waste energy during daytime). Of to go into sleep mode if the user hasn’t touched it for awhile. And if the laptop lid closes, automatically turn off (hope you saved first!). Just recognize external conditions and reacting well to it would be great.
  • At LEAST around 6-8 hours of battery life – The more self-reliant laptops can be, the better. But having to charge them often is a drag. Better yet, why not actually be innovative and but solar panels on the laptop? It makes it’s own energy, and it’s free!
  • No CD or DVD drive – Now I know some people still use them, but for the most part, I think average users will find them useless. These days, you can download fast and instantly to your hard drive via the internet. Download things from music tracks, to games, to movies, to tv shows, and even whole programs. The CD/DVD drive will only take up more inside space and make the device bigger.
  • Make as many port plug-ins that work well – These days, it’s as simple as connecting a device via USB and loading/downloading data. So make the ports well designed to instantly attach to the plug, without scarring it or making it too difficult to plug in.
  • Speakers that go all the way up – Don’t give me any sub-standard built-in speakers. Give them the high audio quality they deserve.
  • Lay off the system stickers – If I wanted to know what operating system or chip it is, I could just read it in the manual (providing that the manual is actually readable and to the point). But I don’t want nasty ugly stickers on the front of my device. And then the pain of carefully removing them to make sure I don’t leave sticker residue.
  • Dimensions no taller than 1" – If the tablet’s height is higher than 1", it’s definitely going to be hard to call it "ultra-portable".
  • Weigh no more than 5 lbs. – Ultra-portable also means being light.
  • Support up to the highest resolutions – Important if you like to view HD content, work with media, etc.

Software (OS):

  • Bluetooth – You know, to better connect phones, PDA’s, and even mice. And maybe to sync your (WinMo) phone OS with your computer.
  • Built-in GPS – Would really come in handy when you’re mobile. Makes it easier to find exact business or places near you on online maps, great for exact geotagging of photos, and other location-based activities.
  • Handwriting recognition – Very important if you’re a pen user.
  • Voice recognition – Important if you’re going to use voice input.
  • Fast WiFi (802.11n) connection
  • Multi-touch capable OS 
  • Calling abilities (VOIP or Live Messenger?)
  • Fingerprint scanning (directly from the screen?) and iris scanning (from the webcam?) 
  • Electronic currency standard – If it’s stands popular enough, you could use the tablet to send digital money to purchase items. You just have to wait for more businesses to find it standard everywhere.
  • Super drag-n’-drop – Share files and whatnot across other tablets by drag and dropping them across screens
  • Dialkeys pre-installed – They make great virtual keyboards. Their super nifty. They should come with ALL touch devices.
  • TV tuner – watch TV on the go
  • Origami Experience 2.0 – media playing friendly
  • Smart scroll – instead of traditional scroll, use a small circle cycle button, and just simply twirl around the circle to scroll
  • InkSeine technology – according to Microsoft, it’s a way to quickly search across things like the computer, the web, etc. In such a simplistic way.
  • OneNote included – Even if Microsoft doesn’t usually sell Office with Windows, OneNote is a must-have feature on a touch device. Taking notes, keeping journals, jotting down ideas, have never been any easier.
  • Input customizer – I don’t know if there’s one available on current touch device, but mobile users really need a way to customize what inputs they use. Like I might want to create certain shortcuts from my keyboard by punching in simple commands at once. Or the way I flick a pen/finger might indicate what I want to see show up. Things like that.
  • Wacom technology – specialized touch input at its best

Accessories/Customizations :

  • Docking station – Set so that the screen is still usable. Charges the device up and can connect to other devices as well. Simplistic in design and easy to use.
  • Laser engraving – With a multitude of designs and layouts to choose from
  • Skins – Skins to cover the device. Fur, tough rubber protection, leather, whatever.
  • Color choice – Have a spectrum of colors the way you want your tablet to be.
  • Imager/Bar Code scanner – handy for businesses
  • Credit Card reader
  • Carrying cases
  • Power adapters
  • Special mounting options – like from a wall, embedded in a wall, stationary, etc.
  • Among others

Services:

  • Back up support – Specialized back up to the companies servers
  • Stores – Real store locations across the countries
  • Repair services
  • Special purchasing deals with large enterprises/schools
  • All the works

So pretty much basically incorporate things that practically everyone wants, and you’re good. If there’s anything else I should add, drop a comment.

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