This is Part 2 out of my 3 part series on “Microsoft + Tablets” where I analyze what direction Microsoft has gone with Windows on tablet device.
In Part 1, I highlighted the areas that I think have contribute
d to the poor perception of Windows tablets in mainstream consumers, and even technophiles. this time, I’m going to go over the most recent developments in Windows tablets starting with the CES 2010 conference.
Before the CES 2010 conference even occurred, there’d been many rumors swirling around for quite awhile about Apple creating some sort of tablet or slate device that might be released in 2010. Given the consumer success the iPhone and iPod Touch has had, that had somewhat re-awoken Microsoft and hardware partners that their current Windows tablets weren’t selling so hot. So they needed to do something.
HP released a teaser video of their slate, and at the time, it definitely looked awesome.
At CES 2010, Ballmer attempted to hype up Windows-based tablets. There were 3 tablets on stage, one each from Archos, HP, and Pegatron. He mostly showed off the HP Slate though, running the Kindle software, a game, and video playback.
6 months later, rumors about the HP Slate swirled about, with screenshots, and videos and such. Unfortunately for Microsoft, HP decided not to go ahead and sell it to consumers, but instead market it towards the business users. It was then renamed the HP Slate 500.
EXOPC was also another attempt to bring Windows tablets to the masses.
It came with a pretty unique touch layer, very “Connect 4” you might say. Not entirely sold on the style, but the layout is pretty handy where it shows all the apps, and you can manage the apps through the ‘sidebars’ on the right and left side of the screen. I had a friend that bought one too, and he absolutely loves it.
Unfortunately, I find it pretty hard to ignore the 4 hour battery life, and the fact that the only retail presence it has is through Microsoft stores, which there are only about a handful that exist in this country.
Toshiba Libretto is about the only other Windows-based tablet to really have any remark about it. It had a limited production, and didn’t take long to sell out. Maybe it’s just rumors, but I heard that it’s dual-screen concept was based on Microsoft’s Courier, and that even some Microsoft folks helped out Toshiba with the extra software.
To sum it up, consumer-wise, Windows-based tablet have failed yet again in 2010. Virtually no retail presence, marketing, and pretty much the same issues as before, though the hardware has improved only marginally.
At CES 2011, the story really hasn’t changed much. Asus showed off the EEE Slate EP121, which actually looks very nifty and nicer than the HP Slate. I predict that it still won’t have much success.
Overall nothing has changed a bit, and as to the present, Windows-based tablets will continue to fail to gain mainstream adoption.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of my series, “Windows tablets of the ideal future”.