Windows Tablet Makers: If You Build it They Won't Necessarily Come

I followed the CES coverage last week carefully, looking for that rare Windows tablet that nailed both the form factor and the user interface. It was pretty much a waste of time.

My position on whether Windows tablets will succeed in the market is pretty clear. A solid user experience is essential in the touch tablet segment, and so far I haven't seen anyone succeed in producing one running Windows. I followed the CES coverage last week carefully, looking for that rare Windows tablet that nailed both the form factor and the user interface. It was pretty much a waste of time.

To show you what I mean, take a look at the three-minute video my friends at Netbook News shot in the Microsoft booth at the CES. There was an entire wall of Windows tablets on display, supposedly to convince attendees that the future in the tablet segment was Windows.

Did you watch the video? If so, you saw tablet after tablet with roughly the same form factor (thin, 10-inch), all sporting the familiar face of Windows 7. That's a big failure in my book, as Windows 7 simply can't provide a solid user experience on touch tablets.

Outside of the Microsoft booth at the CES there were a few tablets that showed real promise, but not one of them are running Windows. I am a long-time user of Windows Tablet PCs and I am thoroughly frustrated at Microsoft's failure to address the consumer touch tablet market. Heck, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet looks really promising, with a brand-new interface that appears to be quite good for touch operation. Can't Microsoft do something like this? I would be embarrassed if I worked at Microsoft in the group(s) working on tablets.

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