Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

Summary: The case for Windows 7 tablets was floated this week at the National Retail Federation powwow in New York City. The gist: Enterprises that want the Windows IT stack will go with Windows 7 tablets.

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One of the big question marks about the tablet market is the fate of Windows. Microsoft insists on creating Windows 7 tablets even though more than a few observers---including this one---grumble that Windows Phone 7 is a better choice for tablets.

But there is a role for Windows 7 tablets, but it's up to you whether you buy the argument or not. With that said, here's the argument for Windows 7 tablets: In select industries powered by Microsoft software the integration will be easier with Windows 7 tablets. In this argument, tablets are a mere extension of existing computing infrastructure.

The case for Windows 7 tablets was floated this week at the National Retail Federation powwow in New York City. At Intel's booth, there were a bevy of demonstrations about the future of shopping. Some of these technologies were ready for prime time. Others were barely out of the lab.

Intel's motives were clear. Intel wanted to promote its embedded processor business---think Atom---and digital signage. Big screens armed with cameras could collect anonymous data to track consumer behavior and demographics. For instance, Gillette could know that women spent 15 minutes at a grocery store end cap while men spent 3 minutes. Intel showed gesture technology, interactive shopping and a bevy of cool features where front-end screens would tie into back-end systems and create an efficiency utopia.

The tablets at these demonstrations were non-descript, but retailing execs and managers seemed to have integration on their mind. Simply put, Windows 7 tablets seemed to be an easier sell than Android or even iPad. It's that enterprise mindset if you will.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said most of the tablet design wins it is seeing revolve around Android and "an iPad apps-centric model." That said there are a few tablet designs "that are doing real Windows and want to have the Windows compatibility and the full Windows stack."

I'm not sure I buy the argument, but Windows tablets could garner traction in the enterprise. Ditto for Research in Motion's PlayBook. Add it up and RIM and Microsoft are playing a home game in the enterprise.

Here's a demo of one of the more fully baked technologies. This shopping wall will begin pilots in Adidas stores in the next six months.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets, Windows

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  • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

    I am in the process of researching a tablet purchase. I have come to the conclusion that I will wait until there is a tablet that does real Windows 7 because I am looking for a productivity device that also has entertainment capability. The need for interoperability with Microsoft Office Suite is very important to me.
    tricorder
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

      @tricorder

      There already is - Motion Computing ( http://www.motioncomputing.com ). Been using one as my single computer for 5 years. If you can't stand the price of the J3500, get the CL900 or a LE1600 or LE1700 (eBay). Runs Windows 7 and Office 2007 plus PhotoShop CS4 Extended etc. like a charm.
      dunraven
      • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

        @dunraven Cool - Thanks for the link!
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

        @dunraven These are outstanding but I'm not particularly happy a pen is necessary to use it. Touch should be just that. If a pen is wanted that can be an option too. But for me, I'm fond of the just use my finger method. It works well when everything fits on screen.

        I would like to say thanks for the link though. It's always nice to see other devices/options out there even when I don't necessarily like them.
        blueskip
      • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

        @blueskip
        Models listed on the motion computing website can use your finger and also use a pen when you need higher precision. You can give it the finger all you like!
        lelandhendrix@...
      • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

        @dunraven <br>I've been using a Motion LS800 as my portable for years. Prop it up (with the fold-out leg on the bump-case, or with the dock at home, with drives, monitor ...) add a USB or bluetooth KB and mouse, and I'm good anywhere. This is where tablet computing is going, whatever the OS. I love the tablet-centric buzz going on now - it's the future of portable computing and there's lots of room for all comers. BTW as a consultant, this setup was all I needed. Great for ebook reading, too. I prefer the pen, since I can "write" on the screen.
        radleym
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

      @tricorder
      The verticals being people/companies that can't see past the MS logo to find other products (ios, androai, etc) that are already solid and are actually designed for the platform with touch interface and such. I think Windows Phone 7 could grow, mature, and expand to meet the needs of tablets quite well, but to scale the full 7 down will likely suck. i use the iPad for word processing, spreadsheets, photos, movies, games, etc. and it is great. What I have seen of the new Android tablets look great. Windows 7 on a tablet is still a pipe dream.
      RedVeg
      • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

        @RedVeg I'm hoping the Android tablet is all I would expect it to be. It appears it's not going to be a let down in any aspect except true office programs and productivity software that's available for Windows. I'm sorry Google as much as I love the company, I don't like online maps, and I don't like online office products. Make them offline or not at all for me. I put GPS on my phone in a seperate program. I don't need to burn down data usage just to get around. That entire process could be loaded on my phone with MINIMAL data usage incurred even if used online. But that's not the case.
        blueskip
      • The problem with your argument...

        @RedVeg
        You're repeating the often repeated yet hideously incorrect meme that Windows 7 can't do touch properly.

        What you and everone else so conveniently forgets is that Microsoft's Surface table was originally based on Windows Vista and now the current versions are built on Windows 7. And if you'll remember, Surface is fully touch enabled. The touch part is baked into every copy of Windows 7.

        Just because iOS or Android are 'pretty' doesn't make them better suited for what Enterprises want to do with them. They (iOS and Android) can't easily be locked down with Group Policy, for instance.

        Your personal needs as far as word processing, spreadsheets and the like must not be very extensive. And that's OK. But for someone who's a power user, they may need features that have been nerfed out of the iPad's version of iWork, it ain't gonna cut it.

        See, that's the problem here. Just because the iPad fits your personal needs today doesn't make it so for everyone else.
        Wolfie2K3
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

      @tricorder

      Try this:

      http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/asus-eee-slate-ep121-officially-unveiled-ips-display-core-i5-a/

      Not IPS as the headline states, but MVA. Still...
      info@...
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

      @tricorder I've used one and one of the biggest issues Microsoft has NOT addressed is a simple one.

      Look, it's essentially a touchscreen similar to any iPhone or Android device and if I want to use it as a touchscreen I need everything to be ON screen and big enough to see and use "comfortably".

      I admit I'm not as young as I used to be, but I have perfect vision. However, I still like everthing to be big and easy to touch and read. If you take a tablet with a smaller screen and make it too large, you'll end up with all sorts of buttons in dialog boxes off screen with no way to touch them. It's annoying.

      Yes, there are work arounds on all devices I've seen. No, none of them are comfortable or intuitive in the least. Every box edge should be detected and moveable like it is in Android when it won't fit on screen. Unfortunately that's not the case in Windows 7. At least that's my take. Maybe there is a workaround that does this I'm not aware of, but so far I'm not liking this. It's a major oversight in use on a small device they "claim" it's compatible with in my honest opinion.

      But to their credit, I will say it runs smooth and without problems (for the most part) otherwise. There really should be a different GUI for touch pads. The method Android uses, and the iPhone for that matter, is just SOOO much better to access settings and programs.
      blueskip
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

      @tricorder
      Oh, there's no need to wait! Tablets running real Windows have been available for ten years now!
      lelandhendrix@...
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

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      upinson
  • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

    The only advantage I see of a W7 tablet over the iPad and Android tablet are the security policies than can be applied to it via group policy and software compatibility. Recently a customer asked how to run a Windows accounting application on a tablet. So maybe there is a market for Windows tablets.
    Other think I'm missing is OneNote and using an stylus for note taking.
    A part from that, I don't see any other advantage.
    dvm
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

      @dvm
      I think a full Windows7 running tablet would infinitely surpass the limited abilities in either iOS or Android.

      And if it only runs the WP7 stripped down platform, just the ability to leverage expertise and experience from .NET + XNA + Silverlight will set it way up into the stratosphere, compared to what's currently available.

      The main contender IMHO will be RIM's QNX, which is a true realtime OS and probably the most advanced in terms of efficiency bar none. Not Windows7, WP7, OS X, iOS, Linux or BSD can claim that fact.
      WinTard
  • Cute demo.....but

    Although the demo of the wall may be cute, the problem is that one and only one customer at a time can be served by an entire wall. However a sales person walking around with a 10 inch tablet can personally serve that customer without monopolizing the entire space. Furthermore, in the case of shoe sales, customers like to see, feel and touch the shoes. With his concept, you will be taking away entire walls of real shoes to replace with screens. <br>Let's not start with the cost of this.<br>Conclusion: The sales demo can be done much more efficiently and in private on a 10 inch tablet running the right software. Whether that tablet runs iOS, Android, Windows is irrelevant. Leave the wall space for real shoes.<br><br>P.S. @tricorder<br>This demo was about a sales concept not your personal wants/needs of a tablet.
    MG537-23482538203179240121698430309828
  • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

    I am reading article and writing this comments on W7 with 2.5Ghz, 4GB Ram machine, and to tell the truth, I am not happy with the performance. It's just slow. It's hard for me to see W7 running reasonably good on 1 Ghz tablet.
    eboraks
    • It shouldn't be. Something is wrong then...

      @eboraks

      What kind of machine do you have? I have to machines that run at 1.6 GHz (One is dual core too) and they run fine.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

      @eboraks

      Uh, you need to do some maintenance then.... defrag, registry clean with Baku/something similar, etc.
      If your machine is slow with those specs using Windows 7, you either haven't done proper preventative maintenance OR you have malware on your computer.
      Lerianis10
      • RE: Where will those Windows 7 tablets go? Think verticals

        @Lerianis10
        that's the problem with Windows, is like a high maintenance cost wife.
        Of course, a modern OS (OS X, Linux, Solaris) just works.
        theo_durcan