CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

Summary: CES this year seems to revolve around tablet and Slate systems. But the more I look at the Windows 7-powered Slates that OEMs are offering, the more I'm reminded of past mistakes that Microsoft and OEMs made in trying to bring tablets to the mass market.

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CES this year seems to revolve around tablet and Slate systems. But the more I look at the Windows 7-powered Slates that OEMs are offering, the more I'm reminded of past mistakes that Microsoft and OEMs made in trying to bring tablets to the mass market.
Two categories of device spring to mind - the Tablet PC and Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs). But riddle-me-this - What makes the latest Windows 7 Slates any different from Tablet PCs and UMPCs, both of which bit the dirt sandwich?

From what I can see, nothing. Sure, Moore's Law means that they will be faster and have more storage than their predecessors. Battery life will also be better, as will screen resolution. But these are evolutionary betterments as opposed to revolutionary leaps in thinking. Ultimately Slates are the same as the Tablet PCs and UMPCs that came before them - a PC running Windows crammed into the TV part of a desktop system (I'm using mass-market lingo here), then the whole thing miniaturized until it's portable. Same thinking, just a different operating system.

What's important to realize here is that the iPad has been a success for Apple, but Apple didn't start out with the idea of miniaturizing a Mac OS X system down into a tablet, but of scaling up the iPhone. As elegant as many seem to think OS X is, on a tablet system it would be no better than Windows is, partly because the OS wasn't designed for tablet use, but primarily because OS X applications, like Windows applications, are designed to be driven by a keyboard and cursor, not a finger. Adding a stylus to a product only underlines the fact that Windows doesn't work on tablets. OEMs might as well bundle a keyboard and mouse with each Slate.

Even if Microsoft tries to blow smoke over the issue that Windows doesn't make a good tablet OS by starting to talk about Windows 8 and possible tab let customizations there, this still doesn't solve the problem that the main reason people want Windows on a tablet is to run Windows applications on the tablet, and Windows applications are a big part of the problem why Windows-based touch systems don't work.

Catch-22.

Tablets and slates have a future, but I see Windows-powered Slates failing to jump Moore's Chasm, just like Tablet PCs and UMPCs failed before.

Topics: Windows, CXO, Emerging Tech, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets

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44 comments
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  • Thanks for admitting that Mac Pros are a failure

    After all, Apple can't sell Mac Pros anywhere near as fast as Dell can sell Inspirons.
    NonZealot
    • Where do you get this stuff?

      @NonZealot At what point did he say [i]anything[/i] about Macs? The only reference he made to OS X was that it would make as bad a tablet OS as Win 7 does, and that's self-evident to everyone except the guys in Redmond.
      matthew_maurice
      • RE: CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

        @matthew_maurice
        Pay no attention to the WindowsZealot. Its only purpose in life is to disparage Apple Inc. Between lies, F.U.D. spreading, and screwed up logic, the WindowsZealot?s masters in Redmond call for it to spam all threads on the web. Kind of like that ?grassroots? campaign MS ran a decade ago. Remember the "Freedom to Innovate" campaign that features signatures of dead people?
        Rick_K
    • RE: CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

      @NonZealot

      No but they can sell tons and tons of iMacs, MacBooks, and Mac Mini's.... Which are the real comparisons to Dell's bottom of the barrel Inspiron line.
      itguy08
    • And how's Dell doing these days?;-)

      Adrian is spot on. Tablets aren't desktops, and software written for desktop OSes interact with the users as if they're using a desktop OS.

      MS strategy in this space is as silly as pushing touch interfaces on desktops (wait, they've done that as well).
      Richard Flude
      • Don't know about Dell but I do know about MS

        @Richard Flude
        MS is more profitable than Apple so they must be doing something right!!

        OUCH!!!! :) :) :)
        NonZealot
      • RE: CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

        @Non Zealot

        Except Apple is the #2 most valuable company by market capitalization. Right after Exxon Mobil.
        itguy08
      • And?

        Never said Apple wasn't. I only wrote that MS is more profitable than Apple.

        Or does profitability suddenly not count any more?
        NonZealot
      • Why ouch?

        NonZealot claims MS profitability prove they are doing something right.<br><br>But NonZealot claims Mac Pros a failure<br><br>Yet Mac Pros are more profitable than Dells Inspirons.<br><br>Strangely with Apple profitability isn't proof of success (unlike for MS).<br><br>The perfect NonZealot, unable to support a line of logic within the one talkback thread.
        Richard Flude
      • Richard, Richard, Richard, are you seriously this stupid?

        @Richard Flude
        [i]But NonZealot claims Mac Pros a failure[/i]

        Please show where I wrote: [i]I believe Mac Pros are a failure.[/i] Can't do it? Of course not. I never wrote that.

        I never claimed (nor do I believe) that Mac Pros are a failure. I was showing how ridiculous AKH's logic was. AKH (along with a ton of Apple zealots just like you) seems to believe that if a high end, extremely powerful, expensive device (Windows 7 slate) doesn't sell as well as a low end cheap device (iPad) then the high end expensive device is a failure (and the word Failure is right there in his title, can you read it? :) ). So if we can use this logic to "prove" that Windows 7 slates will be a failure, I merely showed that we could also use [b]his[/b] logic to prove that Mac Pros are a failure since Apple sells [b]far[/b] fewer Mac Pros than Dell sells Inspirons. Since Mac Pros are [b]not[/b] a failure, his logic [b]can't[/b] be used to prove that Windows 7 slates are also a failure.

        His logic leads to the conclusion that Mac Pros are a failure. Not mine. Sorry if you are too stupid to follow that. Maybe ask an Apple genius and they can explain it to you in person. :)
        NonZealot
    • Ah yes, the resident idiots speak up!

      Windows 7 tablets are going to be declared a failure because they won't sell as many units as the iPad. However, the Windows 7 tablet is so much more functional and expensive than an iPad, it is like saying the Mac Pro is a failure because it doesn't sell as many units as the $500 Dell Inspiron. If anyone made that claim, you would be SCREAMING AND FROTHING AND SHOUTING AND CRYING AND YELLING AND WHINING AND COMPLAINING. Yet you will happily accept that logic when it makes MS look like a failure.

      So when itguy08 writes: [i]tons and tons of iMacs, MacBooks, and Mac Mini's.... Which are the real comparisons to Dell's bottom of the barrel Inspiron line.[/i] he writes the truth. It is silly to compare sales numbers of Mac Pros to Dell's bottom of the barrel Inspiron line. Just like it is silly to compare sales numbers of Windows 7 Slates to Apple's bottom of the barrel iPad line.

      Wow, I shouldn't be surprised that I needed to spell this out to you guys but I forgot who would be reading this.
      NonZealot
      • RE: CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

        @NonZealot Go blow a gasket. You own an iPhone and iPad.
        cyberslammer2
      • The problem with your rant is...

        yours was the first post and no one had posted what you were defending MS against.

        cyberslammer2, he also owns a MBP;-)
        Richard Flude
      • @cyberslammer2: I don't own an iPad

        Never have and the only way I would ever buy an iPad is if it could run Windows on it natively. Hey, now that Windows 8 runs on ARM, who knows, maybe I WILL buy an iPad, wipe iOS off it, and install Windows 8!!!

        And @Richard:
        [i]yours was the first post and no one had posted what you were defending MS against.[/i]

        Um, no one except for the blog author. Wow are you ever dumb!!!
        NonZealot
      • Ah yes, the resident idiots speak up!

        @NonZealot

        Yes, you did.
        msalzberg
    • RE: CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

      @NonZealot You're a complete moron.
      cyberslammer2
  • Depends on what applications you are using

    The ones still in development, such as Paint.Net, Firefox 4, Chrome, Windows Live, etc ALL support touch in some fashion (Chrome needs a separate addon to work). Firefox 4 OoTB supports touch, and it is pretty darn amazing to use if you ask me.

    However, if you're still using outdated programs using yesteryear's drop down menus, then yes, it will be a challenge. But it isn't as bad as most think.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

      @Cylon Centurion
      I think that if the ?slates? requires a ?Stylus?, it is nothing more than an update of the failed tablet pc?s of the last decade. Kind of like how badly winmobile sucked, after all who would put a mouse pointer on a mobile phone? Oh wait Microsoft thought it would be an innovative idea to put a mouse pointer on a mobile phone. That way you could stab the screen with your stylus and watch the mouse pointer jump woohoo
      Rick_K
      • How else are you going to write though?

        @Rick_K

        Without a stylus? I have yet to need to use my stylus to manipulate the UI, but I use it all the time in OneNote.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: CES: Microsoft/OEMs Slate strategy set to repeat the failures of Tablet PCs and UMPCs

        @Rick_K

        You must have the smallest fingers in the world or no job or both. The point of a stylus is precision, but by all means keep finger painting.
        tonymcs@...