This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

Summary: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is on a European tour this week, and a number of news outlets are reporting that Ballmer has said again -- for at least the third time this year -- that there will be Windows 7 slates out in time for holiday 2010. Don't get too excited about Generation 1, however.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is on a European tour this week, and a number of news outlets are reporting that Ballmer has said again -- for at least the third time this year -- that there will be Windows 7 slates out in time for holiday 2010.

Most of the reports I've read today seem to have forgotten about Ballmer's summer speeches where he promised the same. At the company's annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Ballmer showed a slide listing more than 20 vendors that were on the Windows tablet/slate bandwagon. (Ballmer didn't distinguish between slates running Windows 7 vs. slates running Windows Embedded Compact 7 -- which are two quite different things.)

If Microsoft does end up showing off any of this year's Windows slates at its October 11 Consumer Open House events in New York and London, where it will be launching Windows Phone 7, I'd bet they'll be models we've seen demonstrated earlier this year at Computex or other Microsoft conferences. I'm doubtful they'll be much to write home about.

Most of today's reports about Ballmer's slate commitments also are failing to mention his July remarks regarding their limitations. Ballmer admitted this summer that the real iPad competitors from Microsoft's partners -- which will still be running Windows 7 -- won't be out till later in 2011, some time after Intel ships its Oak Trail processors.

This year's Windows 7 slates are unlikely to have very good battery life; a standard, touch-centric interface; or anything like the Apple iTunes store. These are all things consumers are coming to expect when they're in the market for slates.

Microsoft is planning to make Windows 8 optimized to run on slates from the get-go and is expected to work with OEMs to launch app stores when Windows 8 is released (supposedly 2012). That's one heck of a head start for Apple and Android/Google OS slates....

I know I wouldn't want one of this year's Windows 7 slates under my Christmas tree. The 2011 crop of Windows slates should be better. If I were Ballmer, I'd stop crowing about Generation 1 of the Windows 7 slates and wait for something more credible to trumpet....

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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65 comments
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  • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

    ...or just buy a convertible tablet PC with a full keyboard and full Windows 7 right now, like the HP TM2, Lenovo X200t, or Asus EEE PC T101MT.
    angarita calvo
    • I have the T101MT right now

      @angarita calvo

      And love it. I'm typing on it right now...
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • just buy a convertible tablet PC with a full keyboard and full Windows 7

      @angarita calvo

      That is exactly what I want to say. I bring one these days everywhere. who needs ipad when he has a convertible?

      These bloggers just have no clue...
      FADS_z
    • Or get and Android tablet for under $200

      @angarita calvo

      Or go to http://www.androidgold.com and get their Android tablet (that also comes with an attachable keyboard/case specifically built for this Android tablet).
      For under $200 you'll be hard pressed to find anything better (and they're upgrading to 2.2 very soon).
      Android Hype - Anrdoid Tablet Reviews and More
    • Convertible tablets

      @angarita calvo

      I don't know about anyone else, but NOTHING turns me off more than a convertible tablet. A laptop and tablet are two different use-cases... obviously the market has shown that tablets are primarily about information consumption where weight, battery life, and ease of use are paramount.

      You cannot take a laptop and screw on a flippable screen and be taken seriously by the iPad crowd.

      Memo to Steve Balmer.... either do it right by developing your own hardware brand like you did with Xbox, or pack up and go home. Window 7 can make a very slick touch OS, but so far the hardware platforms have been pathetic.

      Not on my xmas list.
      croberts
      • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

        @croberts If you actually read the site the keyboard connects with a USB dongle - which may be problematic as another part of the site indicates the USB2 reliability is problematic. this looks like an alpha version of a product in developement.
        zclayton2
  • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

    Why would anyone consider buying such a piece of junk?
    mb01915@...
    • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

      @mb01915@... for the same reason people buy the piece of junk called iPad
      nomorebs
      • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

        @nomorebs You really think the 4.5 million people who bought an iPad are going to buy a windows 7 slate with a slow operating system, poor battery life, no apps or app store and nothing to entice buyers?
        mb01915@...
      • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

        @mb01915 No. But they will buy it for the same reason so many people bought the iPad - i used to have a button that said:

        "My two favourite colours are 'Ooh!' and 'Shiny!'..."
        fairportfan
      • No Apps

        @mb01915

        Did you just say that Windows 7 has //no apps//?!?!
        x I'm tc
  • They have potential...

    Knowing most OEM's, though... They'll screw it up. <br><br>Most likely, they'll be loaded to Hell and back with garbageware. <br><br>But like I said, they have potential. Touch apps are already starting to find their way into Windows if you know where to look: Office, and Firefox 4 are big ones (Why not WLE W4 Microsoft?), now if someone could harass Google into supporting Windows touch on Google Earth and Chrome, there would be two other big ones as well. <br><br>Also, services need turned off. If Microsoft can refine how many services run on the tablet, that will increase battery life on these devices. I for one have Gadgets, print services, IE, Media Center, etc... All turned off.<br><br>Windows by itself isn't all that bad when it comes to touch. If people would give it the time of day, they know what an nice tool a Windows slate will make. I certainly love mine.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

    You should get one anyway.
    Loverock Davidson
    • You've become so boring that...

      ... not even the damage you are causing to Microsoft's image can compensate the pain of having you around.
      OS Reload
      • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

        @OS Reload Yes,

        The first sign of intelligence is to attack someone personally when you have nothing of relevance to say.

        We await your next syllable with baited breath.......

        Rick
        rick.sheeley
    • I'll Take Goldman Sachs View

      @Loverock Davidson

      Downgrade to sell
      Alan Smithie
    • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

      @Loverock Davidson
      Lemme think about that for a second... nope.
      ZackCDLVI
    • slates/tablets are worthless (NA)

      @Loverock Davidson
      RickB9
  • But then, Ballmer is NOT you, MJ

    Unlike you, Ballmer has never felt a need to wait for something credible to trumpet, he just uses what he has at hand and hopes for the best. Microsoft has a long tradition of announcing first and start copying next.<br><br><i>"If I were Ballmer, I'd stop crowing about Generation 1 of the Windows 7 slates and wait for something more credible to trumpet"</i>
    OS Reload
    • RE: This year's Windows 7 slates: Not under my Christmas tree

      @OS Reload

      << Microsoft has a long tradition of announcing first and start copying next. >>

      It's part of their success ~ what I call Huey, Dewey, and Louie: Marketing, PR, and Sales. [2] No matter how a product sucks[1], those three have been able to bail them out. This also includes what I call, "pass the hat" versions. With Windows proper, it was 98 SE and ME, and Vista. Too much time betwixt releases? Offer a placeholder.


      [1] as the old adage goes, "the day Microsoft makes something which doesn't suck is the day they start making vacuum cleaners".

      [2] I've wondered why there isn't another C*O: CVO: Chief Visibility Officer to deal with the three ducks. It forces the CFO to focus with financial matters and lets those three spread their wings. (sorry, I couldn't resist)
      Mihi Nomen Est