Sure, a smattering of Windows tablets are on the market now -- including the disastrously conceived Archos 9 PC Tablet -- but so far no slate running Windows has had a more than trivial impact on the industry.
As Ben Patterson notes, at last, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has dutifully come forth with information on plans for serious slate devices running Windows.
Better get ready for 'em: At Monday's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Ballmer told a crowd of 14,000 attendees that a wide range of Windows slate devices will be hitting the market in "months," with at least five partners -- Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony -- confirmed and on board. These tablets will run full the Windows 7 OS and will perform more like a standard notebook, unlike the iPad, which performs more like a smartphone or a PDA.
Ballmer didn't have many specifics on what these devices would look like specifically (prototype demos are scheduled for later Monday), although he did add that these tablets would run standard Windows applications and merit approval by skeptical corporate IT departments. Pricing, obviously, was not discussed either.
As ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley notes and I've discussed previously, Windows 8 has slates squarely in focus, but Microsoft can't wait until 2012 to respond to the iPad menace. By then Apple will probably be on the third revision of the device with an 80 percent market share.
At the same time, Microsoft has a tragically bad track record of rushing to market with half-baked products. With something as critical as slates -- which increasingly look to become a major force in the tech industry -- it's essential that Microsoft get it right. Can the company (and its partners) do that in time for a holiday 2010 launch, with a product that's priced competitively against the iPad? Color me hopeful but skeptical.
But here's the big question: Has Microsoft already blown it by waiting this long to get its tablet plans ready? iPad has so much momentum that it's not just devouring the netbook market, it's taking e-book readers with it too. When Windows tablets launch, unless Microsoft gets it just right, they could very well become another Kin for the company.
- Yahoo News