Last week was a bad week for those
awaiting new tablets based on Microsoft operating systems. First, we
learned that Microsoft had canceled
an internal project called Courier. Courier was a design concept
that featured two 7" display screens in a "folding book"
layout in addition to both touch and pen-based input.
Just hours later, a report suggested
that Hewlett Packard was canceling
plans to bring its Windows 7-based Slate to the market in light
of its recent
acquisition of Palm. Reasons cited for HP's reversal included the
fact that Windows 7 wasn't ideal for a touch-only platform and that
the Slate's Atom processor was simply too power hungry.
Despite these high-profile projects
cancellations, Bill Gates recently stated in a Fox Business Network
interview that Microsoft is still firmly committed to future tablet
“Microsoft has a lot of different
tablet projects that we're pursuing," Gates explained. Gates
also continues to cling to the idea that a pen-based input system is
still needed for tablet devices -- at least for some markets.
"We think that work with the pen
that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It
can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create
documents at the same time.”
It should come as no surprise that
Microsoft would continue to pour money into research and development
for tablets. Rival Apple is singing the praises of its recently
launched iPad. Apple has already managed to sell
over one million iPads in less than a month.
“Demand continues to exceed supply
and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands
of even more customers," remarked Apple CEO Steve Jobs
The success of Apple's iPad isn't lost
on Gates; he had some kind words to say about Apple's "magical"
device. "Yes, I think both in general and in the specific,
Apple's done a great job," Gates told Fox Business News.
Two weeks ago, Bill opinion was a bit
more muted on the iPad. "It's okay. The scenarios aren't that
clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the
iPad] is absolutely a good example of that," Gates
told Phil Bronstein of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Microsoft's Courier projected was
drooled over by many in the tech community, so hopefully the boys in
Redmond are cooking up something that is equally impressive. Apple
definitely isn't standing still, HP is going to go full bore with
tablets now that it has some valuable IP from Palm, and Google
is working on a tablet of its own.