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Microsoft has spent years treading water with tablets  (Source: Cult of Mac)
Microsoft UK exec says that Microsoft isn't ready to enter field just yet

Although Apple's iOS first showed up on the iPhone in 2007, it was easily adapted to the larger iPad that launched in 2010. Google is now starting to gain some traction with Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” -- it was designed from the beginning for tablets. Likewise, HP/Palm and RIM are using mobile, touch-optimized operating systems for their tablets. 

And where does leave Microsoft? For now, Microsoft is being left behind as its competitors continue to move forward at a lightning fast pace. Even though the company has a stellar basis for a tablet OS with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft exec Ashley Highfield says that the time just isn't right yet to jump into the fray.

"We won't do anything in the tablet market unless we can be distinctive," Highfield told Pocket-lint.

For now, Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 as its "tablet" operating system of choice. In fact, Highfield notes that he uses Dell's poorly received Inspiron Duo for tablet duties.

Windows 8 will support ARM processors that are so prevalent in today's iPads, Xooms, and PlayBooks, but such a fully featured operating system is still a bit of overkill for a 7" to 10.1", touch-dominated device.

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The Tablet craze . . .
By Denigrate on 4/19/2011 2:51:29 PM , Rating: 5
I guess I don't see why the tablet craze has to be limited to a touchscreen for input, or even be limited to a single screen. With the proper input/connections, a tablet is probably all the average user needs. Add a mini-HDMI or similar connection to an external monitor and a wireless keyboard and mouse and voila, you've got the perfect device for 90% of home PC users. They get to drag it around the house and browse email or internet, and if they need to do a bit of "serious" word processing or spreadsheet usage, they take it to their desk and get to work.

Upcoming more powerful ARM processors, like the 2.0ghz dual core announced yesterday should easily be able to handle any task the average user throws at it.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By Brandon Hill on 4/19/2011 3:08:07 PM , Rating: 5
Because a tablet with all of those "add-ons" would never be an optimum device. You'd have to lug around all of this extra crap to get "real" work done.

Laptops have a distinct purpose. Tablets have a distinct purpose. Once you start trying to repurpose one to fit the usage model of the other, you start running into problems IMHO.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By spread on 4/19/2011 3:31:15 PM , Rating: 2
Because a tablet with all of those "add-ons" would never be an optimum device. You'd have to lug around all of this extra crap to get "real" work done.

Because everyone does "real" work every time they use a laptop.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By Brandon Hill on 4/19/2011 3:45:32 PM , Rating: 5
Here's my take on it... there are really two ways to do the tablet thing:

1) The Apple/Google way. A slimmed down device that is perfect for media consumption, browsing the internet, email, gaming, etc.
2) The [current] Microsoft way. Using a full-blown desktop/laptop-class operating system that wasn't built from the ground-up to be used in an instant-on, 10+ hour, 1.5-pound device.

The simplicity that makes Scenario 1 work well doesn't lend itself to be used as a full-blown content creation device, even with attachments.

The software complexity and overhead of Scenario 2 means that while it can easily accommodate traditional PC staples (wireless mice, keyboards, external monitors, etc), it will never be as easy to use as an iPad or Xoom.

I personally think that tablets have successfully tapped into the market that netbooks were SUPPOSED to address (email, internet, etc.). The problem with netbooks are that they are dog slow and provide a subpar experience with cramped screens and keyboards.

I think that for the foreseeable future, tablets will remain a companion device instead of a device that will take the place of a traditional PC/laptop.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By Shadowmaster625 on 4/19/2011 4:02:29 PM , Rating: 3
You're talking about atoms, not netbooks. There is no reason or excuse for a netbook to be slow, other than people stupidly accepting what intel shovels at them. You can get an AMD netbook for $330 and stick a $70 SSD in there and have a very capable machine for $400. A machine that can do much much more than any tablet.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By quiksilvr on 4/19/2011 4:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
Are you referring to the Acer Aspire One with the C-50 APU processor?

Had to do a little digging to find the link of the product you must be referring to:

You made a good point but next time please post links on what you are talking about.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By car_analogy on 4/20/2011 8:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
Just spend $20 more and get this:

Fantastic netbook. And the reason tablets don't work for me is nobody will provide one with an ethernet port. I don't see how anyone is supposed to do network work without an ethernet port. Even one of Apple's famous $30 adapters that plugs into the 30-pin would work.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By Brandon Hill on 4/19/2011 4:11:46 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe I'm just not expressing myself clearly. I guess my overall point is that most people that buy tablets already have a desktop/notebook. Likewise, tablets easily achieve the initial goals set forth with netbooks.

By damianrobertjones on 4/20/2011 3:45:50 AM , Rating: 3
"blets easily achieve the initial goals set forth with netbooks."

.... when you add a keyboard.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By damianrobertjones on 4/20/2011 3:45:07 AM , Rating: 1
Asus Ep121, 16 second boot time. Can be trimmed down by using vLite and/or the standard operating system tweaked to be very, very fast.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By robinthakur on 4/20/2011 9:30:14 AM , Rating: 2
Oh right, so members of the public are expected to waste time doing that instead of actually, you know...using the device? That worked out really well for MS Tablet PC's didn't it! The PC market is very obviously moving away from the whole "You need to tweak and optimise this device before you can use it" model to being simply an appliance. Whilst I enjoy tweaking and overclocking with the best of them, sometimes I just want to do something quickly and use the device for its intended purpose. This is where tablets work really well in the sense that they switch on to a usable state instantly and are designed to be responsive with no lengthy waits for the device to catch up (in principle).

If you look at the way sales are going, Laptops have outsold full pc's for ages, then Netbooks became big and now the iPad and other tablets are taking a sizeable chunk of the Laptop and Netbook markets. With Mac OSX now distributing Apps through full OS Appstores and iOS, and the whole market following Apple's strategic lead, the name of the game is integration and ease of use. I fully expect full laptops and, to a degree, netbooks sales to be extremely limited once it actually clicks with the buying public that they can do pretty much anything they might (reasonably) want to do on an iPad or other tablet and free themselves from one more bulky device.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By NellyFromMA on 4/20/2011 1:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
Not for nothing, but I'm pretty sure my PC boots faster than my Incredible running Android 2.2.

Also, I believe the iPad (at least iPad 1) had similar boot times.

It takes at least a minute to a minute and a half and feels longer somehow.

And I don't like tweaking my PC. This is just the way it is, with a standard HDD at that so Idk maybe take a xanax and calm down?

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By kleinma on 4/19/2011 3:45:58 PM , Rating: 2
Certainly not, but it is nice to be able to get on your laptop and do real work, or screw around. Seems like except for very specific applications, tablets just let you screw around. Even my android phone with its 1 free app a day from amazon still is mostly used for screwing around (as far as the installed apps are concerned). The real use I get out of it is 99% in the stock stuff they phone had on it when I got it. Mostly everything downloaded since is fluff.

I'm actually glad to see MS isn't going to just rush something out the door that people will complain about more than if they don't put out anything at all. It is a shame they will be once again playing catchup once they do release something, but you know what, that might not be such a bad thing, if they can get it right. I still think they are just waiting for Windows 8, which will run on Phone, Tablet/Slate, desktop, laptop, netbook, etc... and actually have a UI that works for the various input methods and form factors.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By amanojaku on 4/19/2011 7:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
Because a tablet with all of those "add-ons" would never be an optimum device. You'd have to lug around all of this extra crap to get "real" work done.

Because everyone does "real" work every time they use a laptop.
Brandon was pointing out that when a laptop is used for work, the type of work involved is generally unsuited for tablets. That's because of the interface and processing power.

Like word processing; no one wants to type a 50-page report on a touchscreen.

Or graphic design; so far the accuracy of a laser mouse or stylus on a graphics pad is much better than that of a finger on a touchscreen. The software design for the interface is a little more complicated, too.

Or CAD; see above.

Or 3D animation; see above.

Or programming; same problem as word processing (no keyboard).

The peripherals required to do those tasks eliminate any gains in tablet mobility. Then there's the processing power, for when you really need it. Tablets just don't have the CPU power (yet). They are built for multimedia, and that's where they excel. I agree that a lot of people need tablets, not laptops, because they play games and watch movies. But when your a mobile user and you need to do WORK you need a laptop.

By damianrobertjones on 4/20/2011 3:46:55 AM , Rating: 2
Asus EP121, Core i5 machine

Or the convertibles
HP 2740p
Acer 1820ptz
Dell latitude XT2

and there are more

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By CSMR on 4/19/2011 3:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
The OS can switch between appropriate interfaces.

At present there is a gap between thin low-power tablets running specialized OSes and tablets that have laptop power running full OSes.

This gap will shrink with time; just as owing to the gradual shrinking of chips you are no longer compromised using a laptop rather than a desktop, the same will be true of low-power tablets.

In any case Windows 8 will make great tablets. So Microsoft can either produce a stopgap product, which will then be discontinued, and therefore noone will bother to buy or write software for it. Or have a separate tablet system, perhaps based on Windows Phone, that will be a bad product in 2011 compared to iOS/Android (look at Windows Phone and it's problems adding basic features) and a bad product compared to Winodws 8 in 2012. I think it's strategy is the right one here.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By ET on 4/19/2011 4:05:12 PM , Rating: 2
Laptops don't have a "distinct purpose". Many laptops just sit at home (or business place) and serve as desktop replacements. Some occasionally get moved to another place (such as from home to work, or to a meeting). A tablet that's dockable should be able to fit with a similar model. Dock it at home and use it as a desktop replacement, carry it around for fun (something the big laptops aren't useful for), hook it to a projector for a powerpoint presentation, ...

Even for replacement of smaller notebooks, a tablet with a detachable keyboard (like the Acer Iconia W500) should be able to serve as a notebook/netbook replacement, providing a keyboard when you need one and more mobility when you don't.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By Brandon Hill on 4/19/2011 4:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
Desktops/Laptops are primarily used for content creation
Tablets are primarily used for content consumption

I agree that some sort of convertible concept will be viable for the masses in the future, but I don't think that the concept is iPad-level mass market-ready yet.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By ET on 4/19/2011 6:21:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think that most (home) desktops/laptops are used primarily for content consumption, too. That's why many tablet owners said in a survey that their tablet is their primary PC.

Desktops/laptops can more easily be used for content creation, but a keyboard add-on covers most of that for tablets.

I agree that tablets aren't there yet, and frankly I think that phones are a better bet for dockable tech, but I think that Microsoft's position is sound in that people would like to do everything on one device, so an OS that does it all would be the right way to go when the market stabilises.

RE: The Tablet craze . . .
By Aikouka on 4/19/2011 5:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
What about ASUS's eeePad Transformer? It's not available yet (in the United States), and based on reviews, it still has quirks, but it looks to have done a decent job at allowing for easier content creation with the keyboard attachment. Another benefit is that the attachment provides more battery power.

By damianrobertjones on 4/20/2011 3:43:15 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, But why do people buy docks for laptops? Buy a dock for a tablet, say, the Asus EP121 and it becomes your laptop, your desktop, media player etc... all of the usual from one tablet. Sure, you can do that with a laptop but as it's a tablet, it's ALL things.

The more we filter devices into certain brackets, we drop freedom and choice. heck, it's tech pages that laughed at the Ctrl+Alt+Del button and the Stylus and that made me laugh.. a lot

they are f$in stupid
By ncage on 4/19/2011 7:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm so sick of MS. Isn't one of the points of studying history is to look at mistakes that were made in the past and correct them? When they keep F$in up. They said the iphone wasn't a big deal and look where that has led them? Scrambling to catch up which they are screwing up eventhough WP7 OS is a fine OS. What sad is they are 1/2 there. They have the OS...WP7 would be a PERFECT OS for tablet and they can differentiate enough to make it quite popular if they wanted to.

I had an Ipad1. I'm not saying it was bad because it wasn't of the main reasons i got it was to be able to watch video. This is a PERFECT application for a tablet type device. With the ipad i thought it was the days of old having to covert every video i had to a format spec that the ipad would accept. Was a real pain. Even a lot of video podcast on itunes wouldn't work. And then there was having to install itunes (yuck).

The zune software is great and they have a great OS but yet they will continue to repeat their mistakes until they are irrelevant in the consumer market.

Just makes me shake my head....

RE: they are f$in stupid
By bety on 4/20/2011 8:21:12 AM , Rating: 2's the ENTIRE history of the company...from word processing, to the internet, to browsers, and on and on and on. MS had never shown anything but shortsightedness, and completely lack of insight.

In the past, it didnt' matter, they were always able to use money, size, and OS monopoly to leverage their way into whatever market they needed...but they've lost that leverage in these new product areas.

I think MS is BSing...
By Wererat on 4/20/2011 8:58:49 AM , Rating: 2
Everything I've read on Win8 makes it appear that it's being developed with tablet use in mind (e.g.

This press release appears to me to be trying to keep people buying Windows 7-based machines ... or they may call Win8 all-purpose and try and market it as better than "just" a tablet OS.

I personally think that's the way the tablet OSs are headed anyway; as smartphones/tabs ramp up in capability people will want the same OS and experience on their home desk/laptop as they do on their tab/phone.

(By people I mean the general public; DT readers and other techies are more comfortable maintaining two+ OS paradigms in their minds).

RE: I think MS is BSing...
By vision33r on 4/20/2011 10:05:14 AM , Rating: 2
They've had Windows Tablet Edition OS for many years already.

It is not only about the OS. The biggest problem are that there aren't many Windows apps designed for tablet use.

They need to design or update Office for Tablet. Try clicking on those little margin or bullet adjustment icons with your finger. Hope your finger is as small as your pinky.

Maybe they should...
By Souka on 4/19/2011 4:18:41 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe they should think the same strategy for their mobile platform as a whole?

I've deployed and supported mobile devices at several companies... Windows mobile has never been liked when compared to Apple, Blackberry or Android.

Not much has changed with Win7 mobile.

This is my experience supporting (currently around 500 mobile phones) of varying types and carriiers.

Also, a friend is a Tmobile call center director... windows mobile 7 are the most problematic in terms of support for tmobile.

My $.02 (your mileage and opinion WILL differ)

RE: Maybe they should...
By damianrobertjones on 4/20/2011 3:51:13 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but we have over 20+ WP7 devices here and we've had zero problems, so far. The people complain are the people that probably, simply, just want something like a Rim/apple device so they can tell their friends.

As for support... what support? These companies hardly even know anything about WP7 and they're unlikely to send all the techies at the end of the phone on courses, that is, until Nokia enter the game and I bet they'll be clued up at that point

Microsoft failure
By Shadowmaster625 on 4/19/2011 4:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
There are a great deal of simple changes that microsoft can make to Win7 to make it more usable on a tablet. They can cut off a whole bunch of services that will never be used. They can make the icons and text larger. All sorts of simple things that you or I could do. And wrap it up in a theme. That would address at least half of the issues and make it so a 5 watt C-50 or even an atom is powerful enough for smooth operation. There is no excuse for them to sit on their hands... although since end users are capable of most of the optimizations required, it does open the door for custom UIs like FrontFace.

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