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Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer promised the world Windows tablets at last year's CES, but thus far has failed to deliver. Speaking to an audience Tuesday, he promised that they would see Windows tablets by Christmas.  (Source: Reuters)
"You'll see new slates with Windows on them. You'll see them this Christmas." -- Steve Ballmer

One of the technology industry's big Steves -- Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive of Microsoft -- on Tuesday promised that Windows tablets won't take much longer to hit the market and compete with Apple's popular iPad and upcoming Google Android/Chrome OS tablets.  He remarked, "You'll see new slates with Windows on them. You'll see them this Christmas."

Of course "see them this Christmas" could have a variety of meanings -- anything from "see them" as be unwrapping them, or "see them" as in reading an online press release that they will be available in March.

Google and its hardware partners has been a bit slow responding to the tablet craze.  They only recently have aired 5-inch (Dell Streak) and 7-inch (Dell Streak, Samsung Galaxy Tab) designs, and are still awaiting full-sized 10-inch tablets, comparable in size to the iPad.

Microsoft, however, has been even more lackadaisical in pursuing this lucrative market.  The company showed off a slew of tablets at a presentation attended by DailyTech at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, yet has failed to deliver a single Windows tablet from a major player. 

HP, the world's largest personal computer maker, was reportedly close to releasing designs like the HP Slate this spring, but has shelved those plans, instead focusing on webOS tablets.  WebOS is a product of Palm, which HP acquired earlier this year.

Meanwhile July's numbers indicate that Apple is unloading at least 2.3 million iPads a month.  If it can sustain that sales pace (which seems likely due to holiday demand and lack of competitors), it's on the mark to hit anywhere from 15 to 20 million tablets sold this year.

Mr. Ballmer also hit on one of Microsoft other key problem spots -- the mobile phone market.  Microsoft's Kin project was a colossal sales failure perpetrated by miserably outdated hardware, bizarre commercials that bordered on disturbing, and a lack of carrier support.  At the end of the day Microsoft pulled the plug.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's veteran Windows Mobile brand has languished, bleeding market share to Apple and Google.  Microsoft's answer is a brand-new smart phone operating system dubbed Windows Phone 7, which will air October 11th.

Mr. Ballmer addressed his company's challenging state of affairs in this sector, summarizing, "The job right now is we've got to get back seriously into the game of phonesWe've got to have a comeback against the competition and I think with our new Windows phones we really have a beautiful product."

WP7 faces an uphill battle when it hits the market, but Microsoft's CEO seems to realize that.  At least he can take comfort that he will quite possibly be putting some in peoples' Christmas stocking...even if that something isn't a Windows tablet.

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RE: Brace yourselves
By Belard on 10/8/2010 5:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think your points about the convertible tablets are true, not compared to similar sized notebooks.

The Tablet PC *HAS* its place. It really does. But as proven by the iPad and the Android/Windows clones coming out now, its form factor isn't usable for the masses.

In regards to most of the rest of your response. I understand where your coming from. The Tablet-PC was never really ready for most people because of the limitations of the technology and the costs involved.

UMPCs were really nothing more than $1000~2000 SONY tiny tiny notebooks... which todays $300 easily surpass in sales.

-Some Tablet PCs didn't require a stylus. If you prefer, you could get one of those. Also ,the UMPC was not based on using a stylus, though I think a few did use them. Again, if you prefer, get one that doesn't need it.

UMPCs and tablets are different computers, both are expensive. I think SONY left the UMPC market years ago even thou it was a powerful and good product, its price and ultra tiny size made it UN-substainable. An iPod makes for a better tiny computer than the UMPC... since the keyboard can be displayed on the screen. Yes, the pros on UMPC is that they dont have touch screens to get messy.

Your comment implies that since your phone is functional enough, that tablets are not necessary. This would mean the iPad and any tablet with similar functionality to your phone are not necessary.

That was not my point. Its that technology changes and functionality has advanced. The power of a modern Cell Phone with a 4" screen is more useful to the general user than the tablet-PC has been for years. (Yes, I know - Tablets have their place)

iPads and others such devices have their place too. I want to get an iPad for my mother who won't touch a computer, because the iPad doesn't function like a notebook/tablet/desktop computer.

Personally, I welcome Microsoft to enter the iPad market... we could see cheaper and more interesting devices, hopefully. We'll see how MS does. They do good and they screw up as well... and coming out with something "original" has never been part of Microsoft since day one. MS-DOS was purchased, IE, bought. Word, FrontPage, bought. The list goes on. But thats not saying MS doesn't do good things either... they created the mass-market PC, Windows7 is very good and at one time, they made the best joysticks on the market for PC, which have not been replaced yet. :(

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