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A new report from a top investment researcher criticizes Microsoft and Intel for talking noisily about tablets, but producing no actual products to date.  (Source: PC Magazine)
Pair missed out on a key emerging market by responding too slow

Intel is vowing to release 35 Atom-core powered tablets next year sporting Windows 7, Android (Linux), and Meego (Linux); but those promises did little to stop Goldman Sachs researchers from delivering a scathing review on the companies' tablets progress.

Reports from Goldman Sachs often hold a key influence on corporate stock prices, so the report is troubling to both Microsoft and Intel, which received criticism in the report.

Analyst Bill Shope praises the progress of ARM processor makers and leading tablet OS makers Apple (iOS) and Google (Android).  He predicts sales of 54.7 million tablets in 2011 and states, "If this is the case and our tablet forecast is anywhere near accurate, this would be the first time in three decades that a non-Wintel technology has made legitimate inroads into personal computer."

Mr. Shope adds, "This rush of iPad competitors is not surprising in itself, as Apple tends to regularly define the direction of the electronic media and computing industries.  What is surprising is that many of these products are not utilizing Intel microprocessors or a Microsoft operating environment."

Another Goldman Sachs analyst, Sarah Friar, points out that Microsoft claimed that it would deliver tablets by Christmas, but that the "tablet response is still not forthcoming", having slipped to 2011.

ISuppli, a separate market research firm recently offered a similar prediction of 63.5 million tablets shipped in 2011, up from approximately 13.8 million sold this year.

The New York Times this week ran a report that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was set to announce new Windows tablets, including a Dell and Samsung model, at CES 2011 in January.  The source says that Microsoft may even show a tablet running Windows 8.

Similarly Intel is trying to turn around its ship, with the release of its aforementioned 35 tablets on its "Oak Trail" (Windows 7, Android, MeeGo) and "Moorestown" (Android, MeeGo) platforms.

Of course both companies were talking about releasing tablets at CES last year -- but neither delivered.

At least iSuppli shows Microsoft a little more love, commenting, "Even with Microsoft’s stumbles to date in tablets, iSuppli believes that Microsoft will figure out how to design a functional tablet operating system."

But the picture is clear -- these companies must deliver in 2011 or they risk being reduced to bit players in the next generation of computing.

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RE: Conflicted
By melgross on 12/16/2010 11:47:57 AM , Rating: 0
They weren't really ahead. The convertible wasn't a tablet at all. I wish people would stop calling 6+ pound computers, tablets. And they haven't changed since Gates first spoke about them. The UMPC was a failure from the very beginning. Too small, too underpowered, and who wants something with two hours of battery life?

We had the newton, which was the first tablet, and that didn't do well. We had the Grid, and that was killed by MS vaporware. There were other attempts over the years.

Now we have real tablets, and we can see that they have finally arrived. Business is taking up the iPad in large numbers, so it's not just a consumer media device. At some point, Android tablets will sell well also. The Galaxy Tab is out, but sales are funny. 600,000 the first month, but dropped to 400,000 the second going into the holiday season.

Nevertheless, it doesn't look as though Windows tablets are going to sell. If MS doesn't get its act together next year, it will be shut out. This isn't the same as a game machine, which MS makes itself, and has been heavily subsidized over the years. MS is estimated to have lost $8 billion on the entertainment division since the first XBox came out. They are willing to do that. But manufacturers who are going to make tablets are not. Either they make money on their products, or they will
pull out. We can see the the much heralded HP tablet has failed already.

RE: Conflicted
By damianrobertjones on 12/16/2010 4:06:26 PM , Rating: 3
The HP SLate 500 is for 'business' and not general consumers.

I'd say that the first real tablet was the HD TC1100 or Fujitsu siemens so yes, they did change. Thanks. Also, the Archos 9 has been out for a long time.

RE: Conflicted
By notposting on 12/16/2010 5:53:03 PM , Rating: 2
Those Motion M1400's were around 3lb tablets. Pretty good performance too.

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