Used Tablet PC
  • Microsoft has done it again --- NOT!!!

    Microsoft, which introduced Windows-based Tablet PC technology 10 years ago, has announced its competitor to the iPad. Not surprisingly, it is a generic looking tablet that will run a low-end version of their still-not-released Windows 8 operating system.

    What does it cost? No information.

    What software ("apps") will be immediately available and unique? No information.

    How long will the battery last? Dunno.

    When will Microsoft learn that we live in a world where people expect products to be available when announced? "Coming soon" just doesn't cut it anymore.

    Last, there are a number of great companies with Windows Tablet PCs that Microsoft could throw additional money at to continue and improve their products. The Motion CL900, Fujitsu Q550, and Motorola Xoom are already offering Windows tablets in the $999 or lower price range. Helping them market these tablets better as competitors to the iPad in the corporate world would help staunch the flow of Apple products into the enterprise market.

    Sigh...

    Your thoughts?
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Steve B's Avatar
      Steve B -
      Personally, I was rather excited about what they offered. I don't understand your negativity, frankly. They're offering a simpler ARM based tablet for a lower price (the one you mention in the article), and a higher end, Intel iCore model with dual input screen (Wacom? N Trig?) that is intended to compete with Ultrabooks and other high-end laptops. That's been mentioned repeatedly in lots of articles. And by all accounts that I've seen and read, people were surprisingly impressed by the build-quality and design of the slate. That doesn't mean we should like it out-right without personal experience with it, but still.... what's not to like (hypothetically) about a 1/2" thick slate with an iCore cpu that weighs under 2 lbs? I mean, come one-- that's more powerful than my x200t by a long shot, and yet the thickness and weight of the screen on my x200t!

      Beyond that, its a regular experience for manufacturers to do shows like this and then not have the product be for sale for 3-6 months. I don't understand your complaint John. It's as if you think Microsoft was the first to ever do this, when its very normal. ???

      Your question about apps is legit, atleast for the ARM based one, though it is Microsoft we're talking about, which offers a pretty big piece of the pie for developers, so I expect a reasonable amount of content to be generated. Still, who knows? BUT for the iCore "premium" version of the tablet, assuming its Wacom, it's a shoe-in IMO, as its running full Windows on a processor far, far more powerful than the underpowered tablet alternatives you mentioned-- the cl900 or the q550, for example. Both of which are rather overpriced for Atom based computers. I've barely read about any power users satisfied with those products, frankly.

      I dunno.... I mean, isn't the more the merrier? We don't really know a whole lot about this table except its specs, but given those specs it looks promising. More promising than a lot of other Win8 tablets being proposed. Why are you so against it?
    1. markpayton's Avatar
      markpayton -
      I have to agree with Steve B on this one.

      MS is *finally* building a Tablet PC (at the high end) that gets it right.I've been speaking with Motion and other slate manufacturers for nearly 10 years on the need for a decent keyboard that attaches. Compaq had one (more or less) but HP killed that model. No one has done anything decent since.

      No one has done much about the problems with the digitizers from the beginning. Most units I've seen have strips along one or more edge where the system can't track the pen properly and everyone has the parallax problem that MS seems to have tried to address with the bonded glass.

      From others' reports (not having looked myself) there has already been substantial improvement in the quantity of apps available in the app store and we are still months away from Windows 8's release date. Plenty of time and with this kind of obvious commitment from MS, there is increased incentive for developers to work on them.

      John, you are probably right about the consumer world wanting a product to be available when (or near to the date) it is announced, but this *is* a Windows 8 Tablet so there is no way that could happen. In the business or, in my case, academic world, I'm not concerned about that. I need to be planning out so I *need* advance notice of what is coming. This is huge for us, a Tablet PC school, and knowing about it now is a Very Good Thing.

      Besides, this is anything but another "me too" tablet, even on the low end. The design is innovative to an extent I had thought MS was no longer capable of. The case, bonded glass, elegant built-in stand, cooling system, keyboard, etc. are excellent designs that outshine anything else out there, even the iPad in my opinion.

      Sure it isn't yet released, but it is far more than vaporware. Journalists went hands on with demo units. MS seems to be adopting a strategy (MS? With a real marketing strategy? Pick me up off the floor!) that will release information steadily to keep interest up for the few remaining months (and 3 months is only a short time) until the consumer model is released. Just the fact that they kept details secret until the press conference is a huge shift for them. Yes, there are lots of questions, but there is still plenty of time for a steady stream of answers--and I would be very suprised if we didn't see that steady stream.

      Other vendors need to get on the stick and do the things they should have been doing for years. Fujitsu looks to be heading in the right direction with a forthcoming model, but others need to follow suit. MS has just raised the bar substantially. Thank goodness.
    1. John Hill's Avatar
      John Hill -
      I guess I am jaded from past experience. The first thing that came to mind with Microsoft's announcement was the ill-fated Courier. Believe me, a Windows based tablet with better than an Atom processor and including a nicer digitizer in the sub $1,000 range would be great for my business. We sell forms solutions using Active Ink software and taking the hardware cost out of the equation would be great.

      Also, I don't know if you are aware but a couple years ago at the Microsoft MVP conference, they took out the Tablet track. For those of us that were Tablet MVPs, it was a clear signal that Microsoft was not committed to the platform. Meanwhile, Android devices are now able to use apps for handwriting recognition. Not as well integrated as Windows, but it is only a matter of time before that changes. Microsoft has lost a lot of valuable time and given competitors a chance to win over the marketplace.

      My final gripe is Microsoft's history with an "app store". Several years ago they developed what they called an app store and it had 14 applications, most of which were also available on the iPad. (I tried to find the website but couldn't find it)

      If you think Microsoft is committed to tablets, just go to www.tabletpc.com and decide for yourself. I, for one, don't believe it.

      John
    1. markpayton's Avatar
      markpayton -
      I understand the frustration you feel for sure! I've watched MS screw up their years-long lead in this market on so many fronts. The dropped MS Reader, let the Experience Pack and various power toys fade away, killed off the developer site for Tablet PCs, etc. They never marketed the Tablet PC in any reasonable fashion. They seem to have never pushed vendors to produce a decent Tablet PC since the first days of the NEC and Compaq machines. Obviously they didn't realize what they had.

      But as a company, they have a long history of "getting it" after someone else shows the way and then doing a decent job of it themselves. I think Apple (with the help of the idolatrous press corps) has captured everyone's thinking that we are in the "post PC" (read, Tablet) era and MS has to get on board or perish. It looks to me like they are getting on board.

      For what it is worth, I don't believe the Courier was ever an officially announced product. Like InkSeine, it was something cool under development that just never went anywhere. (Sadly.) But Surface isn't that same. It was announced with a great deal of hoopla. A delivery timetable has been announced (sort of). And it is blatantly tied to Windows (unlike Courier).

      The app store is a wait and see for me, but again, MS can copy what works and better if if they want since there are legitimate examples out there.
    1. Steve B's Avatar
      Steve B -
      Well, we can agree to disagree on that one, which is cool. It seems to me that, with their entire new OS being focused directly on being tablet friendly, we're going to see some real push with this product. Who knows though? Either way, I definitely think your article would read much better though if you'd put in your points about Microsoft's history with tablets.

      I happen to have the view point of a person who's only been using a tablet pc for about a year, so I don't have the sort of decade long history you do with Microsoft on that account. Perhaps that means I'm being naive, or perhaps it means you're being overly cautious because you've been burned by past MS mistakes. But as a new user looking at it purely as a current event, a presentation by a huge corporation putting on a media show to out a new product to go with a new OS, I was satisfied that MS was interested in backing it.
    1. docg's Avatar
      docg -
      The negativity extends to those who have long used tablet pcs before the ipad was even a glint in the eye of apple. The long promised faster better longer battery life hardware has been one disappointment after another. For me I'm now looking at the galaxy note with android, but I still have those apps that just can't be replaced and only run on windows. And the whole tablet market misses the point that most of us make-- the need for a stylus. I was asked again why I would want that-- I said oh drawing writing you know in church clicking on a laptop keyboard is frowned upon. And drawing with your fingernail is not accurate. And for me typing on those stupid digital keyboards ttttoooo many prooooblems. If they really do come up with a product that is thinner, better battery life and good storage-- I'd be all for it. I am getting a bit of envy at those really thin laptops and tablets!
    1. John Hill's Avatar
      John Hill -
      Docg,I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about the need for a pen. My clients (field service, inspection, adjusters, etc.) need a pen for sketching, signatures and easily choosing dropdown menu items.I still want an updated version of the tc1100 (a tablet I never owned being a Motion Computing guy) but have always loved the utility and style of it.John
    1. Steve B's Avatar
      Steve B -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Hill View Post
      Docg,I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about the need for a pen. My clients (field service, inspection, adjusters, etc.) need a pen for sketching, signatures and easily choosing dropdown menu items.I still want an updated version of the tc1100 (a tablet I never owned being a Motion Computing guy) but have always loved the utility and style of it.John
      Many people consider the upcoming Samsung S7 to be a pretty direct descendent from the tc1100-- what with a keyboard dock and a pen for a Windows slate. That's also how a lot of people see the Surface. It definitely does __seem__ like the idea of the tc1100 is finally catching on. That's how it often works though, right? You have to wait long enough for the old to be the new when its brought back.
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