Maybe Q1 2012 will be time for good slates, when Intel shrinks to 22nm. Then tablets can be good laptop+desktop replacements.
Microsoft Corp. badly wants to find Windows 7 operating system on slates, which is why it is now tailoring it for touch-screen input. The company does not reveal details, but it is clear that the world's largest software maker has serious intentions to jump onto the consumer tablet bandwagon.
“We have to make things happen with Windows 7 on slates. We are in the process of doing that as we speak. We are working with our hardware partners, we are tuning Windows 7 to new slate hardware designs. They are bringing them to market. They will be shipping as soon as they are ready. We are working with those partners, not just to deliver something, but to deliver products that people really want to go buy. It is job-one urgency around here," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, at a special conference aimed at financial analysts, reports ChannelWeb web-site.
Although earlier Microsoft just said that it had serious plans for slates, this is the first time when the company openly admits that Windows 7 needs to be tailored for slate-type personal computers. One thing that Microsoft omits here is that the hardware platform from Intel Corp. - code-named Oak Trail - designed for slates and Windows will only be available in late 2011 with products likely emerging a bit later.
At present the most successful consumer tablet PC is Apple iPad. But many manufacturers are working on slates powered by Google Android operating system and their amount will only increase, creating a real threat for Microsoft.
Even though Microsoft will likely tailor Windows 7 operating system for touch-based input of slates, all the other applications designed for Windows will remain not tuned for touch input. As a result, even knowing that tablets are made for consumption of content, not for creation of it, Microsoft will still have to do a lot of work to make applications from third parties work properly on Windows 7-powered tablets.