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Microsoft's Risky Tablet Announcement

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the lets-table-this-tablet dept.

Handhelds 338

itwbennett writes "The New York Times describes the tablet announcement that Steve Ballmer is supposed to make in his CES opening keynote tonight as 'one of Steve Ballmer's riskiest trade show moves in years.' And blogger Peter Smith is in complete agreement. Here's why: 'Whether or not this announcement is intended as a direct response to the much-rumored Apple event that may or may not be happening on January 27th, consumers will perceive it as one,' says Smith. And if Microsoft unveils a traditional tablet then 'they'll be up against the (presumably more expensive) iTablet and the cult of Apple.' But if the device is the dual-screen Courier that we heard about back in September then it'll be up against the (presumably less expensive) enTourage eDGe, says Smith."

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Courier (5, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672512)

The huge borders of enTourage eDGe really put me off. It looks like something from the 80's and only the other screen is LCD, other one is e-ink. While you can probably get more battery power only using the e-ink one for reading, a lot of other possibilities are lost for Courier's 2x LCD screens. And I dont really need that long battery power, as I'm mostly looking for something to use on sofa or bed. I don't think Microsoft has anything to worry about enTourage eDGe.

I really hope the announcement is Courier. It looks kickass, and it would be immediate choice over iTablet or other traditional tablets. Holding a tablet that is book like while laying on sofa makes just a lot more sense and is a lot more comfortable. And when you're done, you can just close it like a book. If it's Courier, Microsoft is up for a good battle with Apple. If it's a normal tablet, meh.

Re:Courier (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672680)

I really hope the announcement is Courier. It looks kickass, and it would be immediate choice over iTablet or other traditional tablets. Holding a tablet that is book like while laying on sofa makes just a lot more sense and is a lot more comfortable. And when you're done, you can just close it like a book. If it's Courier, Microsoft is up for a good battle with Apple. If it's a normal tablet, meh.

So how does this work? Does you send Microsoft an invoice per post or is Steve Ballmer playing your skin flute right now?

Re:Courier (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672876)

I would like to point out that the OP posted using their account, while you posted as a coward.

Just saying...

Re:Courier (-1, Flamebait)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673214)

I would like to point out that sopssa, if not a paid astroturfer, is an MS fanboy. And therefore all his posts need to be taken with a grain of salt, just as you would for any other fanboy.

Personally, I think he's on a payroll. But that's because I'm cynical.

Tablets are the new "Cloud Computing". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672886)

Tablets are well on their way to becoming the "Cloud Computing" of 2010.

We are seeing a huge amount of hype from all of the major players, but we're not getting anything that's truly usable.

Of course, this isn't the first time that many of these vendors have tried to offer a tablet of some sort. Microsoft alone has failed time and time again.

Just like with "Cloud Computing", they are taking an ancient a failed idea and trying to push it on the public once more.

We're not even a week in, and yet we know that tablets will be this year's major tech failure.

Re:Tablets are the new "Cloud Computing". (4, Interesting)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673164)

I've got a Hitachi Visionplate for.. well, practically free. It's several years old though. 512MB CF card with Puppy linux on it. 600mhz proc. Hitachi must have made the visionplates even before netbooks took off. It's like a nice big wireless touchscreen LCD that you can carry around the house. Super cool.. not sure why nobody likes these things. You can find them cheap on ebay sometimes.

Check it out: http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y104/tibman/VisionPlate/DSCN0921.jpg [photobucket.com]

Re:Courier (4, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672954)

The huge borders of enTourage eDGe really put me off.

The article says that it's a prototype, and the production version is supposed to be a lot more sleek.

Re:Courier (2, Funny)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672980)

One of my friends heard from his friend that his uncle's coworker heard that the Courier will be offered at a significantly marked-down price of $99 to people that have a Hotmail account that is at least 3 years old (the device will be $529 for everyone else). They will be partnering with T-Mobile to offer unlimited data service for the device starting at $20/month. They're also going to be announcing a new VOIP service that offers free unlimited calling to and from anywhere in the United States for a flat rate of 0.1 cents per minute and the VOIP software built-in to the Courier will be able to work over WiFi or T-Mobile's data network. You can use any compatible Bluetooth headset or there will be a port for a wired headset that is included. Let's see Apple try to top this announcement! Wouldn't that be cool if this was all true??

Re:Courier (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673238)

"One of my friends heard from his friend that his uncle's coworker heard that the Courier will be offered at a significantly marked-down price,,,"

My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who saw Ferris pass-out at 31 Flavors last night.

I guess it's pretty serious.

Re:Courier (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673324)

I heard that the kids of every parent who buys one will get a pony.

Re:Courier (5, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673270)

The huge borders of enTourage eDGe really put me off.

For me, it is the egregious use of funky capitalizations.

Re:Courier (3, Insightful)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673294)

On the contrary, I don't really see a second screen as adding that much more value, particularly when the expanded size looks to be roughly the same as the rumored iTablet -- plus, you have the dead space of the hinge dividing the screens.

I'm sure that there will be covers for the iTablet that will fold over the screen, just like there are for the Kindle. So the only real advantage of the Courier would be that it folds into half the length of the iTablet (while doubling the height).

A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672566)

So the last thing Mr. Ballmer wants to hold up is a me-too device.

Huh, and here I was thinking that was precisely what he wanted to hold up. A "Me-Too" device that is the only authorized Windows Tablet for Windows 7. And it will sync with all your Microsoft crap and even let you carry around your Microsoft DRM'd media. Just like I'm sure Apple's tablet will do the same thing with Apple replaced for Microsoft.

Meanwhile here I'll sit with my eeePC running some flavor of Linux wondering when I'll get a tablet that provides support for open source.

Whether or not this announcement is intended as a direct response to the much-rumored Apple event that may or may not be happening on January 27th, consumers will perceive it as one

Oh no! Then surely consumers will see this as Microsoft entering another market they aren't experts in and not buy the MS Tablet just like how no one bought the original XBox ... oh, wait. Well, surely all those consumers will see through this ruse just like they did when Microsoft released the Zune ... oh, wait, that's still being shoved down our throats and people are still buying it.

And if Microsoft unveils a traditional tablet then 'they'll be up against the (presumably more expensive) iTablet and the cult of Apple.' But if the device is the dual-screen Courier, that we heard about back in September then it'll be up against the (presumably less expensive) enTourage eDGe

And the fact of the matter is that it doesn't matter if the market is large enough. Take the PS3 Vs XBox360 vs Wii console war. The XBox360 wasn't as powerful or as expensive as the PS3 yet wasn't as cheap as the Wii. And yet people gobbled them up.

The sad fact of the matter is that when you're the top dog in a lucrative industry and you're generating epic revenue, you have this peculiar ability to pay people to assess markets and then simply enter them by mirroring your opponents' every move in those markets. And you know what? With a good enough marketing team and a big enough brand name, you can't fail. Two tired adages: 1) You need money to make money. 2) The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. These apply on all scales.

For how much us tech savvy people will be able to bash Microsoft's tablet, it will turn a profit. Trust me, I don't say that as a fan I say that as a fact.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672636)

Then surely consumers will see this as Microsoft entering another market they aren't experts in

Entering? I've lots count of how many failed tablets Microsoft has come out with.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (4, Insightful)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672660)

Garnering majority market share may be a given but making a profit at it is is not and should be considered an independent variable. They spend a metric-butt-ton of money on marketing getting the market share AND they subsidize costs of entry (and even consumer costs; ie. selling a STB below cost) with other parts of the empire (ie. making a profit on titles when they sell a STB cost). While your evidence is compelling, it supports the former case (market lead) and not the latter (profitability).

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (4, Insightful)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672856)

My favorite part is the statement in the NYT about MS releasing a "Me-Too" device.

A "Me-Too" device that is one of a long line of such devices that have run their OS.

A "Me-Too" device that is announced before the Apple device.

A "Me-Too" device that is announced before the SUPPOSED Apple device that has not been confirmed by Apple.

Enough of the silly repetition. It is getting repetitive.

I can't say whether the MS device will be worth a spit. I can't say whether the Apple device will be worth a spit. I just like saying spit.

Can't really say if suddenly tablets are going to be cool and people will start buying them. Bill Gates thought so back in the early '90s. Hasn't happened yet. Steve Jobs killed tablet projects like he was playing whack-a-mole for years. Who knows?

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (2, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673090)

But there have been *ahem* rumors about the Apple tablet for a long time! So obviously Ballmer is just trying to one-up Apple by releasing more than a rumor.

One thing I have learned: no matter how good a Microsoft product, press release, statement, or design is, it is always bad if you talk to some people, and it's not innovative. Furthermore, Microsoft - unlike most companies - tries to make a profit. Apple, on the other hand, is trying to be innovative and produce quality machines at as low prices as they can possible do out of the altruistic kindness of their heart :) Er, core.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (2, Insightful)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673384)

After being stomped by Apple in the MP3 market, the digital content delivery market, and the current-gen smartphone market, I have no problem believing that Microsoft is taking their Apple rumors VERY seriously these days.

Apple DOES try to make a profit -- that's why they typically have among the highest profit margins in the industry for their hardware.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672968)

You know why people buy the XBox 360, and why the ZuneHD is surprisingly popular? Because they're good products. And if the Courier is as good as some of the leaks suggest, people will buy it too.

You can sit there with your eeePC, ranting about stupid consumers and your holy war against the Microsoft empire. The rest of us will carry on not caring.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

joerdie (816174) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673058)

I'm not sure that I agree with you. While I do not have any experience with th Zune, (but have heard great things about Marketplace)the X-Box 360 is NOT a quality product. It has a failure rate above every console ever released, the max graphical capability is above the Wii but well below the PS3, and it's online play costs the consumer money.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673440)

I hate that my XBox 360 sounds like a jet engine every time I turn it on.

Use it as a multimedia station? Yeah, what a joke. I have to crank the volume on everything so I can hear it about the sound of the 360.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673066)

I normally buy every major console with each generation, so don't assume this some fanboy rant, but I can't imagine wanting to buy a 360.

Fans and the media wanted to compare the cheap 360 with no HDD to the most expensive PS3 SKU's and pretend there was a huge cost disparity. At most times, the price difference between truly comparable 360 and PS3 models (both having similar HDDs) was $50.

So for $50 in price difference I get a free BluRay player, free online play, the ability to put in any cheap HDD I want easily without voiding warranty, and the ability to install Linux.

Even better, Sony had a deal where they'd give you $150 off the price of a PS3 with the Playstation card. (Said deal is down to $100 off). When the PS3 80 GB model was $400, I bought it brand new for $250. That sure as heck beat paying $350 for the 360.

My PS3 doesn't get particularly hot. I've never had problems with it. The 360 eats discs, runs super hot, and has something like a 40% hardware failure rate.

Please tell me again that the 360 is a good product in comparison.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673218)

Please tell me again that the 360 is a good product in comparison.

Because limiting your gaming platforms (if you can afford to not do so, obviously) is a silly idea. Again, money permitting, if you can afford the maximum number of platforms to play games on, why wouldn't you? Project Sylpheed, Blue Dragon, Crackdown/Crackdown 2, Ninja Blade, 'Splosion Man, Fable II, Geometry Wars, I Made a Game With Zombies In It, Shadow Complex...and many others. There are a LOT of great games you can ONLY play on a 360. I don't know about you, but I'm quite happy to have the experiences of as many games as possible added to my collective gaming memory.

Not to mention Netflix streaming with a PS3 sucks horribly. It is a much better system for media streaming and playback, but for Netflix? Horrible.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673292)

The two 360 titles I really cared about were Mass Effect and Bioshock. Bioshock eventually went PS3, but I just picked both up on the PC.

I thought Fable was horribly overrated. I beat it in 20 hours, and the game became extremely easy once I realized it had a broken mechanic. There was a spell that gave you a shield where you didn't take damage. You could earn exponential experience if you maintained a combo of hitting without taking damage. You cast the spell, hit enemies, lathered, rinsed and repeated. Not a single fight in the game presented any challenge, and I had a maxed character almost immediately.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673424)

There were a bunch of games I didn't include (Gears of War, Mass Effect, Bioshock, etc.) since you could play them on other platforms...I was listing games that you could ONLY play on the 360.

Honestly, for me, Shadow Complex and 'Splosion Man ALONE were worth the cost of a 360. Good platformers are hard to find nowadays, and finding two of them that could arguably be considered two of the best ever made is quite a treat.

That being said, Mass Effect was an unbelievably amazing game in spite of its technical shortcomings...Mass Effect 2 can't get here soon enough.

The Zune? Nope. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673148)

According to Amazon's best seller list the top *17* music players are made by Apple. Numbers 18 & 19 are Sandisks. Then comes another iPod. Zune is the 21st in popularity.

Re:The Zune? Nope. (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673470)

Keep in mind that Clay Aiken's holiday album sold over one million copies in SIX WEEKS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merry_Christmas_with_Love [wikipedia.org]

Popularity doesn't equal quality. You can keep your filthy locked down device. I'll stay with my Zen, thank you very much.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672974)

Nope, It's ballmers Senility kicking in. This is Microsoft 4th reintroduction of the tablet PC. Every one has been an utter failure, and this one will be as well.

If I cant get 10 hours of full performance run time from these things, I.E. On and running at full speed the ENTIRE WORKDAY on a single charge then it's a piece of crap. I have owned every Tablet pc from the Very first Dauphin DTR-1 and they all SUCK for usefulness because of the lack of run time per charge.

If the iSlate is NOT A pc but a giant version of the iPod touch and can deliver 3X the battery life of one then it will start to be a useful device. but it has to have the ability for me to use it as a virtual legal pad. Screw handwriting recognition, that's simply a dog and pony show that never works.

Now give me a camera on the face pointing at me and a software app to do videoconferencing from it.

I dont care who makes it (I prefer non apple so it will at least display and allow markup on the evil Office suite files)

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (4, Informative)

Arcady13 (656165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673374)

(I prefer non apple so it will at least display and allow markup on the evil Office suite files)

You know that they make Office for Mac, right? And that the iPhone/Touch can display Office files out of the box, right? There are iPhone/Touch apps to allow you to edit them too.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673416)

Screw handwriting recognition

I have to agree on that. I think the best part of the Newton was that it could be treated like (by design) a sketch pad. It was something I felt all other PDA's were lacking.

Also, the fact that it was fax oriented was pretty cute, but I bought mine years after the end of life as a novelty.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (2, Insightful)

musicalmicah (1532521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673074)

Hasn't Microsoft only lost money on the X-Box AND the Zune? I don't see how comparing the new tablet to either of these ventures can lead to the argument that it will be successful. Sure, it'll sell, but will it profit?

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673154)

Sadly, Linux and OSS never get a press conference (who would hold it, after all?). All of these trade shows tend to come down to a pissing contest between Apple and MS, or Verizon/AT&T/Sprint/T-Mobile or whoever, and open source and Linux get overlooked once again. Ask anyone at CES about open source and they'll just stare at you blankly. These trade shows are just a great big proprietary/capitalism/closed-source circle-jerk.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673158)

Well, surely all those consumers will see through this ruse just like they did when Microsoft released the Zune ... oh, wait, that's still being shoved down our throats and people are still buying it.

It all worked up until that point...

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673180)

XBox360 also came out a year before the PS3 or the Wii. I'm sure that had something to do with it.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673258)

Tablet supporting open source? Have you looked at the Touch Book by always innovating? It is a hybrid netbook/tablet with a touch screen that docks with a keyboard unit that run an angstrom linux distro. Last news I heard was they shipped a few hundred of the first release and are currently accumulating orders for a second production run.

Re:A Mimic Device Is Precisely What They Want (3, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673482)

Microsoft wishes they could create something which makes a profit but they don't really have to, they've been running on the Windows OS and MS Office gravy trains for over 2 decades. Zune+Xbox+WindowsCE=billions in losses but that's ok, it keeps the perception Microsoft and Windows are important and valuable so Windows keeps racking in the dough. IMO

LoB

Old Story (1, Insightful)

GottMitUns (1012191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672614)

This is Deja Vu all over again. They already had a bunch of pushes for Tablets. Like here:http://www.pencomputing.com/frames/tablet_pc.html [pencomputing.com] Tablet PC is no go. Get over it.

Re:Old Story (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672778)

I beg to differ.

There's nothing that equals the experience of using a Tablet PC, whether you are browsing the internet, drawing, playing stupid multitouch games, or taking notes in class.
The only thing Microsoft got wrong with it is that they've never made the mere existence of the platform known to the normal people. I've lost the count of the times I took my tablet out to take notes and the people next to me dropped their jaws when i converted it to slate mode and started writing on it.

The Tablet PC is one of the few things I admire Microsoft for, even though saying I'm hostile to them is an euphemism on may occasions.

Re:Old Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672818)

tablet pc might be a no go for the masses, but it would certainly fill a niche market -

as an illustrator, i love being able to draw directly on my screen. the only problem with proposed modern tablets is that they're all aiming for a 10-11 inch screen - that's the no go for me. i have a toshiba satellite r15 tablet, and it's got a 14 inch screen - anything smaller just wouldn't be workable as a canvas.

something like a wacom just isn't the same - i don't like the disconnect between where i'm drawing and where my lines appear.

Who cares? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672630)

I think even Apple cultists will agree that tablets are currently a niche market at best. iMac, iPod, and iPhone all serve well-defined markets that were established before these specific products were available. People have tried to push tablets over the years and, to put it mildly, have not met with much success. What is the iSlate (or whatever) bringing to the table that will have it succeed where others have failed? I've read all the rumors have have not been particularly impressed; I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Re:Who cares? (5, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673178)

Microsoft's earlier attempts to push out a tablet PC had a few differences:

1) It relied on a stylus
2) It used a traditional UI (standard windows with some extra apps)

To address the two points:

1) Apple, presumably Microsoft, and various toher companies working on "modern" tablets are clearly going for touchscreen. Just like the stylus has been largely abandoned in the smartphone market, moving to touchscreens for tablets could make them a heck of a lot more accessible; styluses are another layer removing the user from the content, they don't work as well with gestures (flick-to-scroll feels a lot less natural), they don't have any equivalent to multi-touch, etc.

2) Tablet PC was just Windows with some handwriting recognition stuff tossed in. Apple (and I presume Microsoft and others) are going, this time, with completely different UIs. Apple is using the iPhone interface scaled up, which is a touch-screen interface to begin with. I assume Microsoft will also have something similar, although hopefully not based on Windows Mobile (or it will bomb).

I see a few uses for a touch-based tablet:

1) eBook reader. They don't have the power advantage of eInk here, but they do get the advantage of colour. Useless in novels, useful for textbooks, magazines, etc. Apple has tried to pull this off on the iPhone, but it's a decidedly sub-standard experience due to the tiny screen.

2) PMP. A 10" screen at arms length is a lot bigger than the 3.5" screens you get in most PMPs or smartphones.

3) Browser. Browsing on smartphones has made incredible leaps forward in the past few years, starting with Opera's work and continuing with mobile Safari. Smartphone browsing is pretty close to desktop browsing, except for the tiny screens. Scale that up to a high res 10" screen and suddenly you've got something that can dispay websites at full size without having to zoom.

It seems that the current approach to tablets is more about taking the smartphone experience and removing the limitations of screen size, rather than the previous approach which was to take the laptop PC experience and switch the input and form factor. I think that this new approach will be much more successful.

The price point is important too. The latest leaks from Apple have them considering a $1000 pricepoint, which I believe is lower than what most Tablet PCs sold for.

1st vendor to release a PADD from TNG gets my $ (4, Insightful)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672726)

Including the ability for me to skin the UI with an LCARS theme without "jailbreaking" or flashing custom firmware.

I'm serious.

Re:1st vendor to release a PADD from TNG gets my $ (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673252)

I believe you, but I'm curious, what do you find so attractive about some writer's fantasy from the 1980s?

Microsoft's Risky Tablet Announcement (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672728)

Microsoft's Risky Tablet Announcement

Even though this is Microsoft, I am absolutely overjoyed to see a reduced instruction set compu-tablet.

Yuck, yuck, yuck. (seriously though, it has an Intel Atom)

BTW, Hackers seems topical:

DADE: It has a killer refresh rate.
KATE: P6 chip. Triple the speed of the Pentium.
DADE: Yeah. It's not just the chip, it has a PCI bus. But you knew that.
KATE: Indeed. RISC architecture is gonna change everything.
DADE: Yeah. RISC is good.

Re:Microsoft's Risky Tablet Announcement (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672988)

It wont, it will run Embedded XP or worse Embedded Vista. IT's not really a reduced instruction set. It's just not a full flavor OS install.

Re:Microsoft's Risky Tablet Announcement (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673152)

I'd woosh you, but I suspect I'd have to woosh you a second time, for not even getting what I meant by "woosh".

Ballmertainment (3, Funny)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672744)

I hope he throws it while chanting DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS...

If MS thinks they're attcking Apple.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672750)

I think the NYT is reading too much into this. First of all, Apple has it's own market. The folks who buy their products and are fans are not going to be swayed too much, if at all, by a cheaper price from MS for a similar gadget. Apple has proven that they can charge what they charge and their market sticks with them: the early adopters will pay the price. And those who won't pay the price will wait because we know that Apple will drop the price in the future.

The MS market is for those of us that are price conscious, the corporate market that locked themselves into MS solutions, and believe it or not, there are folks who actually like MS and HP products and even prefer them over Apple.

My point is that Apple is in their own league (and market) and any announcement from MS et al. isn't for their (Apple's or their users) benefit - it's for the MS fans that may want a tablet device. It also shows that MS is "keeping up".

MS isn't the power house that they once were. They're more like the obese ex-college football star that thinks they're still the big fast hunk they once were - that's another post from the Anonymous Business and Marketing Analyst.

Re:If MS thinks they're attcking Apple.... (2, Interesting)

Rand310 (264407) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673024)

I guarantee that there will be a 'Apple vs MS vs etc' column that will be posted shortly after each device's debut. Not only do MS and Apple want to be on that list, but a whole host of other companies are releasing products right now just so that they too can be on that list. It would be quite possible to suck up a decent amount of free market space by riding off of Apple's announcement. Apple released this device with these features at this price point, while CompanyA released a similar device with these features at this price point. CompanyA automatically gets free news, a shot at a market and possibly even sales all while riding Apple's momentum.

Windows tablet edition (2, Insightful)

Rikiji7 (1182159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672758)

Windows tablet pc edition is already in the wild, and nobody cares about it. This is just a poor-marketing-dept reply to apple's itablet/hugeiphone.

Re:Windows tablet edition (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673012)

How do you figure? MS has been eluding to getting back into the tablet game for quite a while...

Yeah! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672776)

This is going to be WAY cooler than Windows XP Tablet Edition running on the Compaq Tablet that it was introduced with. Or Vista with built in Tablet Extensions that MS demoed a while back. Yay!!!! Windows 7 Tablet!!! it will be great where the two previous attempted failed miserably because it's new!

Ugh, Slashdot is so annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672792)

The eDGe looks like two palm pilots glued into an ugly box. That thing got beat with the ugly stick.

ANYTHING from HP/Microsoft is going to look better than that.

at the conference... (5, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672796)

sorry people, you'll all have to stand... we removed all chairs as a precaution

Re:at the conference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672814)

Get out of my head fine sir.

Enough Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672830)

Can't people just wait until companies actually announce products before writing about how good or bad they might be, or how they might change the market? Now we have this ridiculous scenario where bloggers are writing about a possible product announcement and how it compares to another possible product announcement from another company further down the road.

Re:Enough Already (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673240)

It is called "industry/market analysis," would you prefer it didn't exist? Is it even logical for it to not exist?

I don't understand... (2, Interesting)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672838)

...why Microsoft seems to think it's in competition with Apple. Microsoft built itself on being a software company and has only recently - within the last decade - ventured significantly into the hardware market (Xbox, Zune, now the tablet, etc).

Apple, meanwhile, has traditionally been the opposite - a hardware company that occasionally ventures into the software industry (arguably the only software they make is variations of OS X for all their hardware devices).

I am ready and willing to accept naivete as a reason for my above question, but on the off-chance it's not...why does Microsoft care what Apple does? I should think they'd be better off worrying more about what Google does in response to this tablet than Apple.

Re:I don't understand... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672870)

why does Microsoft care what Apple does?

Because Apple makes obscene profits selling hardware and software. And they're able to sell commodity hardware at twice the price to the easily impressed. MS wants to do that too.

Re:I don't understand... (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673022)

Microsoft isn't jealous of Apple's profitability, they are just looking for ways to increase their gross revenues.

They are currently a nice bit more profitable than Apple:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=MSFT [yahoo.com]
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=AAPL [yahoo.com]

Re:I don't understand... (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673104)

... the only software they make is variations of OS X for all their hardware devices

Um, no... Apple produces a lot of different software products.

Re:I don't understand... (1)

Trailrunner7 (1100399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673118)

How exactly can Microsoft be responding to an event that hasn't taken place yet (the Apple tablet announcement)? Is that "pre-sponding"?

Re:I don't understand... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673126)

What about things like Final Cut Pro? That's software...

That said, I don't know if MS really cares what Apple does... except that because you don't typically buy a Mac to run Windows on it.

But hey. As long as their wrongfully-supposed competition yields some good products, I don't care :)

Re:I don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673306)

you don't typically buy a Mac to run Windows on it.

On my MacPro, I've got MacOS X Snow Leopard, and in Virtual boxes: Windows 7 Pro/64, Vista Pro, XP Pro, 2000 and just for laffs, Ubuntu.

I bought a Dell Inspiron 1525 to create a HackBook with MacOS Leopard.

I've always had a bit of a contrary streak, I guess.

Re:I don't understand... (1)

Aviation Pete (252403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673226)

...(arguably the only software they make is variations of OS X for all their hardware devices).

you seem to forget their iApps, Quicktime, Xcode, the productivity apps like Keynote or the many pro apps for things like movie cutting and picture editing. While Apple's objective may be to boost their hardware sales, the software is a huge part of the company.

iTunes and Quicktime are most likely even running on your PC.

Re:I don't understand... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673360)

iTunes and Quicktime are most likely even running on your PC.

Unfortunately. ;)

Re:I don't understand... (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673322)

You make valid points, but it is the nature of the game you're ignoring. Microsoft does specialize in software while Apple is more hardware-based, but Microsoft's main product regardless has been most affected by Apple's software. Likewise, Apple's hardware along with their software solutions have always dealt with Microsoft as their main competition. The rivalry is just huge, and any strategically-sound opportunities to directly impact each other are usually taken advantage of.

Re:I don't understand... (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673462)

Apple is arguably the last consumer GPC systems manufacturer. MS provide commodity software for commodity hardware, and has traditionally left integration issue to others. Therefore, Apple has some experience with getting components to work together, while MS only has limited experience on the Software side. I say limited because up to five years ago it did little work to make standards based software.

What MS did for most of it's life is produce good enough software for a good price. MS products were cheap enough, or could be acquired cheaply enough, so that more expensive systems made no economic sense for many common applications. What MS is doing now is trying to upscale the product. The software now costs more than the hardware, something that to many people seem unreasonable. Like IBM, MS now makes little sense for small groups. Once can buy a 3 macs for $5000, and keep them operating through 2 upgrade cycles for less than $1000, including iWork upgrades. The same three PCs of similar quantity might cost $2500, but each upgrade cycle is going to cost another $1500, assuming you don't buy the crippled OS, and don't upgrade the MS Office applications.

MS is trying to be the upscale systems manufacturer because that is where the money is. The problem is that if they compete on pice, then they alienate their hardware partners. So they have to compete on quality which means they are competing on product quality. In cell phones they have failed as the Nokia phones are just too good. In console they succeeded because they are better in many ways than the Wii, and the sony stuff is very expensive. In the tablet market we are back in the realm of alienating hardware partners and jeopardizing the MS Windows cash cow, so they are likely to be competing with Apple and Kindle, rather than the more commodity products.

What happened to media objectivity? (4, Insightful)

protosage (752297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672850)

The NYT article is ridiculous. Granted Apple will probably release a tablet like device or at least announce it in the next month or so. However how can MS/HP announce a me-too device without there being a device to emulate? What's unfortunate is that as usual the Mac boosters in the media who believe that the Mac is the be all for all users are going to pass judgement on this device by comparing it to the mythical Apple tablet. It's like comparing a good race horse to a unicorn sure that horse is fast, but it's not a magical and can't fly. (Granted Apple may deliver a unicorn, but the point is it just doesn't exist yet however cool it may be)

Software (5, Interesting)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672864)

But what about software for it. I think part of the anticipation of the Apple tablet is that it will be a larger iPod Touch with added functionality. If the Apple tablet can run iPhone apps it already has a huge advantage over the Microsoft tablet, more so if it can also run OS X apps.

What software would the Microsoft tablet run? Windows 7? It will have all the speed of a netbook. Windows Mobile? It will be DOA if it runs Windows Mobile.

As a side note, how much do you want to bet that Microsoft somehow tries to connect their tablet to Xbox Live?

Re:Software (1)

Rikiji7 (1182159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672928)

i hope apple's tablet will run natively any OSX app, since a huge ipod touch looks just useless.

Re:Software (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673050)

BINGO

We have a winner. Not only does the MS pre-announce announcemnt sounds too much like the typical "me too" we get from Microsoft. Not only this, Microsoft has already tried "tablet" (and even tabletop) gadgets, and yet somehow nobody wants or cares about them. XP Tablet version is nasty bad and Windows doesn't work very well in "Tablet Mode" (which also requires a stylus yuck). (Just don't remind me of Newton)

I actually think that Apple's Tablet will be exactly this, iPod Touch on roids! The biggest drawback on the iPodTouch is the screen size, and having to "switch" applications back n forth to do stuff, but with a larger screen you might have four or six apps in their own section of the screen all at the same time, while also allowing larger screen sizes for other applications.

But that is just my $.02

Re:Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673276)

but with a larger screen you might have four or six apps in their own section of the screen all at the same time

You're the second person I've heard suggest that. What I want to know is, why are people so eager to use Windows 1.0?

Re:Software (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673146)

iSlate needs to have all the functionality of the iTouch for games, mp3s, and videos, plus function as a good large print eBook reader. The population is aging; baby boomers don't have the eyesight they once had. Sure, it's a niche squeezed between smartphones with smaller displays and notebooks/netbooks without touch screens, but if they can get the price point below $500 they could sell well as a viable eBook reader. Don't most people like to be able to listen to music while they read? The only way to make up for the inconvenience of being harder to lug around is to combine the functionality of every device you may want in a single device -- it beats the heck out of lugging around a separate cell phone, mp3/video player, PDA, GPS, eBook reader and notebook. (Granted, most smart phones already combine the first 4).

Re:Software (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673480)

Why would I want to run iphone apps on a tablet? I lose the portability and gain... blurry upscaled graphics? Apps designed for finger tips on a single hand become a nightmare to use too when the screen is 3-4 times as big.

Tablets have been tried over and over. If people want the portability, they'll get a netbook or a PDA/smartphone. Tablets are awkward to carry, painful to use for any real work and are mix of both sets of disadvantages from PDAs and Netbooks.

What can I use a tablet for where a e-book reader, PDA or netbook wouldn't be more appropriate?

As a side note, how much do you want to bet Apple somehow tries to tie their tablet to itunes?

One thing Microsoft doesn't have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30672872)

It's called iTunes.

Re:One thing Microsoft doesn't have (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673406)

I'm confused. You can install iTunes on Windows.

Apple, Microsoft be damned.. (4, Interesting)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672920)

I swear that sometimes the future is stupidly obvious and these big dumb corporations adamantly try to refuse it.. A $1000 tablet may be a temporary success... but the future is cheap 'netbook' tablets like in Star Trek TNG. The point of a tablet PC is to offer a computing platform that removes the need for paper. Paper is cheap. A dual-screen tablet is the stupidest of the stupid moronic stupid things Microsoft would do..

So right now, while electronics shops cope with el-cheapo lcd screens being placed in every product, why the hell aren't these big dumb companies seeing that the el-cheapo lcd photoframes are just a few steps away from being the tablets we need? To truly remove the need for paper, we do not need speed or the latest in 3d multimedia. We need el-cheapo tablets that can be passed around while the personal information is contained in removable cards (SD? miniSD? microSD? who cares). Let me write on the screen. Convert my text to type. Let me play a video - but not necessarily a video game. Let me browse the net. Let me read an ebook. Let me write up my notes at a meeting and toss them on my boss's desk. Put this with a slow-ass cheap processor, minimum OS (fuck you Microsoft, but still XP is small enough), minimum other parts, and a touch-screen. Also, make it easily replaceable.. If I lose my tablet, lemme buy another for $200. Let the data automatically sync to my desktop computer when I bring the tablet near it. Waterproof the tablet.. should be easy, right? just one rubber compartment around the storage cards and ports.. let it borrow internet access from my nearby cell phone or my wifi..

The tablet does not need to do the following:
- charge me a monthly fee of any kind - so it should not have cell phone shit in it
- play 3d games
- rival my desktop in performance
- weigh more than 1.2 lbs
- be more than 3/8" thick
- download automatic updates
- use front surface area for anything other than a screen
- cost more than $200 ($300 in 2011, $500 in 2012 to account for inflation)

This is the future of tablet computing that I remember.

Re:Apple, Microsoft be damned.. (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673198)

I generally agree with the parent, but:

The tablet does not need to do the following:
- download automatic updates

I actually disagree on this point. It's almost certain that someone will find some sort of security exploit in the networking software in the device, at some point, or in the browser, or mediaplayer, or whatever. I think *any* device which has net access needs an automatic update facility for patching security holes.

"- cost more than $200 ($300 in 2011, $500 in 2012 to account for inflation)"

Wow - that's some major inflation you're allowing for there. That's almost 50% inflation year after year. Inflation (in the U.S., at least) has historically been less than 10% most years (see this graph [wikipedia.org] for example). Higher inflation is, I suppose, always a possiblity, but I'm not sure there's much basis to predict that much inflation in the next 3 year? Electronics, anyhow, usually go opposite of inflation of all other product prices. They tend to be cheaper 3 years after release, rather than more expensive.

Re:Apple, Microsoft be damned.. (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673304)

I swear that sometimes the future is stupidly obvious and these big dumb corporations adamantly try to refuse it..

Or perhaps they're a lot more clever than you realize. Why release the "future" today when you can build up to it, releasing other stuff in the meantime while making a profit all along the way?

Re:Apple, Microsoft be damned.. (1)

nizcolas (597301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673390)

Sign me up for two of these. In fact, sign me up for one that runs like Ender's desk.

Re:Apple, Microsoft be damned.. (1)

villy (199943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673446)

I think you've (closely) described the OLPC laptop: http://laptop.org/en/laptop/hardware/specs.shtml.

With some minor design changes, these guys could probably become a major player in the quickly-heating-up tablet/slate market.

Re:Apple, Microsoft be damned.. (2, Insightful)

Kelz (611260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673468)

Half the meaningful web is in flash, ajax, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn't run smoothly on a 400mhz small-profile CPU, especially on XP. A version of 7 should be modular enough to scale with the processing power. PROPER touch-sceens, resistive or capacitive, especially in a high enough resolution to be called a tablet don't come as cheap as you'd like to think, and if the performance is crap it won't catch on. We're just coming to the point where we can stick enough juice into a screen big enough to call it a tablet. Give them SOME credit.

Year of the tablet (2, Insightful)

joerdie (816174) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672958)

2009 was the year of the netbook, 2010 will be the year of the tablet. The problem is, tablets are so niche... and the normal consumer doesn't know.

Re:Year of the tablet (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673032)

Netbooks sold despite being junk because they were dirt cheap. Tablets aren't going to sell unless they have a price point competitive with a $300 netbook or eBook reader. The $1000 price point being tossed around for the iSlate is silly when one could get a decent Macbook for that much.

Re:Year of the tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673068)

Year of the tablet on the desktop, even! Woo!

Re:Year of the tablet (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673078)

I think if Tablets went the dockable route (i.e. able to dock to a keyboard/faster hardware, then be taken out as just a touchscreen with decent hardware) they would gain a larger following. For someone like my fiance (a 3rd grade teacher), a computer she can use as a laptop on her desk and then just grab the screen and go while walking around the classroom would be quite an asset.

yes, I know there are laptops with touchscreens that swivel, but then you are stuck carrying around a laptop, regardless of how small it is. If tablets are to make it anywhere in the near future, they need to be dockable to a full-sized keyboard.

Re:Year of the tablet (1)

theJML (911853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673190)

They could just have bluetooth in them. Use a bluetooth keyboard/mouse and a nice little angled holder to use it as a screen at your desk, then just pick it up and walk around. Even an oversized plate display holder would work for that!

Re:Year of the tablet (1)

joerdie (816174) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673210)

Thats a really good point. If the market can find more uses like that, it shall succeed. I currently have an HP tablet that I really love... but never use in tablet mode.

They can't even make a decent phone (5, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673036)

So what makes Microsoft think that they can make a decent tablet?

Seriously, think about it for a minute. Forget about all the hype, forget about Apple's tablet (which hasn't even been announced). Forget about prototypes and mockups. Look at what we already know for a fact. Look at the state of Windows Mobile. How much attention has Microsoft given it? Now consider what they did to Danger, and the whole Pink debacle spearheaded by Roz Ho. And look at what they're doing with Bing, trying to compete with Google. Finally, what happened with the Tablet PC? Remember those? I ask you in all honesty: do you think that Microsoft is actually capable of launching a touchscreen tablet device that is going to provide an elegant, rich, and relatively bug-free user experience? Do you think that they will put their weight behind a putative MS tablet?

The problem here is that I have serious reservations about Microsoft's competence as well as their sincerity in developing and supporting such a device. I look at their track record with past initiatives and all I see are half-baked attempts. This rumor, if true, totally reeks of desperation, and I would not go near this one with a ten-foot pole. Such a device would not only have to be freaking amazing, it would have to be available by next month AND it would need to be bug-free, and cheap. In other words, it would have to be perfect now. Not in five years. Otherwise, it'll be a joke.

Re:They can't even make a decent phone (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673206)

And look at what they're doing with Bing, trying to compete with Google.

This does not support your thesis. Bing is actually becoming somewhat nice to use, and the Bird's-Eye view is really nice to have. I just use both.

do you think that Microsoft is actually capable of launching a touchscreen tablet device that is going to provide an elegant, rich, and relatively bug-free user experience?

Yes. Will they? I dunno. But how about we wait until we know it's buggy before saying it will be buggy? What's the harm in hoping it won't be?

The problem here is that I have serious reservations about Microsoft's competence as well as their sincerity in developing and supporting such a device.

On the software side? You must have had some unfortunately bad experiences. I've had fairly good experiences. And it's telling (IMO) that you have already decided you don't want the presumed Microsoft tablet-thing even though you haven't seen it, you don't know if it's amazing, you don't know when it's available, and you don't know how buggy or cheap it is.

iPhones and Linux (distros) are not bug free, perfect, or amazing either... why is it Microsoft has to be? (the iPhone seems to be pretty cool but does seem to have some major issues, IMO... I have used one and actually would not like one, didn't really like using it)

Re:They can't even make a decent phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673312)

The Parent is correct, but the argument hinges on whether or not you believe Microsoft will throw it's weight behind the new tablet.

The fact that they have released a number of bad devices does not mean they are incapable of making a good device. In fact, the "failed experiments" probably give them a much greater insight into what the consumer wants / needs. (That is if they bothered to take note).

Consider the obligatory car analogy- Ford was considered the worst of the US manufacturers for some times. Before the recession hit, Ford actually learned a lot from their mistakes (people like cars to be reliable and cheap! who knew?) The Ford Focus and Fusion are now reliable and profitable cars. Ford didn't take nearly the hit the other US manufacturers did.

To play on their previous performance you would think they wouldn't have been able to correct their mistakes. But they did. They realized that the public wouldn't stand for their lack of quality (or percieved lack of quality in some cases) and they set out to correct it.

I do no know if Microsoft intends to do the same, but I will not say that a tablet from them is a guaranteed failure just because they have failed before. It is equally likely they actually want to make money and have made changes to make a worth while product. Companies sometimes like to do that.

Oblig. (5, Funny)

comm2k (961394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673128)

"The Tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available wherever you want it, which is why I'm already using a Tablet as my everyday computer. It's a PC that is virtually without limits -- and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America."

Bill Gates, 2001

Microsoft Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673160)

Dead, or close to it.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout

What announcement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673290)

What announcement? MS already has tablets, starting with their release of "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition".

Don't say anything just yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673302)

Previous standards of tablets and touch screen devices have either been small (in size or degree of market penetration) or awful devices that never should have been made. These tablets aim to be neither of those, they aim to create a whole new market and class of device. We can't really judge them until we know more about what to expect from the hardware.

Will Microsoft use a Snapdragon chip, or Intel's new silicon? What would the ramifications of those choices be? What about data storage? RAM? And if they do use Intel processors, will there be a desktop OS, or a port of Windows Mobile? Or a whole new solution? We can only wait and see.

Good (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673310)

With both MS and Apple announcing tablets, maybe ONE of them can tell us exactly who those things are targeted at. In the age of netbooks and smart phones on the low end and real laptops on the high end, I want to know exactly who out there is clamoring to spend $1000 for a half-assed laptop with a glorified touch screen. Maybe there are some artists out there who could really use this screen for drawing or something (and some Mac fans who will buy anything with an Apple logo on it, just cause), but why would any mainstream user want one of these things?

I don't mean that as a troll. Seriously, is anyone here looking to buy a tablet--and if so why?

"me too! me too!" shout little Billy & Stevey (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673344)

This is got to be the longest-running MicroSoft joke: announcing vaporware as soon as a competitor does. Windows is the classic example: announced in 1984 when the Mac graphical interface was delivered. But not an usuable version until 3.1 six years later.
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