Slip Sliding Away

Cue Paul Simon.

Quite a bit of consternation out there caused by the recent news about the XP downgrading option. And for those who love to wring their hands and say the sky is falling, that tune just keeps on playing.


But some just keep looking for better/different solutions. Two stalwarts in the Tablet PC community, who know a thing or two about mobile tech,  have each published interesting posts that point up just how fragile and shaky things are these days, and I dare say, how fragile and shaky things might continue to be ro some time. The two hosts of the OnTheRun with Tablet PCs podcast, James Kendrick and Marc Orchant, lay out some reasoning on two fronts that I think many are going through in their own minds. At least Steve Jobs and his PR machine hope that is the case.

Marc Orchant, on his blog, Platform Agnostic, practices what he titles (and always has since I’ve become acquainted with him.) Marc’s recent post, The best Windows laptop I own is a Mac? You might be thinking that this is another Parallels running Vista on a Mac hymn, but Marc isn’t headed down that road here. Although he’s given that a whirl, he’s looking ahead to another Apple purchase and dual booting OSX and XP. His rationales makes sense the way Marc describes his work (and play) flow, although the time sucking constant updating catechism that all Windows users face seems to me like it would haunt anyone using any flavor of Windows regardless of the hardware platform.

James Kendrick, on the other hand, is looking forward in a different light, and wondering who will build ““a real handheld” computer. He thinks Apple will take the prize. While I think his core point about the OS needing to be an embedded one to allow for Instant On and less overhead makes a lot of sense, I’m not so sure it is time to count Intel out here. Where Intel is headed with the MID platform is an open question that we won’t have answers too for a few months yet. But then, Intel doesn’t put out the machines, and James argues that Apple’s control over the hardware and the software gives them the edge. There is some wisdom there. I also wouldn’t count Nokia out here either. And some think Google might just someday make a dent in the market here.


My point here is a simple one, and I think Intel’s move to the MID platform is as telling as Apple’s move to Intel was. There is market share out there ripe for the picking. The perception of leaner and meaner makes the picking easier. Users, (especially mobile users) are looking for as close to hassle free as they can get. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Apple’s solution offers a complete hassle free solution, there are certainly issues there. And what the MID platform will offer is still anybody’s guess. But in Apple’s case, they at least have won the perception battle, and seem like, even with their faults, that they will continue to do so. Intel has similar muscle on the PR front, and if they use it correctly can make some inroads, but a lot will depend on their partners.


Perception counts in these interesting times. Microsoft used to own the mobile device ground. But for many reasons that ground is becoming shakier by the day.