Microsoft white paper on Windows 7 slate design

Microsoft’s Windows 7 team has provided a white paper for OEMs to guide them in designing slate PCs for Windows 7, posted in HTML form at In addition to hardware specifications and recommendations, it includes a rundown of the touch features in Windows 7, both in the OS and pre-installed applications.

If you’re unsure of what touch features are offered in Windows 7, the first part is worth a read-through. The rest of it is really for hardware makers but does offer some things to think about when you’re shopping for a Tablet PC, such as button placement and heat dispersal points relative to handhold points. The notes on using an SSD, recommended for lower power consumption, mention when SuperFetch and ReadyBoost should be disabled. Or to put it another way, just because you have an SSD, that doesn’t mean these performance-boosting technologies won’t help you.

While there’s nothing surprising in the hardware suggestions, it is clear why we’re still not seeing “low-cost” and “Tablet PC” used in the same sentence. I’d love a slate with highly accurate digitizer, fast SSD and more than four hours of battery life, per their suggestions, but getting that in an affordable package has always been the real trick.

One thing I finally learned (not that I’d ever bothered to pursue it) was the reasoning behind the left-forward/right-back flicks.

Navigate back: Place fingertip on the page and flick it to the right, as if flipping backward through the pages of a book.

Okay, I get it, but it’s still dumb. A) Flicking your finger across the page of a book isn’t really a normal way to turn pages. B) Why would anyone make the directions the opposite of the standard back/forward buttons in a web browser? I reversed them on my Tablet PC to match the left-back/right-forward system, but I suspect the average user would just get frustrated and not bother.

Original paper posted at WHDC. Hat tip to UMPCPortal.