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2010: The Year Microsoft Lost Tablet?



The following is a guest editorial by Rob Bushway, the founder and former owner of

For the past six months I’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching Tablet dominate the news cycle. From the Crunchpad to the JooJoo, from the Courier to the iSlate, from the Android Tablet to Windows 7 Starter Edition Tablets – it is almost dizzying to watch.

Engadget is covering Tablet like they’ve loved it from the beginning. The New York Times is declaring 2010 to be the year of Tablet. Gizmodo is giving Tablet more press than their usual love-affair with porn-filled flash drives. The other day, I think I even saw Mary Jo Foley trying to ink on her recently-acquired Kindle. Suddenly, Tablet is the cool kid everyone wants to hang around.

To see Tablet finally get its’ due is indeed a great thing to behold.  People are finally catching up with what GottaBeMobile has been saying all along: there is something intimate about curling up to a slate device while surfing the web, marking up a book, taking notes, consuming media, and catching up on that long-neglected novel.  I’ve been covering tablet technology for the past six years and it seems like as every year came to a close, we hoped that the next year would indeed be the “Year of Tablet”. That time has finally come.

There’s an eerie silence amongst all the excitement, though, and it is coming from none other than Microsoft and its’ partners. This silence is very concerning and it will cause Microsoft to suddenly see something they owned get snatched from their hands if they don’t quickly change their ways.

Here’s how it is happening:

1)   Windows 7 Starter Edition:  OEMs are putting out Tablets with Windows 7 Starter Edition for one reason only: cost.  Tablet and Touch bits should be included in EVERY Windows edition Microsoft sells. They should not miss a single opportunity to show-case Tablet functionality. They should make it easy for OEMs to build low-cost machines around Tablet functionality. The days of Tablet being a premium offering are long gone.

2)   Microsoft Courier: I’m a firm believer that Courier exists. I have no proof to back that up except that everything we’ve seen has Ken Hinckley, InkSeine, and Codedex written all over it.  Instead of letting Google Android and Apple iSlate dominate the news cycles, Microsoft should be talking up Courier every chance it gets. Show it to your MVPs, demo it in a press conference, showcase the need for Courier. Instead, Courier remains as secretive as an iSlate. As far as the public is concerned, Microsoft isn’t doing anything Tablet related. After January 26, Apple will have invented Tablet. Is that what Microsoft wants?

3)   Touch: the Windows 7 launch was supposed to be all about touch computing, showing off lots of different platforms and use-cases. Instead, the launch turned out to be a contest about how little  Microsoft and its’ partners could talk about touch. Is this because of a problem in the digitizer ecosystem or is it something else? Don’t let Windows 8 be the next time we hear about Tablet and Touch.  You will have lost the market opportunity by then. Microsoft, don’t do to Tablet what you did to Windows Mobile. You may not recover.

4)   Origami: The Year of Tablet is really an affirmation of what Microsoft layed out for Origami back in 2006. That kind of foresight shows leadership and vision and should be talked about and built upon; instead, Microsoft isn’t saying anything.

5)   OEMs: Haven’t Motion Computing, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, and TabletKiosk been leading the way in the Tablet PC space for the past six years? Haven’t they been selling compelling slate solutions to schools, businesses, and hospitals?  You certainly wouldn’t know it from any of their marketing pieces of late. In fact, they’ve been almost non-existent the past six months. Where are Motion’s consumer-based $500 slate solutions? Can you say LS800??? Motion, you certainly know how to design a winning slate,  how about showing Michael Arrington and that JooJoo dude how it is really done?

HP, all you have to do is reintroduce the TC1100 with an Atom processor and the world will go crazy, causing some to mistake it for the iSlate. You’ve got the designers – put them to work.

Dell – don’t even get me started…

Microsoft – what are you doing to help your OEM partners capitalize on this momentum?

6)   ISVs:  Based on what I’m not reading on Twitter or GottaBeMobile, the ISV space is virtually non-existent. Do you really think Android on a Tablet is going to be successful? Have you seen the demos? They are abysmal. Where’s your great design work, demos of multi-touch apps, magazine reading, book reading, inking in a tablet planner, and so on.  Are you ready to see Apple take ownership of a space that you could really own – taking 30% of your revenue?

Microsoft, what are you doing to help your ISVs capitalize on this momentum? How about helping Amazon make the Kindle on the PC a great touch and tablet app rather than just an ok experience? That app screams for ink markup – where is it? Showcase why Kindle on a Tablet PC will be better than Kindle on an iSlate…

Microsoft, OEMs and ISVs: you’ve owned the tablet space for the past six years. Certainly, costs and other issues made Tablet a challenging solution for many consumers early in the game. That’s behind us now. You’ve got Windows 7 and a very compelling story to tell. Tablet is happening today and it has the masses talking and wanting to buy. Act like the experts you are and dominate the news cycles by introducing compelling solutions, and showing off ink and touch.

Don’t let Apple steal what you birthed and raised. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing the past six months, though, you’ll look back dumbfounded about what was snatched from your hands. Doctors, students, and every day folk are all carrying iPhones, iPod Touches, and Android devices. If you are not careful, they’ll all be carrying Android Tablets and iSlates, next. Is that what you want?

Don’t let 2010 be defined as the year Microsoft lost Tablet.



  1. Clavain

    12/31/2009 at 4:57 am

    Hear, hear,
    Couldn’t agree with you more.
    I have been working with MS systems since 1995 in a professional role and sometimes it is very frustrating being a MS junkie. How can it be that a hardware company like HTC has to write its own interface for windows mobile? Why didn’t the OS company (Microsoft) do this? Windows 7 is just brill’ so lets have some more software to be happy about.
    But getting back to tablet, you are right! Next year it will be apple who invented the slate!


  2. Gavin Miller

    12/31/2009 at 5:28 am

    Nice seeing a blog post from you on here Rob. The site is suffering from a lack of ‘Opinion’ posts like you with only Warner keeping the old school feel. Not wishing to

  3. klucon2

    12/31/2009 at 5:41 am

    I agree as well!! Tablets are the future of computing and because Microsoft was one of the first to go in this direct, it is sad to see, that they didn’t really pursuit this interaction method. Windows 7 has a lot to offer for touch input, but in comparison to how long Microsoft has known about touch and its capabilitys(inkseine, origami experience, surface,…), the touch-experience with Win7 should be so much more. By this time, Win7 should be more trimmed to touch, but unfortunately it still too much a point and click OS.

  4. Steppenwolf

    12/31/2009 at 5:56 am

    TC1100 -> Atom


  5. zenpilgrim

    12/31/2009 at 6:04 am

    Nice to see someone finally say what needs to be said. I have been a Tablet PC user from the mid-90’s starting with a Grid then Fujitsu, then HP. I have always felt that they were the form for the future. My problem wasn’t the hardware or the operating system, it was getting my users and my bosses to make the initial steps toward acceptance of the tablet. Having talked to other early adopters, this lack of acceptance in the corporate world burned Microsoft and may explain the silence around Courier.

    Much like Apple didn’t invent the small, portable mp3 player, the general public has no memory before the roll-out date of the ipod. I am afraid this may be the fate of the tablet as well.

  6. mr pair of dimes

    12/31/2009 at 7:25 am

    2010 may be the year Apple and Google knock MS off its legs.

  7. Raon

    12/31/2009 at 7:45 am

    Hear hear.

    I’m using Win7 on LS800, Fujitsu u810, TX2530 etc etc. All these devices need is a refresh and we have the experience now that we expected when we bought them.

    Update the LS800 – YES!
    Update the TC1100 – YES!

    Bored of cheap chinese ‘tablets’ running WinCE!? Bored of Apple ‘tablet’ hype, I want a Courier!

  8. Warner Crocker

    12/31/2009 at 7:53 am

    Well said Rob.

  9. Kevin Purcell

    12/31/2009 at 8:03 am

    One word describes Microsoft’s abilities to effectively self-promote. Feckless!! They act like they don’t need to because all they have is gold. And so like you say the world will let Apple have the tablet and in the mind’s share the two will go together and no one will care that Bill Gates and MS were the real pioneers. And I can’t really get that upset over it either.

  10. ChrisRS

    12/31/2009 at 9:42 am

    I have been using an ACER 3?? then Gateway 14 inch convertables for years as my main PC, including AutoCAD. I would prefer a slate to these convertables, but slates are “considered” to be scecialized, are underpowered for my use, and have a considerable price premium.

    MS and most of the manufacturers have not seen the TabletPC as a consumer or general business computer for years. (Acer and Gateway being the exception, with options for dedicated graphics, large screen and reasonable price premium. I think the MS price premium for the TabletPC bits drove Acer – Gateway out of the market. It seems they will be reentering with a samll low end device.)

    The ability to see/use a TabletPC prior to purchase has not improved. This will have to cahnge when the Apple device becomes available everywhere.

    I have no use for the media consumption device that I think that Apple will produce. Even a 12-inch screen is samller that I would want.

  11. ChrisRS

    12/31/2009 at 9:56 am

    Apple may make 2010 the “Year of the Tablet” but it remains to be seen if it is teh year of the TabletPC. The Apple device appears to be more of a browsing and media consumption device than a fully feature computer. A TabletPC can be a desktop replacement. Can an Apple whatever say the same?

    Depending on what Apple releases, the name TabletPC may need to change.

    MS and the PC manufacturers will have to react quickly and show that whatever they produce is a super set of the Apple device. Quickly is weeks not months. Perhaps they are laying in wait, but I don’t think so.

  12. Gavin Miller

    12/31/2009 at 10:13 am

    Ooooooops, let me finish my post! Doh.

    It’s posts like this one that are what GBM used to be and should be all about! There’s plenty ‘news’ sites but where GBM grew from was the great opinions and views.

    As regards Tablets, sigh, you’ve summed it up Rob and those of us who have used them for many years feel your pain. However, I think a lot of the current interest is due to the great growth in ‘content consumption’ on the Net over the past few years, where interacting with a screen makes a lot of sense and is a convenient method of doing so.

    For business however, I think the tablet will remain a niche product, unless that is someone produces a killer ebook device…….instant on, superslim with fast smooth inking plus capacitive functionality and Onenote/Evernote built in.

  13. Loren Heiny

    12/31/2009 at 10:14 am

    @ChrisRS, we may be at the point where the need for a “desktop replacement” is not what people really need. Imagine for an instant that you could actually carry your desktop with you all the time. Make it small enough, enough battery power, etc.

    Now let’s say someone tells you some important date or time you need to set an alarm for. Without Outlook can you do this easily? There’s a clock sitting right there in the system tray. Or what if you want to take a picture of some product for reference later. What Win7 app do you use? 3rd party I guess? Which one? How do you download? Connect? Or let’s say you use your “desktop OS” while driving…oh, no GPS. Hmmm.

    This overly silly set of examples points out something I’ve come to appretiate: The desktop OS is loaded with so much stationary legacy that it’s not the place to start anymore for small devices–especially resource limited ones that are meant to be moved. I’m not even convinced that coming up from an “embedded OS” is the way to go either. A connected OS makes more sense to me–but that may be because I’m so biased with smartphones.

    Anyway, start with a great OS, offering a great developer platform, and I think that’s good enough. The day of “I can’t run Photoshop on X or Y or Z, so forget it,” I think is fading away. The web is contributing to this as smartphones are too.

    Beyond this, I agree with your other points, and I’m guessing that no one is sitting still in terms of creating an Apple slate alternative. Whether they guess right? We’ll see…

  14. Ed Holloway

    12/31/2009 at 11:44 am

    Great Post, Rob. (Good to see you back)


  15. GoodThings2Life

    12/31/2009 at 11:49 am

    Very well stated, Rob! I’m not sure what I can add beyond what you and some of the other commenters have said.

    I’m a huge fan of tablets, but if I have to sit and watch as Apple and Google step in and steal the spotlight again, I may actually shed some digital tears.

  16. harv

    12/31/2009 at 11:57 am


    Good to hear from you. Happy new Year. Hope all is well with you and “the fam”.
    As expected you said everything everyone who has been a tablet pc owner since 2001 has been thinking all year long -where the heck is Microsoft? But I would extend the issue and include all the usual suspects – as you did -where is HP, Fujitsu, Motion, Lenovo, and yes, even Dell? Why haven’t they all for all the good reason you note, come forward to say “YES, WE HAVE THAT!
    I have to wonder if they all aren’t simply terrified by the lousy economy to put their neck on the line and actually market something.

  17. Sumocat

    12/31/2009 at 12:01 pm

    Great editorial to end the year, Rob. I just wonder if you’re not a year too late. Reading the news these past few months, it’s like Tablets never even existed before the Apple rumors.

  18. ramfrancisuk

    12/31/2009 at 12:50 pm

    If Apple does launch the iSlate in 2010, maybe this is exactly what the Tablet PC needs to launch it into the mainstream. Apple OS on a Tablet may well be what is need kickstart this segment of the market and SFF. Nice to see Rob back on Gottabemobile, his commentary has been missed.

  19. Paul Harrigan

    12/31/2009 at 12:54 pm

    Good to have you back for this, Rob.

    You are exactly right!

    Personally, I think this is because BillG stepped back from the company. He was a visionary — right sometimes, wrong others, but his vision drove the company. Now, you can see visionary work in the MS Labs but it almost never makes it into common use. Surface is a good example. It’s a game-changing concept, but it has been reduced to a few game tables in casinos.

    I think MS still could steal the show once it knows what Apple is doing, but there is no indication that it has any intention of doing so. Instead, there probably will be an “afterthought” product like the Zune — workmanlike and better if one pays attention solely to the features chart — as no one is pushing a vision of where MS goes with these things.

  20. Andrew

    12/31/2009 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve been using a tablet to replace my work computer for the past 5 years. I love it as I need to take a lot of notes. I also develop some web software. I’ve been waiting to MS to make ink on the web a reality. I had my hopes for Silverlight. I’m disappointed that MS doesn’t put some more effort into making ink with Silverlight more mainstream. Without the ink and touch applications, really what is the point of a tablet? Support for ink developers is pretty much zero imnho. Too bad…

  21. Amitai Rosenberg

    12/31/2009 at 3:04 pm

    Hear, hear!
    Awesome article!
    I agree wholeheartedly.
    I also think that Microsoft/OEMs are going the wrong way with Windows 7 Starter.
    Really great to see an article from you, Rob. Brings back good memories… :)

  22. ninetynine

    12/31/2009 at 4:31 pm

    “After January 26, Apple will have invented Tablet.”

    A great statement. This is exactly what Apple has been doing as of late, it seems everyone else is just waiting for them to set the standard.

  23. HG

    12/31/2009 at 7:20 pm

    Rob, I don’t think I could say it any better. I have been using tablets myself for my job since the HP TC as well. Like Rob mention if HP released a TC1100 with a CULV SU2300, and would be much thinner this would be a seller. I have gone through several Tablets, but now there isn’t much choices for tablets. Now I am back to using a Netbook but a tablet with a 11.6″ would be something I would buy for my job. I also get by with my job using the Archos 5 IT with BT keyboard, and BT mouse works great for those simple task that don’t require a Windows application. :) This is great to see Rob post this write up at GBM, I remember the days when Denis, and the rest where here at the site.

  24. James Kendrick

    01/01/2010 at 10:58 am

    Rob, very well said and the aggravating thing is that this editorial could have appeared every year for the past 6 years. Nothing changes in the tablet space as far as Microsoft is concerned, except the fact that it is no longer a valid product line, just a “feature”.

    The sad fact is that without even a product on the market, Apple has already stolen the tablet concept. Game over.

  25. Larry

    01/01/2010 at 2:23 pm

    I love my TC1100, underpowered as it is, etc. I was able to buy it at about half price when it was discontinued and our local CompUSA decided to dump what they had. I had lusted after one after someone sitting next to me at a meeting took notes on his. It made so much sense. Given the price at that time, I never thought I could own one.

    Microsoft is not an innovator. In all these years, they (and Intel) have not changed the basic PC architecture which invites viruses of all types to read or write anyplace in memory or on the hard disk that they like. Their replication of the initial IBM PC architecture over the years has been profitable for them, and users have not demanded anything else despite the loss of productivity they have suffered because of it. But as Apple demonstrates with their current models, and with the iPhone, they are willing to innovate.

    If they go Tablet, then it will have the best chance of succeeding.

    A rejuvinated Tablet market would give Kindle and its ilk a run for Amazon’s money. Although the TC1100 is not ideal for reading, I prefer it to my PC screen. Also, of course, it goes where I go, eats what I eat, etc. The combination of the TC1100 and the New York Times Reader can’t be beat for news, IMHO.

    These days the TC1100 is so rare that I am constantly approached by people who see me using it at meetings or as I refer to it while giving testimony at the state legislature. I have to tell them, “sorry,” they aren’t made any more. “Don’t you miss a keyboard?” “I have one that I can attach if I want.” “How much is it, where can I get one?” And there the conversation stops.

    More power to Apple if they come out with something that can restore interest in these fine machines. The iPhone is actually a new paradigm, let’s see what they can do with an idea that is beyond Microsoft’s ability to innovate so far.

    If a market develops and HP sees the $$$ signs, perhaps the TC1100 might be reborn. At least, I can dream. Go Apple!

  26. Mickey Segal

    01/01/2010 at 8:13 pm

    Nothing crystallizes the situation better that what happens when you walk into an Apple store with a Motion LS800. Everyone goes wild over it, and it is technology that is several years old without Apple’s style.

    All Apple has to do is do the same using its flair and fill the niche that Motion could have done years ago. To the degree that Apple cripples the computer but banning Flash and Java it will be a limited machine. To the degree that Apple fails to build in docking it will be a limited machine. Hopefully Apple will avoid these pitfalls, though history suggests it will make these mistakes, giving it a temporary advantage and losing the longer-run game to others.

    If Apple produces a computer that you can put in a big pocket or purse and dock at your desktop, Apple will have indeed invented the Tablet by reinventing the LS800, only better and with more flair, and more understanding of the use case.

  27. Osiris

    01/02/2010 at 8:50 am

    Great article Rob unfortunately I dont think Microsoft have learnt all the lessons they should have from the Windows Mobile fiasco or the whole tablet experience over the last several years.

    They let Apple steal the thunder with their iphone platform and the same trends have emerged now in this sphere of netbooks, touchbooks and the like. Apples going to release a tablet this year and look like the leaders in forward technology and those of us who have been using the tech for years are going to be sitting here beating our heads on the desk as our collegues with iSlates try and comprehend theirs Windows Tablets?

    It boogles my mind that with all the resources and talent at Mirosoft these trends keep slipping them by, do they have no interest in developing other markets beyond Windows/Office/Server.

  28. Osiris

    01/02/2010 at 9:06 am

    Actually just a thought ill give MS credit for being proactive with their surface technology. One wonders if they decided personal touch devices were a waste of time so just decided to go right for the future which will invariable be surface based (desk computing) etc.

  29. ChrisRS

    01/03/2010 at 12:29 pm

    @Loren Heiny, The way I work, I want a “desktop replacement” with tablet capabilities. I would mostly from my office or home and like the tablet capabilities for AutoCAD, Office programs, etc. I VPN in to the office server from home or the ocasional hotel/hotspot when I infrequently travel. I use transportability more that mobility. I am rarely in a location where power is not available.

    Using Outlook cached mode I have my contact and calander with me at all times. I have not invested in a mifi yet but that would give me pretty much 24/7 connectivity to to my office (work) and the web (mostly fun).

    There are times when I use a digital camera; It would be nice to have photos saved to the computer automatically. What I app would I use?. I have no idea. The better question is what camera would I use? Is 1 mega pixal good enough? 3? 5? 7?. What would you build into a tablet, and at what cost?

    FOr me, GPS is a like to have, not need to have. When it becomes so inxpensive that manufactures automatically build them into a tablet I will make use of it. Until then it is a non issue for me.

    You said “The desktop OS is loaded with so much stationary legacy that it’s not the place to start anymore for small devices-especially resource limited ones that are meant to be moved…” I absolutly agree. Would I like a small resource limited device? You bet – as a companion to a desktop and/or portable TabletPC and only at a very low price. Perhaps I am just a niche user.

    A small low powered easy device will probasbly be great, but it does not eliminate my desire for a larger more powerful device. To each his own. It would be nice to have easch available in the market place.

    (It looks like you are in the Phoeinx area. Me to. Perhaps we can dicuss it over a cup of cofee/beer sometime.)

  30. Randall Lind

    01/04/2010 at 9:51 am

    Nobody wants them. They failed big time. The only way Apple will win is if they reinvented what a tablet is (concept) as far as Windows been there done that and it failed big time.

  31. RandySpangler

    01/04/2010 at 9:58 am

    I hear you brother. Rob, all you need is a long beard, sackcloth and ashes. You are screaming in the wilderness.

    But… if you scream in the wilderness and no one is there to hear you, did you actually make a sound?

    I am resigned to the fact that MS is not listening, is clueless or it is so bound up in bureaucracy that they could NEVER get anything new to market.

    So, I predict that Apple will own the tablet space just like they own the PMP space. To quote Metallica, “Sad but true…”

  32. MS Lover

    01/04/2010 at 2:15 pm

    Please let 2010 be defined as the year Microsoft lost Tablet. Please let 2010 be defined as the year Microsoft lost Tablet!

    Who wants crap tablets? Please let 2010 be the year Microsoft drops its insane consumer dreams and go back to what really matters!

  33. Kevin G

    01/04/2010 at 5:52 pm

    Hey Rob good to see you back!

    I think 2010 is going to be the year of the tablet and as others have said it’s going to be Apple taking the cake. IMHO, where MS missed and where Apple will have a home run is simple….CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT.

    MS has had the hardware for years, but the third party software support is juvenile at best. Apple will do what they always do which is introduce hardware that for us current tablet users will seem crippled. Hardware we take for granted will be absent from the iSlate, but for the average consumer it won’t missed. Apple will back up the device with unique software features and third party content. Who knows for sure what that will be, but you can be sure content providers will be scrabling to get their wares on it. Unlike MS and tablets the iSlate won’t be left on the back burner.

  34. Scott

    01/04/2010 at 10:19 pm

    Apple may win the content consumption race, but I want a device that I can create content with. That means a digital pen and touch.

    I think it would be great fun over the next few days for slate owners to put an Apple decal on their tablets and hang out at a coffee shop. Just tell them you’re running windows 7 (or XP/Vista) with boot camp

  35. Tim Acheson

    01/05/2010 at 7:15 am

    This is an insightful analysis, and it’s true — Microsoft still has a lot to learn from trendy rivals like Apple and Google about promoting the awesome work they do.

  36. fn dobbs

    01/05/2010 at 10:38 am

    Adoption will be based largely on form factor. A TC1100 size device which is no more than 1/4 inch thick is what is required-said differently,the size of a brand new notepad. MS has failed not because the software isn’t good (because it’s great) but because it has relied on hardware partners who are developing for vertical markets and niche users. Apple is chasing the broad consumer market. If it doesn’t provide an active digitizer and stylus experience but relies solely on touch, i believe it too will be a niche product.

    Iphone functionality plus windows journal/one note in a 8×11 1/4 inch form factor actually will change the world.

    The operating system will cease to be relevant if Apple’s product is a breakthrough.

  37. Lorie Ghamy

    01/07/2010 at 8:54 am

    2 HP Tablet = 1 Apple Tablets (maybe) 500 $ VS 1000 $*

    HP Tablet =

    Windows 7


    Inking (Journal, IkSeine, PDF Annotator, Pencil (2D cartoon), Ebook annotation, ArtRage….)

    EBook fiendly

    Plenty of games, many free…

    OSX (Hackintosh)


    For sure, Apple is the winner with the invisible tablet…

    Wait and see…

    * Wall Street Journal

  38. Dennis Rice

    01/07/2010 at 10:35 am

    Sigh …. Now that is just like old times Rob. Very nice read on things my friend.

    In my opinion, the best initial product Tablet had way back when, was the first stab taken at the TC1000 (Compaq branded no less). Rob and I both eagerly bought a TC1000, and the conception of the idea for was born. It got better with the TC1100 (which by the way my wife still curls up with every day for many activities). In all our years as Microsoft Tablet MVP’s, we saw so many devices, but none came close to the collection of features the TC series had.

    Then it was gone. Poof. An incredible design, which did not make it because the R&D department at HP was short sighted.Now to see HP back in the arena begs the question, “Will HP hang in there and make this thing excel?”

    I hope so.

  39. everbrave

    01/08/2010 at 6:29 am

    I bought my TC1100 as a replacement of an Apple Newton 2100 which was killed by Steve himself, shortly after returning to Apple!

    I used my Newton(s) (three generations of them) on regular basis for almost everything (note taking to multi-criterial decision support, project management, contact management, email, etc.). It was not a multi-media device (early generation of ARM CPU) but a productivity device.

    The TC1100 was so nicely designed that it looked like made by Apple.
    The OS and application support was, however, far beyond the Newton, but I had no real alternatives. I still prefer using my TC1100 over all tablets I have incl. the Dell XT.
    The tablet paradgima started to slowly fade-away as the slate form gradually came under pressure by laptops with a hinged display, the so called convertibles, i.e. the “cannot decide what I am”!
    This happened because most people were more productive using the keyboard, since the OS and applications did not really seriously support the tablet user.

    As for Apple vs. MS, it is well known that Apple while Apple computers offer less features, they do the important things very well. Apple won and will continue to win users through a better user-computer interaction. They are also in better position than MS since they build OS and apps for their own HW, while MS has to do that for “almost every” HW.

    It is about the holistic design of the computer and not the features, Apple used to be better at that than MS+OEMs.

    To conclude, MS did not invent the tablet and, in my opinion, it never really supported the tablet form seriously enough to loose it in 2010.

  40. Cacinok

    01/12/2010 at 11:12 am

    well said rob. looking at the “tablet” offerings from CES, it appears that manufacturers are moving away from the idea of a tablet as a utilitarian device (i.e., full blown computer) and now market it as an entertainment device. nothing more than an enhanced, multimedia, kindle, if you will.

  41. Manfred 'Big Max' KURTH

    01/13/2010 at 5:01 am

    Hi Rob,
    I’m an enthusiast of marine elektronic navigation on mobile devices in Germany since 1994 and I’m watching the annual CES event and others via the Internet.
    Since the netbooks hit the market we leisure skippers can own low cost equipment for navigation instead of one of the numberous moon priced chart plotters.
    Convertible tablets are brilliant to use e.g. for navigation purposes, but far too expensive, so I was longing for low cost tablets similar to a netbook. CES 2010 and the rumors before made me hoping for a breakthrough in affordable tablets/slates. But Android software is useless for marine navigation – all naval applications are written for Windows.
    After closing of CES 2010 I was highly disappointed about Microsoft, that they’re loosing the market to Android and that my expectations for an economically priced Windows tablet/slate is going down the drain.
    Let’s hope, that Steve Ballmer isn’t too ignorant of what his clients wish, but he should listen to his MVPs at least.
    Thanks for your article, proving that I’m not alone with my irritated thoughts.
    I hope, that I could express myself in the right way and you could read what I’ve meant, while English is not my native language.

    Fair Winds

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