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Pull up a stool, Microsoft



Last week, I started a conversation on battery life and Vista. We piqued a lot of talk around the tubes from my “Wow” article and the battery conversation article. One Microsoft employee, Brandon Paddock, even joined in on the conversation. also picked up on my comments and that article geneated a tremendous amount of conversation, too. GBM forum members are also asking the same questions I am in regards to the missing WOW factors. Other than Microsoft’s Brandon Paddock, I’ve not seen much of anything in the form of blogs or comments from Microsoft on this issue. I know Microsoft is reading, listening, and watching, I just don’t see much coming from them publicly in the form of comments, suggestions, data they want from us, OEM responsibilities on this issue, service packs, etc.

Its kind of funny, actually. I can picture this panel discussion going on at a conference, where people from all over are talking about battery issues, Vista, etc. Good conversations are occuring on the panel, great ideas batted about, etc. Microsoft walks by, sits down, and starts listening. We see Microsoft in the audience and say “hey, what can we do to get you to help us with this problem that we are having with your software?” Microsoft just sits there, arms folded, and continues to listen. You can see whispers going back and forth between a few of the Microsoft folks, some scribbling on their battery depleted tablet pcs, then they turn around and continue to look at us. Again, we ask “can we talk about this together? What’s going on? Can anyone say ‘Service Pack coming soon’? HELP US!!! ” Again, some stares and puzzling looks. Then the panel continues to talk amongst themselves. Amazing.

Lets keep the battery panel discussion going in hopes that Microsoft will pull up a stool, grab a mic, and join in.

I’ll start. From what folks are saying, Aero appears to be a culprit in this whole saga. Another one appears to be the Vista Sidebar gadget. What does it say when some of the flagship features of the new OS appear to be the cause of many of the complaints from mobile customers and quickly get turned off?  Along those lines, take a look at Motion’s announcement regarding the delay of Vista LE1700 Tablet PCs due to critical Vista errors found during testing. I’m sure battery life is at play in at least some of that, since the pre-production unit I reviewed was coming in at 1 hour 40 minutes. Is Motion waiting until July 31 for a Vista Service Pack? There is something going on here that has more to do than with Aero and Sidebar, I’m afraid.

Check out this interesting test by Loren Heiny. His associate, Bob, ran Vista under on his MacBook Pro under Boot Camp, and then rebooted and ran OS X on the same MacBook in the same usage scenario. The result: OS X: 2:15 minutes. Vista: 1:40 minutes. OS X had a 35% improvement in battery life on the same hardware over Vista. Not a scientific test, for sure, but it sure is telling.

While we continue along the battery conversation path, I’m going to start up another “panel discussion” on the OEM design issue, as I continue to broaden out the “I miss the Wow” topic. In the past week, we’ve seen some good stuff come out from at least one OEM, along with some “blah” stuff from another. I want to talk about and address some of it, as well as point to some interesting comments people are making. Look for another article on the OEM topic in the next day or so. Matt started us off very well asking about dedicated graphics, so be sure to join in there. Someone has already commented about Sony and their unique approach – a switch to go between dedicated and integrated. That is very innovative and exactly the kind of thing mobile professionals are looking for from OEMs.

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