Reports from our sister publication PC Advisor (UK) suggest that Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer will open the annual Consumer Electronics show with a “slew” of new tablets running on a new operating system, Windows 8.
It just seems a bad idea — IMHO — in so many ways to try to put a desktop OS on a tablet. Notice I didn't say. “tablet PC.” That ship has sailed; the tablet isn't a PC anymore.
The first generation of tablets, four or five years ago, were PCs, hence the prevalence of heavy, awkward convertibles with hinged keyboards that did neither slate not laptop well. (I still meet people who swear by their old convertibles, but they're few and far between.)
Fast forward to CES 2010, with Ballmer declaring The Year of the Tablet. But few of the previewed tablets saw the light of day. One that did, though, was Apple Inc.'s iPad, running essentially an adapted smart phone operating system. Within a few months, more tablets were hitting the market. But they were based on Google Inc.'s Adroid operating system, another mobile phone OS.
In fact, Android-based tablets might soon be the norm, with a thriving off-the-radar white-box market of tabs from as many as 50 manufacturers, according to ABI Research.
But my real objection is that, finally, Microsoft has a credible mobile operating system in Windows Phone 7 that would rock a tablet. It's a remarkably intuitive experience — important in the tablet market, where Steve Jobs dared to bandy the word “magical” — combined with what's been described as the best mobile integration of Microsoft's Office products ever. (Well, of course …)
Somebody hasn't read Ray Ozzie's memo about the perils of the post-PC world.