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Ballmer Promises Windows 7 Slates

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments

Finally... Windows 7 tablet will hit the market just in time for the holidays.

Microsoft head honcho Steve Ballmer confirmed Monday that Windows 7-based tablets will hit the market by the end of the year. He said that nearly a dozen hardware manufacturers are set to launch the devices including Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony (gasp!) and many more. The news was revealed during Ballmer's opening speech at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference taking place in Washington, D.C. this week.

"Over the course of the next several months you will see a range of Windows 7-based slates that I think you'll find quite impressive," he told the audience. "This is a terribly important area for us. We are hardcore about this."

He added that there will be a wide range of devices: some with keyboards, and some without. "They'll be dockable, there will be many form factors, many price points, many sizes," he said. "But they will all run Windows 7. They will run Windows 7 applications. They will run Office."

Outside the five manufacturers listed above, twenty-one additional manufacturers were listed to be working on Windows 7 tablets including Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Panasonic and Pegatron. Although Ballmer revealed an HP slate during the slideshow presentation (and at CES 2010 back in January), currently HP hasn't officially confirmed that the device will ship by the end of the year.

Without a doubt, Microsoft is making its big push in the mobile market in 2010. With Apple's iPad dominating the tablet market and an army of Android-based devices gearing up to fill the second-in-command position, Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do. Ballmer even admitted that the company missed a generation in the smartphone sector, falling behind Apple's iPhone, the Android platform, and RIM's Blackberry platform.

"This year one of the most important things that we will do in the smart device category is really push forward with Windows 7-based slates and Windows 7 phones," Ballmer said. Windows Phone 7 is also slated to hit the market in Q4 2010.

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  • 11 Hide
    mgoblue3296 , July 12, 2010 9:47 PM
    If the iPad didn't exist, it wouldn't be as "terribly important" as Ballmer said.

    I don't get how these would apply for everyday use. Maybe in hospitals a modified, stripped down version could be useful, but as far as an everyday user? It's stuck in the middle ground between smartphone and laptop, and I'll take both of those over a tablet.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , July 12, 2010 9:41 PM
    And I will buy one! Hopefully a Moorestown device.
    Edit: And Hopefully one with with 3/4G support and mobile service. Don't need a smart phone with one of these.
  • 2 Hide
    wing2010 , July 12, 2010 9:42 PM
    By then, Android or Chrome tablets have already flooded the markets, not to mention about the iPad...
  • 2 Hide
    Humans think , July 12, 2010 9:42 PM
    I could easily find my self using Win7 on a slate :p 

    Even if I have to give away speed, responsiveness, and design, the thrill of installing what the hell I want on my device is compelling. Way to go Microsoft (omg i just sounded as a fanboy). I will never purchase a console-class device like an ipad.
  • 11 Hide
    mgoblue3296 , July 12, 2010 9:47 PM
    If the iPad didn't exist, it wouldn't be as "terribly important" as Ballmer said.

    I don't get how these would apply for everyday use. Maybe in hospitals a modified, stripped down version could be useful, but as far as an everyday user? It's stuck in the middle ground between smartphone and laptop, and I'll take both of those over a tablet.
  • -5 Hide
    tokenz , July 12, 2010 9:48 PM
    Little late to the game Ballmer. This should have been done about 5mins after the ipad launch.
  • 2 Hide
    sliem , July 12, 2010 9:49 PM
    A little late? Who cares, as long as it's better than everyone.
  • 2 Hide
    Regulas , July 12, 2010 10:12 PM
    Never in a hundred years unless like a laptop I could wipe the Windows infection off the device and install Android or some other Linux based derivative.
  • 0 Hide
    Marco925 , July 12, 2010 10:18 PM
    Will these slates come with stickers plastered all over them? (including the COA)
  • -6 Hide
    requiemsallure , July 12, 2010 10:22 PM
    maybe im just being picky but, who wants to run office on a tablet? there are many better applications for it. in anycase windows 7 on a tablet is pretty cool, if i liked tablets i would get one.
  • 2 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , July 12, 2010 10:31 PM
    "If the iPad didn't exist, it wouldn't be as "terribly important" as Ballmer said."

    True, but it's market forces that really drive the importance of such things...
  • 4 Hide
    orionantares , July 12, 2010 10:59 PM
    tokenzLittle late to the game Ballmer. This should have been done about 5mins after the ipad launch.


    Late to the game? Windows tablets have exists for at least the last 5 years or more. And if you'd ever used one, you'd know why they'd want to try to get this latest iteration right.

    Here's hoping they release an optimized version of Win7 and not just one of the current desktop versions on these new tablets.
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , July 12, 2010 11:22 PM
    I want a slate that can play hi def video, browse the web (incl. Flash sites), be at least as thin and light as the iPad, have WLAN, WiMAX, 3G, 4G, USB3.0, 40GB SSD and cost less than $300. It doesn't have to use Windows tho.
  • -2 Hide
    hakesterman , July 13, 2010 12:39 AM
    A little late? Who cares, as long as it's better than everyone.

    It won't be better than the Ipad, it's battery life will be half or less of the Ipad, they will weigh anywhere from 50 -150% more , and will be acceptable to many Viruses. There is very little a Microsft based tablet can offer that's not already available in the Ipad. I understand that they want to compete, but they fell a sleep at the wheel again and are over a year behind Apple so it's highly unlikely that they will ever be close to the Ipad in features and Price.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 13, 2010 1:42 AM
    Once the tablets arrive, you have the option of continuing to use WIN7, or put Android X86 or MeeGo on them (both downloadable now)
  • 2 Hide
    scifi9000 , July 13, 2010 1:51 AM
    The i-pad is for ppl who just want stuff ready to go with no thechnical knowledge required, the Windows tablets will be full hands on tech and mods to ur heart's content. Both have a place, though I do believe Apple got it wrong with the screen resolution and the restricted internet display. Other wise, the i-pad is nice.. we'll wait to see what flavours the Windows ones will come in. I am betting Sony will mirror the apple philosophy of stylish design only with higher res wide screen etc
  • 0 Hide
    mdillenbeck , July 13, 2010 2:35 AM
    And unfortunately I bet all these tablets will follow the disturbing trend that is happening in the convertible/slate tablet PC industry - namely the best screen you will be able to get is only WXGA (1280x800).

    Why is that a problem? The whole point to a tablet is to use it in portrait not landscape mode. That means you are really looking at buying an 800x1280 screen.

    Try this - set your computer to SVGA (800x600) resolution and start playing around with your programs. Most programs are horrible at 800 pixel width, and many require 1024 pixel width.

    Adobe products are horrible at 800 pixels wide, many websites are no longer optimized for 800 pixel width (all those side bar ads... oh, and sometimes navigation menus), ArtRage and Corel Painter are designed for greater width, and even office products are not ideal in only 800 pixel width.

    If you think I am nitpicking - it is very unnatural and unstable to hold a tablet in your arm in landscape mode. However, in portrait mode is is more like a pad of paper. Try it - get out a paper notebook, hold it in landscape mode, and start writing away.

    The only thing that really works okay at 800 pixel width in portrait mode is Windows Journal. Not even OneNote (with all its possible side tabs) is ideal for only 800 pixels wide.

    I guess what I am saying is the manufacturers are really missing the mark when they abandoned SVGA+ for WXGA. Sheesh - they could at least of made a tablet with a 14" WSXGA+ screen. Seriously, at $80 for either ArtRage3 or the academic version of Painter 11, laptop makers should bundle these with their tablets and a decent screen resolution and market it to artists: "How do you fit thousand of dollars of art supplies - acrylic and oil paints, conte, charcoals, pencils, pens, watercolors, chalk and oil pastels, ink and calligraphy pens, spray paint, and deco appliques along with canvas, cold pressed paper, handmade paper, rough charcoal papers, and much more - into a small backpack? Simple, buy our 15" WUXGA (1920x1200) artist tablet PC for a mere $2000! Not only will you save money on art supplies and save your back, but you'll never have to deal with nauseating fumes or messy cleanup again! Also great for students to take computer notes in chemistry, physics, or biology - don't use a laptop and a piece of paper, draw right on your screen... and make your professors happy by showing them you are taking notes rather than reading Facebook."

    (BTW - the iPad is the netbook of the Tablet PC market... an underpowered machine that has its uses, but definitely not for a hard-core tablet user who doesn't want to spend $2000 on a 1600x1200 20 pound Cintiq 21UX.)
  • -2 Hide
    dEAne , July 13, 2010 2:45 AM
    At that time too Windows 8 will be around.
  • 0 Hide
    war2k9 , July 13, 2010 3:21 AM
    Windows 7 Slates it has to be better than apple, since m$ get to see what apple ipad is like. I will put my money on google for offering a better tablet than apple and m$.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , July 13, 2010 4:46 AM
    Question is, would the tablets offer phone capabilities?
  • 0 Hide
    m-manla , July 13, 2010 5:05 AM
    I am definetely getting a Windows 7-Based Tablet. I am really leaning towards the Asus Eee Pad, while watching what Sony comes out with. No MaxiPad for me!!!
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