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Bill Gates: Microsoft is Working On 'a Lot of Tablets'

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 29 comments

Despite the fact that the last week has seen two Windows 7 tablets scrapped, Microsoft founder Bill Gates says the company is still working on a tablet project. In fact, Bill says the folks at Redmond are working on 'a lot of different tablet projects.

TechFlash reports that in an interview with Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway lieutenant Charlie Munger for Fox Business Network, Gates reassured people that Microsoft wasn't giving up on tablets. And though it seems to be going out of fashion as of late, Bill also stated that the company believes pen- or stylus-based input methods will become the mainstream for students.

“Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we're pursuing," said Gates. "We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time."

So Microsoft hasn't given up on tablets yet and the company really digs the idea of pen- or stylus-based input, but what do they think of the competition? Bill says Apple is doing a 'great job.' When asked about Apple, Warren Buffet said, "Steve Jobs has done a terrific job. And there will be companies that excel. And occasionally they will excel because of luck, but usually they excel because of brains." Bill is said to have agreed with Buffet saying, "Yes, I think both in general and in the specific, Apple's done a great job."

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  • 14 Hide
    maestintaolius , May 4, 2010 5:36 PM
    gallidornPen or Stylus based tablets???? Is he out of his mind? Maybe he should ask students what they think and they will tell you that a stylus is a hassle and is one more thing you have to worry about misplacing.Hey Bill... Why don't you try to simplify peoples lives for once?

    Are you kidding? Have you ever tried using a finger to take notes in an engineering class or draw with a finger vs a Wacom? Maybe you prefer finger-painting, but I vastly prefer stylus input over touch (and there's fewer fingerprints on the screen afterwords). As far as losing the stylus goes... I have never lost a stylus, it's not like it's that big of responsibility to treat things with some care and pay attention so you don't lose them. I guess if someone still has their mittens pinned to your jacket a stylus ownership could be an issue but I'll continue using a pen/stylus, like a big boy.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    zorky9 , May 4, 2010 4:20 PM
    hope it's not just a bigger version of their upcoming windows 7 mobile, like the iPad's just an oversized iPod touch.

  • 3 Hide
    djtronika , May 4, 2010 4:20 PM
    my finger is always with me. the pen may not always be.
  • -5 Hide
    nforce4max , May 4, 2010 4:23 PM
    Warren Buffett = insider trading and a full time scam artist. This guy like many in his profession are the real deal when it comes to scum bags.

    http://kordellnorton.com/wordpress/?p=42
  • -9 Hide
    Regulas , May 4, 2010 4:27 PM
    zorky9hope it's not just a bigger version of their upcoming windows 7 mobile, like the iPad's just an oversized iPod touch.

    It will be and it will suck.
  • 3 Hide
    killerclick , May 4, 2010 4:31 PM
    I'm waiting for a user interface that will render in my field of vision and work via motion detection. Lose the clunky hardware already, I need my hands for other things!
  • -5 Hide
    gallidorn , May 4, 2010 4:38 PM
    Pen or Stylus based tablets???? Is he out of his mind?

    Maybe he should ask students what they think and they will tell you that a stylus is a hassle and is one more thing you have to worry about misplacing.

    Hey Bill... Why don't you try to simplify peoples lives for once?

  • 1 Hide
    worl , May 4, 2010 4:41 PM
    killerclickI'm waiting for a user interface that will render in my field of vision and work via motion detection. Lose the clunky hardware already, I need my hands for other things!


    While you wait for that I'll be waiting for my nano computer that interface directly with my brain. (my nerd's wet dream)
  • -3 Hide
    ta152h , May 4, 2010 4:44 PM
    There are a lot of problems with this.

    For one, people probably know how unreliable Microsoft was with the X-Box 360, and might pause before considering buying another "computer" from them.

    But, mainly, when you make a computer that's supposed to take advantage of a modern PC, and then try to make it ideal for a tablet, you're going to have compromises somewhere that will probably make it non-competitive with something made specifically for each platform.

    Windows 7 isn't ideal for a tablet, and they won't win if they try to shoehorn it in, while Apple and Google are making more device specific operating systems for their smaller devices. I think they should make it look as much like Windows 7 as possible, so people are comfortable finding things, but the underlying technology has to be a lot smaller and efficient, not just a desktop operating system with minor modifications to run on very, very different hardware.
  • -6 Hide
    reklatsa , May 4, 2010 4:49 PM
    Would they, perchance, be filled with Lysergic acid diethylamide? I swear Ballmer's always on something.
  • 4 Hide
    Bolbi , May 4, 2010 5:07 PM
    "[A] lot of different tablet projects that we're pursuing", but I wonder how many of them will actually be completed and hit the retail market. I suspect that those of us on the outside have no idea how many projects are started and eventually discarded. (Yes, WinFS, I'm looking at you!)
  • 2 Hide
    mavanhel , May 4, 2010 5:08 PM
    I love the idea of bringing back the stylus! As long as it's still a capacitive touch screen, a stylus would be excellent for students to take notes. No one wants to take notes with their finger because fingers are too bulky for writing. I am definitely waiting on Microsoft to release something that I, as a student, will really look forward to.
  • -5 Hide
    babybeluga , May 4, 2010 5:19 PM
    Just for the record, regulas had another one of his comments down-voted to the point of being hidden.
  • 0 Hide
    misry , May 4, 2010 5:26 PM
    worlWhile you wait for that I'll be waiting for my nano computer that interface directly with my brain. (my nerd's wet dream)


    That's just an update of the long proposed RS-232 port at the base of the skull.
  • 14 Hide
    maestintaolius , May 4, 2010 5:36 PM
    gallidornPen or Stylus based tablets???? Is he out of his mind? Maybe he should ask students what they think and they will tell you that a stylus is a hassle and is one more thing you have to worry about misplacing.Hey Bill... Why don't you try to simplify peoples lives for once?

    Are you kidding? Have you ever tried using a finger to take notes in an engineering class or draw with a finger vs a Wacom? Maybe you prefer finger-painting, but I vastly prefer stylus input over touch (and there's fewer fingerprints on the screen afterwords). As far as losing the stylus goes... I have never lost a stylus, it's not like it's that big of responsibility to treat things with some care and pay attention so you don't lose them. I guess if someone still has their mittens pinned to your jacket a stylus ownership could be an issue but I'll continue using a pen/stylus, like a big boy.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , May 4, 2010 6:04 PM
    gallidorn
    as inconvenient as a stylus is, there are plenty of applications where a finger just doesn't get me the fidelity i need, it's the reason why we take notes with pens/pencils and not felt markers

    TA152H
    i'll agree the current hardware limits the functionality of tablet type devices, in fact it probably has been hardware that has been holding back this form factor, but i think every tech head's dream is a fully portable computing platform rather then some light weight cloud based portal device, hopefully the hardware needed for this is not so far off in the distant future (im hoping that bobcat will see the beginning of this trend, oh please let bobcat deliver some of this promise). Other than hardware, the real thing that cripples win7 as a tablet OS is the UI, and although the iPhone gave us swipe and pinch (which implementation wise was hit and miss, i loved the idea but it's not nearly as consistent as it should have been, there were times when i tried to swipe or pinch and it wasn't supported and i was left wondering why not) the iPad really didn't add any much more to the equation, you really need an OS to be touch aware and have this propagated down the app level (think of how the scroll wheel was adopted) swipe and pinch does not make for a complete touch expereince, the iPad is a stop gap solution

    it does make for an interesting future, here's hoping that apple does not kill further development of tablet computing by use of it's closed OS and draconian controls
  • -7 Hide
    belardo , May 4, 2010 6:46 PM
    LOL!!!

    Apple has done in 2 weeks what Gates & Microsoft has been trying to do for almost 10 years! Make a usable tablet computer!

    As we know... MS is most likely going to push Win7-Mobile for non-Apple tablets. Rather than a full blown Win7 OS.

    Apple wins with iPad. But still loses in the Police raid of Gizmodo.
  • 3 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , May 4, 2010 7:03 PM
    Quote:
    "We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time."


    Yes, yes, thank you Microsoft. I've been saying this ever since people started discussing tablet pc's. To truly be able to create anything worthwhile and with real ease on a tablet you need a pen or stylus, preferably with Wacom like pressure sensitivity and MS's handwriting recognition. These few things combined would allow any tablet with them to stream ahead of anything else for people who are creative, or have a need to make and not just consume content.

    If you think putting windows 7 on to a tablet is shoehorning, just have a better look at soft keyboards... why are we trying to keep keyboard like input on something which isn't designed to have a keyboard? writing on it like you do in a notepad (the paper type) would be much more comfortable and natural.
  • -3 Hide
    sonyawiley , May 4, 2010 7:12 PM
    I love you and don't ever go away, ever,
    The world needs the greatest HEROES of all time to save us.

    Sonya 'aka' The liberty
  • 3 Hide
    cablechewer , May 4, 2010 7:20 PM
    As someone who has to cart binders that are anywhere from 3-10 inches thick on business trips to do training a tablet with a stylus would be fantastic for all those notes in the margins where I summarize the source material or put value-add notes to share with a class. I don't see any way a finger could to the same thing on a modestly sized tablet. Show me a stylus based tablet that can also use fingers for basic navigation and other 'blunt' tasks (highlighting?) and I will happily save a ton of trees (and my back) from the binders.
  • 3 Hide
    Kelavarus , May 4, 2010 7:26 PM
    BelardoLOL!!!Apple has done in 2 weeks what Gates & Microsoft has been trying to do for almost 10 years! Make a usable tablet computer!As we know... MS is most likely going to push Win7-Mobile for non-Apple tablets. Rather than a full blown Win7 OS.Apple wins with iPad. But still loses in the Police raid of Gizmodo.


    Don't be a fool. The point is that Microsoft are attempting to do a Stylus-based input method. Which I personally, and obviously a few people above, agree with. Taking notes with your finger just doesn't work that well. Might as well text yourself notes.

    Apple took a phone and gave it a bigger screen. Big deal. Microsoft is actually trying to make an intuitive new system.
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