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Summary:

In spite of the fact that the tech world is anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the tablet, they’ve been around quite a long time. The most fascinating mythical tablet was rolled out on stage by none other than Bill Gates, way back in 2005. Sadly, the […]

winhec_tabletpc2_01_hq

Gates demonstrating Haiku mockup, WinHEC 2005

In spite of the fact that the tech world is anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the tablet, they’ve been around quite a long time. The most fascinating mythical tablet was rolled out on stage by none other than Bill Gates, way back in 2005. Sadly, the Haiku mockup was ahead of its time, as the hardware technology was not ready for what was a very compelling tablet device. The 6-inch screen of the Haiku was large enough to yield a decent screen’s worth of information, yet still small enough to fit in Gates’ hand. The mockup of the Haiku was also as thin as can be, and the front of the device was simple and not distracting to the task at hand. Or in hand.

It’s too bad that Microsoft no longer has the video online of Gates’ demonstration, it was the forebear of things to come. Too bad the things to come will not be from Microsoft as Mr. Gates intended. Of course, tablets running a desktop OS like Windows have their shortcomings, so maybe this is actually a good thing.

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  1. GoodThings2Life Friday, January 22, 2010

    “Of course, tablets running a desktop OS like Windows have their shortcomings, so maybe this is actually a good thing.”

    Umm, exactly what shortcomings are those? I carry my 2730p around with me everywhere at work and while I’d appreciate longer battery life or a slightly lighter footprint now and again, I couldn’t be happier, and I really can’t think of a shortcoming at all…

    1. An interface designed for a desktop with mouse control is not optimized for touch and pen usage. That’s been a long-time complaint, even from tablet enthusiasts like myself. Sure it works, but it could be so much better.

      1. To be fair, it could also be so much worse. I don’t see the point of having a computer with me if I lose the option of using it to perform computing tasks. Most of the slate talk that’s wafting around at the moment is describing an entertainment device rather than a tablet PC. Touch has its place but it’s usually at the expense of more powerful input devices.

        Having said all that, the first thing I thought of when I saw the HP slate that Ballmer revealed at CES was the Haiku prop.

  2. While I have no problems with windows itself, I dont think that its all that pratical for a device that focuses on touch input.

    Heres my reasoning behind this. When I use a desktop operating system I feel as though I want to use all of my applications, the problem with alot of the applications for windows is that they are not optimized for touch. Hence, if I’m using a touch device I want the applications (as well as the gui) to be designed from the ground up to be touch optimized.

    Basically if i can’t use my apps I don’t see the point in using such a cumbersome (compared to android / iPhone os)os as windows.

    I would also like people to bear in mind that while I highly doubt whatever apple will announce at the end of the month will be productivity focused, you can optimize/create an os for touch, and still include productivity features. It just has’nt happened yet.

    1. “…you can optimize/create an os for touch, and still include productivity features…”

      I’m not convinced that this is true. Productivity is naturally restricted with touch because you’re forced to obscure the UI you are interacting with each time you move your hand to touch the screen. Added to that is the fact that UI elements have to be bigger to make them touch friendly and, as a result, you’ve got a lot less screen space to be productive on.

      A great example of this is Windows Mobile. In the race to make applications more touch-friendly productivity is often abandoned. The much-derided stylus allowed you to quickly, easily and accurately interact with UI elements and work with more on the screen at any time. For instance, Pocket Windows Explorer replacement Resco Explorer was as powerful on a stylus driven Pocket PC as Windows Explorer on the desktop. I use the same application on my HD2 (which doesn’t allow stylus input) and the new touch-friendly version is a lot less productive because it’s harder to select multiple files, quickly navigate folders, work with multiple items quickly and accurately.

      I’m not suggesting that there’s a place for touch interfaces because I think there is. However, I think you would be wrong to assume that all interfaces can be touchified (copyright Jake :)) or that touch naturally leads to increased productivity.

  3. James,

    Bill no longer works for Microsoft.

    Steve’s liver transplant made him confront his personal mortality.

    That kind of thing can make you reflect upon your life and make you think about things.

    How do you know Bill won’t be up there on stage with Steve to introduce the iPad? :-)

  4. If MS is serious about Courier, they should follow Apple’s formula for the iPhone:
    1) make a mobile version of the OS that is optimized to run on an ARM architecture CPU/GPU chipset;
    2) employ a well-regarded product designer;
    3) acquire a device manufacturer such as HTC, Asus, etc.;
    4) release an SDK with UI guidelines;
    5) release one form factor with two or three fixed variants;
    6) create an app store just for that OS;
    7) heavily manage the OS, the browser, and the app store for two years while not screwing anything up.

    IMO, if they stay with their previous model and make everything an add-on to their desktop OS, MS will never put out Courier successfully. A Courier requires complete fluidity of the UI. Avoiding x86 is a way of enclosing the Courier’s OS so that it can remain a relatively contained environment for software development, as well as enhancing security, maximizing battery life, and reducing device size, weight, and cost.

    I guess I’m saying that MS needs a new Windows CE. They can call it Windows CE 7: Courier Edition. So catchy.

    Incidentally, Generation Y seems to be more or less all right with giving up handwriting, I’ve noticed. Typing is fine with them, whether on a hardware or on-screen keyboard.

  5. Is this the same company that can’t make a decent mobile touch interface platform today ? What happen to them, maybe they put all their developers on the Vista fixing project (aka Windows 7) and neglected the mobile OS completely.

    Please there just is no room for x86 in the mobile gadget world, sorry Atom lovers but ARM has opened up a serious can of whoopa** on intel in the mobile space.

    It sure is funny seeing Microsoft and Intel getting squeezed out of the mobile internet marketplace, never thought i would see something like this. Twenty Ten is going to be a very interesting year in mobile tech indeed.

    I am like so giddy for that iSlate i can hardly take it anymore, Wednesday just cannot get hear fast enough.

    ;-)

    1. You’re assuming that Apple will use ARM in their tablet. I think I’ve seen rumours that they might use their own chip and that they might do the same thing with the iPhone.

      1. I think the rumor is that the chipset will be designed by P.A. Semi. But I’m betting it’s actually an ARM architecture CPU and an SGX PowerVR GPU, put together in a way that creates a closed system. In other words, a few of the wires will be swapped around, so that the OS won’t be able to be ported around to other, similar hardware.

  6. Whilst the apple tablet might be a nice toy I would really love to see any one doing some serious work on it! now a days you can watch movies and listen to music or grab email on nearly any device!

    Apple have come a long way but i wouldn’t consider them competition to MS until they release the OS X to the masses!

  7. The sweet spot for me would be a phone with a screen about twice the size of an iPhone, but that would be, as Jake says, pretty much a personal entertainment center on which I could occasionally do work.

    Otherwise, I wouldn’t want to go without all the choices of handwriting, voice, and keyboard input, and something as powerful as OneNote, with most of the options of Outlook and Word. Right now the computer I use almost all day at work is a Samsung Q1UP on which I’ve put Windows 7, and if I don’t have access to the last decade of files (cloud or directly), and all the data they throw at me at work, I’m not interested.

    If it were half the weight, it would be my main ebook reader. It almost is because I do a lot with Project Gutenberg books that I can take notes on in OneNote, and mark up on a screen in my classes. If I can’t do that, and sit in meetings without being able to jot notes, it simply won’t be for me.

  8. LOL That is super funny !

    Microsoft and Tablet was EPIC FAIL.

    The problem with Microsoft is the only thing they do good is COPY someone else. The don’t know how to properly CREATE anything from scratch! This is a example would be exhibit-A . :-P

  9. If only Microsoft knew how to make a tablet. At least they realized their limitations and stopped making that crap.

    Apple is going to show those windows punks how to make a “real” tablet.

    Apple = Tablet Computing DONE RIGHT !

    iSlate uSlate We All Slate after January 27.

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