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Author Topic: Rumor: Microsoft Is Also Developing a Touchscreen Tablet  (Read 902 times)
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« on: September 22, 2009, 06:29:27 PM »

Like Apple, Microsoft is rumored to be working on a
touchscreen tablet. Hopefully it won't resemble this earlier effort.

Like Apple, Microsoft is developing on a touchscreen tablet, several sources say.

CoM has heard rumors that Microsoft has a touchscreen tablet in the works. 9to5Mac is reporting that Microsoft is working on a tablet (and two touchscreen phones to compete with the iPhone).

Mary-Jo Foley at ZDNet has some details: Microsoft’s tablet effort is being led by James Allard, the Microsoft executive in charge of the XBox and Zune, and members of Microsoft’s Surface team, Foley reports.

At Microsoft, Allard has earned a reputation for building better than average interfaces. Both the Zune and the Xbox have been praised for the visual flair of their interfaces, but under the hood, they’re generally the same old Microsoft. The secret to making a great tablet will the ease of use. As Apple has demonstrated with the iPhone, it’s not a question of grafting some big touch-friendly buttons on top of an interface designed for a mouse and keyboard. The whole interaction model has to be rethought for finger controls. Adding touch-friendly buttons to Windows 7 will not cut it.

If Microsoft is working on a tablet, it joins half-a-dozen other companies working on similar devices.

Apple, of course, is rumored to be working on a touchscreen tablet that is likely to be introduced early next year.

Mike Arrington of TechCrunch is developing a tablet with Singapore start-up Fusion Garage, which was promised to be introduced this year.  Dell and Intel are reportedly working on a touchscreen device to launch early next year, and Nokia and HTC are also said to be working on tablets. Market research firm Display Search projects the touchscreen market will triple in the next few years, from $3.6 billion to $9 billion.

Unfortunately, no one has specs for the device, launch date or pricing. And it’s not known whether it will be made by Microsoft, like the XBox or Zune, or a reference device licensed to third-party hardware makers.

Foley notes that Microsoft is looking to generally exit the hardware business. In future, the company will work closely with a select group of hardware manufacturers, trying to ensure tighter integration between hardware and software.

Tight vertical integration has been one of the secrets of Apple’s success.


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