More details are emerging about that Microsoft tablet prototype that we first glimpsed a few days ago. Everything’s still firmly in the rumor category for now, but Gizmodo published a second concept video this morning which definitely gives the impression that the Courier is designed to be a glorified day planner and not necessarily a full-fledged computer. But here’s where things get interesting, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports that a reliable tipster tells her the Courier is actually running Windows 7 under the hood.
You won’t be able to install Windows 7 applications though. The OS will run a custom UI and custom programs designed for use with a touch interface. The idea is that the reason touchscreen Windows tablets haven’t really taken off in the past is because they’re not really made for use as touch devices. They have the right hardware, but they run software that’s designed for a mouse and keyboard with all sorts of toolbars, scrollbars, and drop down menus and so on. They’re not exactly finger-friendly.
If Foley’s source is correct, the Courier could hit the streets in mid-2010.
I’m surprised by all the upset. iPhone and iPod Touch running a distinct version of OSX doesn’t seem to be an issue — well, that’s where Microsoft wants to be. They want an app store too, where people are dying to submit stuff under draconian rules (and where they get a piece of the profits).
Honestly, I can’t believe Ballmer is still running that place. He is worthless. They are dying for want of vision. Everything has to be a damned copy. Microsoft will never be “cool” with this rube at the helm, no matter how desperately he wants to or how much he spends.
> The idea is that the reason touchscreen Windows tablets haven’t really taken off in the past is because they’re not really made for use as touch devices.
This part is true, so I understand why they wouldn’t want people loading up Excel, then concluding that the tablet sucked. Normal desktop apps can’t be your baseline experience on a tablet, because they just don’t work right.
The key question will be what we get in return for giving up stock Windows apps: we know the centerpiece is a variation of OneNote, and that it has a PIM baked in, but beyond that, at the bare minimum you need a desktop-class browser (with Flash), a PDF reader plus some sort of ebook reader, a really nice media player, and at least a couple of games. It also should have an app store and dev tools ready by the ship date so people can start filling in the gaps.
Assuming the dev tools are .Net, hopefully porting many apps will simply be a matter of designing a suitable touch interface.
This seems like a really cool device, but ultimately five things will determine whether it flies: UI (from what I’ve seen, it seems like they’re nailing the experience), price, battery life, weight, and app availability. If they can get these right (or close enough), they could have a winner.
Don’t lose too much interest. The hacking community will be making more useful almost immediately.
Won’t run regular Win 7 applications ? Dagnabit, I’ve just lost 99.9% of my interest in this device.
If you are not able to install W7 applications what exactly can you install? W7, Windows Mobile, Zune, and now an additional platform without integration into any existing infrastructure?
This is becoming more and more an embarrassment for Microsoft.
Comments are closed.