Microsoft not thinking of tablets running Windows Phone 7


With Android seemingly becoming the dominant OS of choice for tablet manufacturers, one has to wonder whether other companies will attempt to compete with Google vying for a piece of the tablet OS pie. We've talked before of HP's potential plans to bring Palm's WebOS to tablets and other mobile devices, and we can't ignore the impending arrival of MeeGo. But one major player who has been keeping relatively quiet recently is Microsoft. While Windows Mobile used to be very popular among Asian tablet manufacturers, the old OS seems to have finally been overtaken by Android. The announcement of Windows Phone 7 was a positive step by the company on the smartphone front, and many presumed it would also be a candidate for tablets and other mobile devices as well. But at a press event in Singapore, CEO Steve Ballmer stated "We're focused on putting Windows Phone 7 in phones, no plans for tablets," adding that the company was targeting the tablet market with Windows 7 rather than Windows Phone 7 in an interview with Fortune.

This is a surprising stance from the company, as Windows 7 is not perfectly suited to a touch-based tablet environment, whereas I think most people would agree that WP7 should be a much better match with its touch-orientated interface and mobile platform hardware requirements. What is uncertain is whether Microsoft is simply concentrating on the smartphone market first, or whether it has already decided to limit WP7 to phones only. I believe Android is a great mobile OS and its success is well deserved, but I would always welcome more competition in the market for the benefit of consumers. Let's hope that Microsoft will consider bringing WP7 or perhaps a variation of it to the tablet and mobile device markets soon after its smartphone debut. What are your thoughts on the tablet OS landscape? Are you happy with Android? Or would you welcome more competition?

[WMExperts via Liliputing]
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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.

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14 thoughts on “Microsoft not thinking of tablets running Windows Phone 7

  • Avatar of Brookespeed

    Good plan. It may seem obvious to push it to tablet devices. But I think they should take things one step at a time. The iPhone OS ecosystem matured for 3 years before the launch of the iPad. They’ve taken their time with Phone 7 so why the rush to push it to other devices before a single phone model even ships? By the time they get the mobile OS to a healthy state and are ready to move to other devices, they’ll have the choice to do that (probably fairly seamlessly) or to see where technology is for standard PC architecture. The Lenovo S10-3T seems to run Windows 7 in a capacitive screen tablet format with the 8 cell battery seems to run at iPad competitive times. Things can only get better (I’m looking at you, Intel). I’d guess it would be 18 months before the Phone 7 OS and application environment grows to make tablet devices sensible. So there’s no rush for them to make costly decisions about it now.

  • Wait a minute, just few months ago When iPad was announced, Thousands of people cried about the iPad is just a giant iPhone. Now these mobile OS’es are joining the tablet party. Did Apple Shut their mouth coz Apple proved them wrong? Or is it just an Apple Envy and Hate that is why the “giant phone” issue only applies on iPads?

  • Wait, Microsoft is targeting the tablet market with Windows 7 not Windows Phone 7?

    Current Windows 7 builds are probably not fit to compete with the likes of Android, Chromium and MeeGo in the Tablet market just like MeeGo, Chromium & Android are not fit to compete with Windows 7 in laptops & desktops. Well, unless Microsoft offers a redesigned Windows 7 targeted at tablets while paying close attention to low power x86 chips like Intel’s Atom-based SoCs chips and/or AMD’s rumored Bobcat platform. Tablets need to be thin, light & have day-long battery lives; highly integrated SoCs are needed because ULV chips won’t cut it.

    Intel’s Moorestown platform still needs to cross that integration threshold; 2 chips need to become one and power requirements might still need to be reduced. This is why ARM chips are thriving in the tablet market.

    If you think Nvidia’s Tegra 2 is amazing, wait for TI’s OMAP4xxx lineup; especially after they licensed Imagination Technologies multicore PowerVR Series5XT (SGXMP) low power graphics technology.

    Tablets will need high performance low power hardware and touch-oriented software like Android and Chromium OS. If these two software packages perform well on both ARM and current low power x86 chips then ARM still wins with it’s lower power requirements; even with dual cores.

    Am I missing something here? Or am I wrong to think that support for popular x86 software could be Intel’s strongest strategy considering that Windows’ offerings (xp, vista & 7) are the only x86 OSes that do not currently support the ARM CPU architecture?

    Because of the above mentioned reasons along with TDP concerns, most tablet hardware developers/manufacturers will choose ARM-based SoCs 8-9 out of 10 times.

    I reckon the ‘Wintablet’ rumors better be true to help the chip giant’s LPIA-based SoCs survive in the tablet market. ARM may in the same manner struggle in the netbook market due to it’s lack of support for x86 code/OS (since the mini laptop-styled netbooks mean most buyers are looking for ‘Windows-inside’). So will ARM-based SoCs continue to rule the tablet market in the absence of a touch-oriented Windows 7 version? And will low power x86 SoCs continue to rule the netbook market in the absence of ARM-compatible Windows 7?

  • Your confusion may be self-inflected. The iPad is just an iPhone with a glandular condition, and a “tablet” running Windows Phone 7 would just be a Windows 7 phone with a glandular condition. This is in fact why Microsoft is NOT leaning in that direction. You can learn more by reading the link articles included in the post to which you’re commenting. Hopefully, I read your comment correctly and was able to help.

  • Avatar of Brookespeed

    I think you are confusing two populations while looking through APPL colored glasses. The people that said it’s just a big phone were people who don’t ‘get’ tablets. So those same people won’t get this as anything than a giant Android phone either. They hype of the iPad may have broken down some of that barrier to acceptance of the mobile OS for things other than phones, but I don’t think it ‘shut the mouth’ of any detractors. The iPad still is a giant iPod Touch. But there’s not anything wrong with that.

    What may trick those people who don’t understand tablets into thinking this is novel is the keyboard. It looks more like a Kindle. People know what that is and what it’s for. If it’s sold as a really highly functioning e-reader, it could carve a better niche than one of an iPad follower.

  • Avatar of Brookespeed

    I was thinking about two topics at the same time and that probably doesn’t make any sense. I was reading the Acer post at the same time, sorry!

  • People that cried about the iPad being a giant iPhone are the people that does not understand what tablet really is. When they hear “tablet”, They think about PC, which you can do what you normally do with a laptop plus more(the touch screen and the inking). Problem is, Tablet’s touch input and UI interaction is laggy. Well, tablet is a form factor. Not an OS.

    Now Apple came out with the iPad, People became frustrated and confused about having a responsive UI (which they are dreaming about)but cannot ink and do what their laptop is doing. They started screaming “it’s just a giant iPhone!”

    Apple’s intention is not to replace their laptops and Tablet PC’s but to have a link between a phone and a Laptop. A huge screen for surfing and stuffs but it’s always on like our phones.

    Now, When every company started coming out with a tablet that has a mobile OS, People started to realize what Apple tried to do in the first place. SO they shut up. Other haters still say iPad is just a giant bla bla bla. But they won’t do it with Androids and any other mobile OS. Pathetic.

  • Avatar of Brookespeed

    I think they do call the other devices just giant phone. Look at the Dell 5″ android tablet.

    Many people will complain about one thing not being another but it goes for everything. These are the people that I meant when I described people that don’t ‘get it’. Apple is not being persecuted any more than their market share warrants. Only Archos has an Android tablet you can buy. And it’s not even a fully recognized Android device. What other products are getting this free ride of lower expectations than the iPad?

  • I agree with everything you said. My only beef is that when apple release a Product, It’s evil to many people. But when everyone else follows Apple, Their fine.

  • Having now tried an iPad while on a business trip to Hong Kong. It’s most definitely a giant iPod Touch… Suffice to say I wont be bothering with purchasing one in it’s current form.

  • There is no denying that. The problem is, Android and other mobile OS tablets are also just a Giant phone. SO why Only iPad is the “giant” blah blah blah? U will never understand that coz your mind is a closed ecosystem worst than iOS. HAHAHA!

  • Avatar of themissinglint

    Windows 7 works beautifully on a tablet– if you have a stylus. Microsoft is doing good things with handwriting recognition, including things like recognizing complex math equations. These features are integrated (not by default, and not quite seamlessly enough, but getting there) with Windows 7. This stuff does take more power, but it allows tablets to be great content creation devices, instead of mainly content consumption devices.

  • That is the right path!


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