Microsoft vows it will make a tablet this year

According to reports, Microsoft is back in the tablet game and they’re getting help from Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony. Notice how HP is missing since they’re off getting WebOS hooked up with their own version of the tablet. But that’s some pretty big names so there’s a good chance these guys can actually pull it off. But can MS and company actually get these on the shelves in the next 3 months? They need to have an abundant supply by November so people can browse and shop for Christmas.

While it sounds great to offer so many choices, part of me thinks this dizzying array of options will actually confuse people. The iPad has its feature set and that’s it. The device works the same no matter where you get it because Apple is the only one that makes it. You aren’t missing a feature your buddy has because they all work the same. The Windows 7 tablets won’t be like that. As Ballmer stated they will have different form factors, some will have keyboards, some will be touch only, others will be dockable, etc. I think the main reason the iPad works and works so well is that you just turn it on and use it. You don’t have to compare one model with another, which features are you going to get, or which can you live without. You really only get two choices, amount of storage space and whether it’s WiFi or WiFi+3G. You just buy it, sync it and you’re done.

I dare say this multiple vendor method may actually muddy the waters too much. Would it have been better for MS to pick one vendor such as Dell, build a single tablet and offer different amounts of storage space? Unfortunately that goes against the way MS does things. They can’t just make a single use version of Windows. They have to make it work on all sorts of disparate hardware making it harder to streamline and optimize.

And Microsoft is still using Windows not a tablet OS. Windows 7 has tablet features bolted onto it, but it’s not a tablet OS. I think it’s going to have a lot of wasted code and plenty of services/features that will go unused and just take up resources.

Strangely I think what we’re going to see is some strange cross between Netbooks and Tablets. But whatever we get they need to act quickly. By the time these guys get their tablets to market, Apple will already be releasing features of the iPad 2.0.

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