Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, is expected to announce a number of these devices when he takes the stage at C.E.S., showcasing devices built by Samsung and Dell, among a number of other manufacturing partners.
The Samsung device is described as “similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin. It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.”
The people familiar with this device said it would run the Windows 7 operating system [user interface] when in landscape mode, but will also have a layered interface that will appear when the keyboard is hidden and the device is held in a portrait mode.
… the company was encouraging partners to build applications for these devices that use HTML5, the Web programming language. … the applications would not be sold in an app store, as with the Apple iTunes model, but Microsoft will encourage software partners to host the applications on their own Web sites, which will then be highlighted in a search interface on the slate computers.
Update: While the above Samsung device was indeed introduced at CES 2011, under the name of Sliding PC 7 Series and even in a very prominent position in the Microsoft keynote, the layered interface wasn’t. See my post Microsoft moving to SoC & screen level slot management that is not understood by analysts/observers at all [Jan 7, 2011]. Regarding the rumored layered interface I wrote the following in the notes section of that article:
… the fact that HTML5 related announcements (as was anticipated in my previous post of Windows 7 slates with a personal cloud based layered interface for touch-first HTML5 applications on the CES 2011 [Dec 14, 2010] post) were postponed has even much bigger significance. Whatever will come regarding that upto the MIX 2011 of April 12-14 will be equally important to clarify the rest of the new strategic Microsoft picture. Particularly I am expecting that Silverlight technologies will nicely join the already known IE9/HTML5 push in a new platform technology setup.
The Dec 13 report from The New York Times indicated in the beginning has been widely quoted and analyzed over the web. Some of the most notable ones:
Curious timing: Goldman Sachs issues another report saying the iPad and tablets are hammering Microsoft, then anonymous sources tell the New York Times that Windows 7 tablets are part of Steve Ballmer’s CES keynote.
An appearance at CES doesn’t mean the devices will go on sale in January. The show is really for retailers to see products that they’ll carry later in 2011.
The New York Times suggests that Ballmer may show off a Windows 8 based Slate but WinRumors understands this is not the case. The software maker may show off a future Tablet/Slate concept device but will not refer to Windows 8 specifically. Microsoft is currently in the planning and preperation stage for Windows 8 and is compiling early milestone builds for product functionality.
Regarding Windows 8 there is a couple of days earlier report New Windows 8 user interface codenamed ‘Wind’? [Dec 8]:
Windows 8 will have two separate interfaces according to recent rumors.
Italian based windows8italia reports that Microsoft’s next-generation Windows operating system will be 32-bit and 64-bit with two separate interfaces. Windows8italia says that the main interface will be codenamed “Wind” and will initially only be supported by high-end notebook and desktop PCs with dedicated video cards. The site claims the interface will require around 170MB of video memory. “Wind” will only activate on 64-bit copies of Windows 8 and will be fully 3D.
The site goes on to explain that Wind will be “fully dynamic” and able to adapt to user habits. Icons and shortcuts will adapt to different usage scenarios to speed up daily tasks. Windows 8 is also rumored to include a new fast hibernation system. The system will hibernate in around three to six seconds and save all open documents and running tasks.
My earlier trendtracking has shown the following:
Windows slates in the coming months? Not much seen yet [July 13 – Oct 9] with the last relevant update stating:
Mr. Ballmer is now (Oct) talking consistently about “next year”: How Steve Ballmer told me what to do with my iPad! [Oct 6].
At the same time on my another website there is a very important in this regard Windows 7 UI overlays from Microsoft and elsewhere [Aug 28] article:
This is a prototype application shown in the Brad Brooks demo part during Steve Ballmer’s session at the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting 2010. This part is called “Chapter 11 – Windows 7 + Personal Cloud” and it is 18:27 long. The related section is close to the end, and the story told to us is the following (the emphasis is mine):
Now I want to show you something we think is going to be very compelling around consuming content across your personal cloud and with a device or form factor like … a slate. So, here I’ve got another slate form factor and again running Windows 7 and I’m going to pop open an application here that we’ve been, this is a prototype application we’ve been working with at Microsoft and using to help train our ecosystem about how to create touch-first application on Windows 7. And so this particular application is what we call internally Surfboard. I’m going to go ahead and open up the music session, and remember that song that I downloaded off Bing? Well now, if I go to Z, it actually shows up here, because it is on a connected PC across my personal cloud and this PC can now see this and use it across the personal cloud.
So, this Onkyo device that I had in my home, well, I can go ahead now and take this content off my personal cloud and I can move it right up to that Onkyo device and because that Onkyo device is connected through into my personal cloud with Windows 7, I can now take and take that music and play it across my PC through this Windows ‑‑ from Windows 7 PC into this device. But, I can take it much farther.
So, why don’t I go ahead and go into videos here. And go ahead and say that my wife ‑‑ we’re planning a Hawaiian vacation later on this year. I want to go ahead and get her excited about that. I’ll take this Hawaiian surf video and I’ll play it off to the Xbox over in the den. So, again, through one PC interface I can start controlling that experience in a different part of the house through wireless network and my personal cloud. Now, let’s say my wife wants to go ahead and set the kids up in the den and she wants to move to the main TV, I can take that right off the Xbox and move it right over to the main TV that’s connected up to my Western Digital box. And I want to take the kids and take children’s program that I recorded on that media center PC over there, and I want to take it off and I want to push it over to the Xbox in the den, so they can start watching it there.
Meanwhile, Ryan went and sent me a video of what he is doing over the weekend, which is being mascot for the Seattle Seahawks. I can pull that to the Media Center PC. So, now there you have it is I’ve now got this portable remote control device that is my slate PC that is now collected across my personal cloud. This is really going to change how people think about experiences and what they are doing with a Windows 7 PC, plus a personal cloud.
So what Microsoft is developing is not a UI overlay on top of a single slate device, like what we have with Apple iPad, but over an entirely different concept they are calling “personal cloud”, of which the Windows 7 slate is just one part. In the very beginning of his presentation Brad Books is describing the concept as follows (the emphasis is again mine):
Speaking of cloud and Windows, we have a unique point of view on the cloud for consumers, and we call it the PC. Only in this case we call it the personal cloud. And the personal cloud, well, it’s going to connect all the things that are important to you and make them available and ready for you to use wherever you’re at, whenever you need it. That’s going to be our promise to consumers. And it’s going to be centered around you, because we don’t believe around here that one size fits all. We believe in choice and we believe that you’ve got to bring that together in a lot of different ways for customers.
But the personal cloud … is going to do a lot more than just connect your Windows 7 PCs together. It’s going to connect you to your entertainment choices and bring new content into your personal cloud. It’s going to connect you to the people that matter to you most. And of course it is going to connect to different devices that you want it to connect to, like devices in the homes or ones you might carry in your pocket. And we are going to take this already super popular Windows 7 PC experience and make it even more compelling for consumers and deliver it on a scale that Microsoft can deliver it on. So starting this fall, the things I’m about to show you, this personal cloud delivered through a Windows Live update that will be coming, will be available to every existing Windows 7 PC user and every Windows Phone 7 user. And by Q3 a vast majority of all PCs that ship to consumers will have this pre-installed so people will have this personal cloud experience as part of their Windows 7 experience right out of the box, and of course that will come with every Windows Phone 7 as well.
Meantime the service part of that personal cloud was introduced, see my WHAT? … Windows Live Spaces SaaS moving to WordPress.com SaaS? … It is part of a NEW strategy with Windows Live Essentials 2011 released now! [Oct 2] post regarding that. We also have the Office add-on to that, see my Microsoft Office 365 SaaS (now in limited Beta) [Oct 20] post regarding that. Also these are essential parts of well thought-out overall strategy, so called “three screens and a cloud”, see my Microsoft (Ray Ozzie, Steve Ballmer) on the cloud clients [Oct 9] post.
So what Microsoft could indeed introduce as an overlay software on Windows 7 slates when they are operated without a keyboard is a personal cloud based new interface optimized for touch (over the traditional Windows 7 interface). This is only which still missing.
Regarding the HTML5 rumor there is also nothing essentially new since it could have been noted earlier as per my existing posts on this website:
Microsoft going multiplatform? [Sept 17]
Microsoft to lead standards compliance and implementation? … or how Microsoft is aiming to create a radically new Windows client platform via a set of “whole computer capable rich web” standards. [Sept 20]
And regarding the dependency of Windows slates on Intel SoC advancements there were clear posts here as well:
Intel SoC for Cloud Clients [June 27]
So by CES 2011 time (January 6-9, 20011) everything will be ready to launch a truely competitive Windows 7 slate strategy. And one look at the program shows that Microsoft will quite probably be THE major keynoter with (emphasis is mine):
Steve Ballmer will kick off the 2011 International CES with a preshow keynote address at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, in the Las Vegas Hilton Center. In previous years, Microsoft has used the CES keynote stage to launch major products including Xbox, Windows Vista and its Sync technology partnership with Ford.
(Note: a year ago, as always, Ballmer was also a preshow keynoter. Let’s hope this time his keynote will indeed have a major industry impact since tooo many people are using Microsoft legacy client solutions which indeed urgently need a strategic update for the fast emerging cloud clients environment.)