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Will Microsoft be Slated?

Allan Bisset

Will I be rushing to buy the Microsoft Slate?  Probably not,  as it's not available yet, although when it does materialise at least it  will run Windows 7 and not the execrable Vista I have the misfortune of using on my home PC!  New Windows-powered tablet or slate devices are said to be in the pipeline from Acer, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony, and a dozen other PC manufacturers as Microsoft tries to counter the massive success of Apple's iPad, which has already sold more than 2 million units worldwide since it's launch in April.

Ballmer showing off the Slate
image source:

Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer was speaking at the company's annual partner conference in Washington which was broadcast live on the Internet, claiming that one of the most important things the company will do this year is push forward with Windows 7-based slate devices.  Hewlett-Packard, the world's No. 1 PC maker, has also said it plans to build slate devices running the operating system devised by Palm Inc, which HP bought this year and although Ballmer didn’t mention HP in his speech, apparently their  logo did appear on a slide listing PC makers working on slates which was displayed as he gave the talk.

Unlike a Tablet PC, which has a proper keyboard, the Slate is an entirely touch-driven device. While Windows 7 is more “finger friendly” than previous efforts, it still doesn't lend itself that well to touch navigation.  In fact it  seems about on a par with the finger powered nav on my Samsung Toco Lite.  Let me stress here that, due to “frog fingers” I still have a penchant for the good ole keyboard when churning out optimised SEO copy and do not possess an iPad, but at least even I can see that the iPad’s  touch-driven functionality will take a lot of beating…

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