Bloomberg reports that it will be a while before a Windows 7 tablet becomes feasible. The target for a tablet compatible version of the OS is the last quarter of this year.
iPad sales have manufacturers wanting to jump on the tablet bandwagon, but Windows is just too much of a resource hog.
The iPad’s success caught much of the PC industry by surprise. Within two months of the April 3 release, Apple sold 2 million iPads — more than IDC expected for the entire tablet industry in 2010. To catch up, Dell and Hewlett-Packard are turning to Google Inc.’s Android operating system. Taiwanese manufacturers that build most of the world’s PCs said they’re dissatisfied with Microsoft’s current lineup.
“We don’t have any choice for now,” said Joseph Hsu, chairman and president of Taipei-based manufacturer Micro-Star International Co., a maker of laptops and computer parts. Windows 7 is too powerful and consumes too much energy from batteries, he said.
When netbooks first came out, most of them ran some form of Linux because Windows was too big and clunky for the lightweight processors. Microsoft remixed XP and successfully pushed back against Linux in that market. Now, when you go to the Dell website, just to pick an example, and look at a netbook, Dell is pushing Windows, even though Ubuntu is still an option.
(I don’t know why Dell is pushing Windows and I’m not trying to pick on Dell–I’m just using them as an example; Acer and HP are displaying the same Windows slogans. I also notice that Dell hasn’t updated the Ubuntu release that they are shipping; the one they are offering is from April, 2008, two major versions ago.)
In the past, Windows tablets have sold poorly, finding a limited market primarily among roadwarriors making lots of PowerPoint presentations and some graphics artists. According to the Bloomberg story, until the release of the iPad, computer trend analysts had predicted tablets to have less than 1% of the market this year.
It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft is nimble enough to gain traction in a tablet world reshaped by the Apple hype machine.
I doubt it. Microsoft doesn’t do nimble very well.