There are a lot of tablets out there sporting Windows 7, and just how adept it is for the relatively small touch screen form is open to debate. I happen to feel that it isn’t, and I’m not alone. Apparently Microsoft concurs, and according to the latest set of rumours, it plans to do something about it.
Windows Phone 7, of course, migrated away from the ‘mobile’ arena as tablets started emerging, and the naming scheme is probably deliberate, in order to avoid possible confusion of exactly where the OS should be deployed. Windows Mobile would imply suitability for tablets where before it was ok, on the basis that a decent tablet was more or less a pipe dream.
According to Bloomberg, “people with knowledge of the plans”, say that Microsoft is planning a major tablet OS, seperate from both Windows and Windows Phone, will be conceived part way through next year. However, Microsoft hasn’t commented on the situation, so it’s yet unclear whether any of it is actually true.
It does spark an interesting debate, though, as it is 2011, which is being dubbed ‘the year of the tablet (or iPad 2)‘, so is it really possible that Microsoft would arrive on the scene late for a second time? Windows Phone 7, its first potentially successful phone OS, was late to the party when compared to Google, Apple et al, and some say it has benefitted from that situation, with it clearly taking the best elements of the aforementioned company’s mobile platform, such as the integrated updating approach, similar to Apple, card-style multitasking taken almost directly from HP/Palm’s WebOS, and the physical controls from Android. The whole thing seems to point toward a happy medium, and it has been acclaimed for its quality so early on in its life-cycle.
So could a tablet OS reap the same benefits? Analysing the rivals and implementing the features that work best, whilst providing an altogether similar experience. There’s no doubt it would incorporate Microsoft’s MetroUI, with it being the heart and soul of almost all new software coming out of the company right now. However, by the time that this actually hits the market, should it do, iOS will be hitting version 6, and Android at least 4.0, with WebOS making great strides too and RIM finding constant success with Blackberrys and the PlayBook.
Of course, as I mentioned before, Microsoft already has Windows 7 implemented on tablets from all manner of manufacturers, and on top of that there’s Windows Embedded Compact 7, which was made available to manufacturers earlier in the week, but neither were made specifically for the new-founded tablet market, so it would make sense that to compete, Microsoft has to do something about that. It would be foolish not to integrate the devices to some extent, working behind the scenes with a whole load of cloud synchronisation (making the most of Windows Live), so it will be interesting to see how the whole ecosystem develops, and how it stacks up at a time with a great deal more going on with tablets than is right now.
Hopefully we’ll see something a little bit sooner, but if not we had better set our countdown timers for CES 2012 in January.
Do you think that this course of action is needed from Microsoft? Or are they going to be too late in responding to their mobile device rivals again like you they may have been with Windows Phone 7? Can they successfully play catch up like they did with netbooks?