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News Week of April 18, 2010

What Microsoft Can Learn from the Apple iPad

Right now, we're all waiting for Windows 7-based tablets, such as the HP Slate, to arrive. There will be others, of course, but HP's is the one Microsoft is touting. It appears to have the most potential for rebooting Microsoft's tablet PC efforts. It's built on the Windows 7 platform—a desktop and laptop OS that I use every day. It's the best version of Windows since, perhaps, Windows 95. By that I mean that it's new, fresh, smart, and light enough and intuitive enough to not get in your way.

All that said, it's still a desktop OS. It carries with it all of the complications that are typically associated with running a relatively complex piece of technology. For what it's worth, Apple's desktop OS, Mac OS X, is only marginally less complex. This has relatively little to do with the hardware. We've proven in PC Labs that netbooks (which have hardware specs that are roughly equivalent to the upcoming Windows tablets), can run Windows 7, but Windows still shows you too much about the guts of your system. You still install drivers, there's still a Control Panel, and even the nifty new Device Stage leads you to a hardware setup or configuration screen eventually. Windows Phone 7, like the iPhone OS, shields the end user from those complications. If Microsoft and its partners put Windows Phone 7 on these tablets, an end user might never have to see any of them. Yet, with access to the new Microsoft Marketplace, they'll still be able to install whatever apps they need—all from one central place. Clearly, Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up in the Marketplace—it'll have to get much richer and faster if Microsoft wants people to rely on it for their Win Phone 7 app needs. Web-based offerings could help here. Microsoft's Office Web Apps, for example, could be the perfect tools for these Windows Phone 7-based tablets. (Source: Lance Ulanoff, PC Magazine)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 by ChrisD
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