The news is that Microsoft Steve Ballmer is unveiling prototypes of Tablet computer manufactured by their partners. Of course, on everyone’s mind is whether this is Microsoft’s answer to a possible Tablet Computer by Apple in MacWorld 2010.
The tablet computer was kinda an eye opener for me:
First. The good news: Microsoft’s manufacturing partners can come out with eye-pleasing devices. Contrast this with Nexus One from Google which looks like a box-standard mobile phone. The HP’s iPhone like one is particularly good looking. Well done to the Microsoft’s manufacturing partner.
Now, the bad news: First, it is no different from Tablet computer you get today or tomorrow.
Sure, the HP model on show looks good, but it is only eye-candy. The other, less prominent prototypes do not stand out.
In fact, I do not believe it can drive aspiration or contemplation for the devices. It is not going to generate the same buzz as iPhone when it was launched. The Tablet thing just looks like Microsoft hashing existing offering. Recycling yesterday’s news as new. In fact, I went as far as reading the whole event as Microsoft shouting on top of its lung that “I have a plan for Tablet computer too!!”
Second bad news: The way Ballmer described it, it looks like just a standard laptop without the keyboard. I am wondering what actually differentiate it from existing laptops where you can swivel around the touch screen and use it as a tablet?
You have to buy all the software again. Good for Microsoft’ bottom line. However, from a consumer point of view it is just another form factor for laptop.
Third bad news: Perhaps I am naive, as I was expecting it to be usable right out of the box, i.e., I don’t have to buy Microsoft Office and all my other favoured apps all over again. It did surprised me that it is simply a box-standard computer in different form factor. That is disappointing. I was hoping for killer app or must-have gadgets.
It is still in prototype stage. The whole presentation looks like a business meeting where one partner shows off to another yet-another-product it has designed, except that this time, they seems to think that you and I are their partners. It is not aspiring at all. I hope when the time come to launch it. they will come out with reasons on why should I get one of those.