What do you get when you add a keyboard to a tablet? Some might say you just get a laptop, but apparently that's not going to stop Microsoft from doing it anyway.
Microsoft is looking for a way to get a piece of the tablet market that's been dominated by Apple's iPad, and to do so, they're trying to find a new take on tablets. Here's where they're going, according to an inside source spoken to by the NY Times:
"The company believes there is a huge market for business people who want to enjoy a slate for reading newspapers and magazines and then work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint."
To this end, Microsoft will reportedly be demoing a tablet from Samsung at CES that has a keyboard that slides out from the back, like a giant cell phone.
As with most of the stuff that Microsoft demos, their line of thought is completely logical: "you can't do work on tablets because they don't have keyboards, so if we include a keyboard, people will love us!" But this is not what tablets are about. Tablets are simple and sexy and thin and light and optimized for visual media, not productivity, and kludging a keyboard onto the back isn't going to make a tablet that's magically capable of everything. It'll just make something that falls into the void where nobody who wants a tablet will buy one because it's not really a tablet, and nobody who wants a laptop will buy one because it's not really a laptop either.
This is not to say that Microsoft isn't capable of making a sweet tablet, and there are supposed to be some new (non-keyboardy) slates unveiled at CES as well, one of which may be running a version of Windows 8. Microsoft's vision for their tablet OS sounds like it's largely web-based, with applications running through websites. It might turn out to be a lot like Google Chrome, except that Microsoft has no plans for an app store, they'd rather do everything through the websites themselves.
Reportedly, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be demoing some of these new tablets on stage during his keynote at CES, so we'll be bringing you more details during the first week of January.
Via NY Times