Microsoft has started to advertise Windows 7 based Slates as the company attempts to fight off competition from Apple’s iPad device.
The software giant has created its own dedicated site for ASUS’s Eee Slate at windows.com/slate. Microsoft has also created several commercials for the new ASUS Slate device. The adverts are aimed to show how versatile Windows 7 Slates can be by swapping from using them as a desktop PC to a Tablet in seconds. The company has no plans to air them on national TV yet but hasn’t ruled this out in future.
Microsoft’s advertizing blitz kicked off days before Apple introduced its newest iPad. Apple’s latest iPad 2 features a dual-core CPU, 9x faster graphics and is slimmer and lighter than the previous generation. The company has also included front and rear cameras for use with FaceTime. Microsoft’s hardware partners have slowly been producing iPad rivals. Samsung unveiled its Sliding PC 7 series Windows 7 Slate hybrid at CES earlier this year. The device features Intel’s 1.66GHz Z670 Oak Trail processor, 10.1″ touchscreen, 32GB SSD and 2GB of RAM. The tablet ways just 2.1 pounds and will retail in March for $699. The iPad currently retails at $499 and sold three million units in its first 80 days of release. The iPad is currently selling approximately 4.5 million units per quarter, Bernstein Research estimates.
Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, said earlier last year that the company has a lot of different tablet projects it is pursuing. Microsoft canceled their internal Courier project shortly after the release of the iPad. The project was an innovative new tablet concept that had promised to combine a dual screen book design with finger and stylus input. The leaked promotional materials demonstrated various concepts that would have brought an unparalleled productivity tool to the market. Most media outlets and analysts felt the move to cancel the device was a mistake.
Dell also unveiled a hybrid “touch and type” Windows 7 Slate device in late November. The device currently retails at at $549 in U.S. stores. Microsoft rarely acknowledges the iPad or its sales influence. Windows general product manager Gavriella Schuster previously admitted that netbooks running Windows are “definitely getting cannibalised” by the iPad.
Microsoft is waiting for Windows 8 until it unveils its full Slate strategy. However, the company may introduce Windows 8 ARM based tablets ahead of a full desktop release. Microsoft’s competitive tablet strategy is believed to be further along than expected. Dell’s recently leaked Tablet Roadmap revealed that the OEM has marked Q1 2012 as its date for a Windows 8 based slate. WinRumors understands that Microsoft has been working on an ARM based version of Windows for nearly a year and that it is laboring hard to bring this to the market as soon as possible.
Microsoft is still refusing to talk Windows 8 based Slates however. Microsoft CFO Peter Klein declined to talk Windows 8 or the future of the company’s Slate strategy at a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday. Klein said the company will share more information on “the next generation of Windows” when it is ready to do so. For now, the company is positioning hybrid Windows 7 devices as the way forward for users who want to create Office docs as well as consume rich media on the go.