Microsoft will show off new Windows 7 Slates at CES, no Windows 8

By Tom Warren, on 14th Dec 10 7:28 am with 13 Comments

Microsoft will demonstrate new Windows based Slate devices at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

The software giant is expected to show-off a number of new devices from key hardware partners. The New York Times reports that the company will show devices built by Samsung and Dell. The Samsung device will be a similar size and shape to Apple’s iPad and include a “unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.”

Both the Dell and Samsung devices will run Windows 7 with a custom UI on top for accessing multimedia functions. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, is expected to introduce both devices during his CES 2011 keynote.

Microsoft has promised a “major revamp” of Windows for slate applications, that will come in the next version, Windows 8. The New York Times suggests that Ballmer may show off a Windows 8 based Slate but WinRumors understands this is not the case. The software maker may show off a future Tablet/Slate concept device but will not refer to Windows 8 specifically. Microsoft is currently in the planning and preperation stage for Windows 8 and is compiling early milestone builds for product functionality.

Microsoft has been criticized for its slow response to Apple’s iPad device, introduced in April this year. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, previously said Windows 7 based Slates would be available “as soon as they’re ready” when questioned earlier this year. The iPad sold three million units in its first 80 days of release and is currently selling approximately 4.5 million units per quarter, Bernstein Research estimates.

Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, said earlier this 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.

WinRumors will be live from CES 2011 to bring you all the latest Microsoft information, stay tuned.

  • Tim Acheson

    At last! A mobile device with a real OS and the real internet through a real web browser.

    My first slate/tablet will be a fully functional PC. Why waste money on what is in reality just a mobile phone OS or MP3 player with a giant screen? Some people are mugs — fashion victims.

    • Tom W

      I’d tend to disagree unless the Windows based slates come with a great UI. Finger based computing in Windows 7 is far from ideal. iOS is built for fat fingers and Windows 7 is not. Microsoft made some minor enhancements to support a basic touch implementation but Windows desktop OS is not the best fit for these devices unless it’s combined with a physical keyboard and mouse. I agree though that the iPad is crippled in the sense of functionality.

    • Tim Acheson

      The usability of the custom UI for Windows 7 probably will determine success of that OS on touch-screen devices. At least until Windows 8.

      I’m optimistic. Even if Microsoft put no effort into the UI for Win 7 multitouch devices, I’d still rather have a proper web browser and all the capabilities of a PC, as long as the UI is usable.

    • Tom W

      Agreed, me too. I’d love to have a Windows slate with a great UI that was usable. Microsoft has said that it will bring custom UIs with “partners” so I’m not sure they are putting any effort into providing one themselves which is a shame. Maybe I’m wrong though and they’ll show off their own UI in January…who knows :)

    • Tim Acheson

      I look forward tio finding out! All new competition, in this young and exciting area of the market where PR for the overpriced iPad has dominated the headlines, is good news. ;)

    • GP007

      It makes sense though that OEMs would want to push their own UI look so they stand out more compared to say WP7. The thing MS should do is build the base UI and framework, maybe using WPF would be best, then let the OEMs mix and match some of the extra elements anyways they want? I think that would be the best middle ground for both.

    • Revolutions

      I think the problem is not so much UI, so much as the lack of an app store. Sure, Windows has the most software of any operating system in the world, but it’s not easily discoverable. Want to find a game created for touch screen computers? Well, good luck. Want to find software tailored to finger-based input? Again, good luck.

      I’m all for the full functionality of Windows, but until they get an app store and some closed requirements like WP7, it really can’t be successful.

  • Paul Paliath

    LOL I never understood those Windows 8 at CES 2011 rumors.

    If Windows 8 is shown off specifically at CES 2011, I’ll wax off my scrotum, set it on fire and eat a muffin while my manhood burns.

  • GP007

    IF MS is the one who does the slate/tablet mode UI for Win7 devices and it works fast and smooth then I don’t mind it as much. The thing is, when Dell or someone else tries to do the UI instead, it’s slow and sluggish and just overall poor.

    • Tom W

      Agreed, if they made their own UI for these slate devices then that could be great.

  • Grannyville7989

    I hope Microsoft do a good job when it comes to a slate. I would love to have a slate to take with me into lectures and record notes to that which are then throw up into my SkyDrive, or some cloud-based storage, that would sync it to my desktop. A laptop is fine but there are times when it is overkill but I have to take it with me to access my data on. I could use an iPad but there’s no easy way for me to do productive work on.

  • Kamal S. Prasad

    If there isn’t stylus support, they ain’t getting my $$. Hand writing recognition in Win7 is excellent. I hope they revive and show off the Courier.

  • Rayj Sheehan

    I’m really hoping for a Windows Phone 7 Tablet, as that would be a really winner for me. The win7 phone looks and fees great, intuitive, and I really believe a tablet built on it would work. I hope Microsoft understands that we use tablets, or slates, to access cloud apps. Wouldn’t windows Live be a natural?