Although nay sayers still say that tablet/slate computers haven’t proven that they are actually needed in this world, a host of companies are moving forward with producing them. Each of those devices need an operating system to power them, and while there are quite a few going with Google’s open source Android under the hood, Microsoft isn’t going to let Windows 7 sit this fight out.
According to ZDNet, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer named off all of the companies working on Windows 7 slate computers at his keynote for the Worldwide Partner Conference this week. Mentioned in the presentation were Asus, Dell, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, and shown on a slide was the HP logo. There had been some questions about HP sticking with the plan even though a prototype was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, but with the company now owning the webOS system from Palm, no one was quite sure what their plans were.
The tablet market is going to be a very crowded place by the end of this year. Google is expected to roll out its ChromeOS tablets this fall, Android tablets are already hitting the streets, an HP tablet powered by webOS could be out, the iPad will of course by handing around and now you can add in a slew of Windows 7 devices. For a tech space that barely existed 12 months ago, that is a whole heck of a lot of devices for consumers to choose between. One can only imagine what CES 2011 will look like as every mom and pop electronics company comes up with their own system.
It’s going to become a war of apps, battery life and price, and I think the operating system will actually not matter that much. Apps will probably become the most important factor, and the tablet that offers the most bells and whistles will probably be the winner. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your view point, it looks like everyone is going to be playing catch up with Apple in this product space.