I think that no matter which group you belong to – Apple, Linux, Windows, BeOS – we can all agree on one thing: original equipment manufacturers are terrible at writing or pre-loading software. Whether it be adding pre-exisiting software to Windows OEM installs, or software they write on their own, it is universally bad. As such, I just can’t understand why Microsoft would leave creating tablet user experiences to OEMs.
While Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 on one hand, it’s promoting Windows Embedded Compact 7 on the other. Windows 7 is Windows NT, whereas Windows Embedded Compact 7 is Windows CE – different kernel, different software stack. Microsoft may have seen the light when it comes to more tightly controlling the user experience in mobile phones, but sadly, that revelation isn’t carrying over to the tablet space.
At Computex, Microsoft is showing off an ARM-based tablet running Windows Embedded Compact 7, which comes with an impressive Silverlight-based user interface, created using Expression Blend. While it is different from what we’re seeing with Windows Phone 7 (which won’t come to tablets), it does bear a close resemblance. It looks pretty darn good – well, except for the browser which uses Internet Explorer 7.
Video courtesy of Engadget.
Sadly, it won’t come to market. In their wisdom, Microsoft believes that original equipment manufacturers should create their own interfaces on top of their embedded operating system. Yes, the same companies that have taken away hours of our lives by including boatloads of crapplets on their machines are supposed to write tablet touch interfaces.
This right here is why Microsoft will not get any serious foothold in this tablet market. What we’ll have instead is dozens of different and crappy interfaces, with just as many crappy incompatible software stores filled with outdated software because the OEMs are too lazy to keep their software updated. Adding insult to injury, they’re promoting both Windows 7 and Windows Embedded Compact 7 for tablets.
By the way, I still fail to see the use in these tablets, but then again, I’m weird and still think tabbed browsing is a bit hoity-toity.