UnknowingFool writes: MS has invited journalists to an exclusive event on Monday, June 18 at 3:30 PM Pacific time. While MS has not disclosed the purpose of the event, rumors are that MS is showing off a MS designed and built Win 8 tablet. If true, what does that mean to OEM partners of MS who are making their own tablets? The last time MS made their own hardware, it abandoned former PlaysForSure partners and used their own Zune format. Music these days is mostly DRM free but that does not yet apply to other media like movies and books.
UnknowingFool writes: When the Courier project was leaked out, it was a bold look at how MS would design new tablets. Microsoft was currently selling tablets but they didn't make a dent in the market. The problem was it was too bold. According to the story Ballmer had two competing executive visions for tablets: J. Allard and Steven Sinofsky. Allard's vision was very different from MS thinking while Sinofsky's was more inline with existing Windows but was years away. Ballmer called on Gates to help and Gates met with Allard. Gates was apparently troubled on how Courier would not mesh with Windows or Office. The project was cancelled shortly thereafter. An interesting detail was that Courier was more complete than most outsiders knew. While there was no one prototype than unified all the concepts of Courier, there were parallel efforts in the different aspects of it.
UnknowingFool writes: After poor sales of the new TouchPad, HP has announced it will stop manufacture of WebOS devices. This comes only a little more than a year after purchasing Palm, Inc. for $1.2B. HP also announced it will spin off their PC business focusing on printers and servers.
UnknowingFool writes: After months of speculation and waiting, HP has released some more specifics on the Slate. Despite previous speculation, it will run Windows 7 and not WebOS with an announced price of $799. Other specifications include 8.9 in screen, Intel Atom Z540 processor (1.86GHz), 2GB RAM, 64GB storage, Bluetooth, Wifi, USB port, dual cameras, and SD Card. At the moment, there is no word on additional models with built-in 3G. There is also a docking station (sold separately) that will add a HDMI port and 2 more USB ports. The Slate has a home screen button, on-screen tab, and interestingly a dedicated Alt-Ctrl-Delete button. The Slate will accept both multi-touch and pen input. The ZDNet reviewer only had 15-20 minutes with the device but did not comment on usability or performance but seemed to indicate that HP is targeting the tablet for business and not consumer use. PC World has a review and a comparison between announced and existing tablets which reports that the Slate has approximately 5 hours battery life (lowest in the group).
UnknowingFool writes: At D8, Steve Ballmer and Ray Ozzie talked about tablets, mobile, and the cloud. Ballmer challenged the notion presented by Steve Jobs days earlier that the PC was in decline but agreed that tablets were becoming more popular. However Ballmer merely redefined tablets as PCs whereas Jobs considered them a new category. Also Ballmer admitted that they had slipped on updating their Windows Mobile product and allowed competitors to leap frog them. "We missed the whole cycle." On Google's decision to release both Chrome and Android, Ballmer didn't think having 2 different OS was a good idea.