The iPad, in a blink of an eye, established itself as the most popular and successful tablet ever created. In less than 3 months, Apple managed to sell 3 million units – a feat which arguably makes the iPad the fastest selling product in the history of consumer electronics.
And while Apple is busy riding the iPad train to the bank, you just know that Microsoft is brimming with anger and jealousy. After all, Bill Gates and Microsoft have been pushing tablet devices for years, with limited success. All of a sudden, Apple enters the fray and delivers a hit on their first try. It’s as if Microsoft had been bowling games of 150 for the last 5 years only to watch Apple come in and bowl a 290 right off the bat.
Still, Microsoft isn’t planning to give up just yet, even if their tablet plans were somewhat derailed by HP’s purchase of Palm and their subsequent intention to make Palm’s WebOS the centerpiece of their tablet aspirations.
At the opening of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer explained that Microsoft’s tablet plans are as ambitious as ever, with a slew of big name companies planning to release tablet devices running Windows 7 “in the coming months.” Already on board are Dell, Asus, Toshiba, Samsung, and Sony.
As you might expect, tablet devices running Windows 7 will vary considerably with regard to functionality, pricing, and form factors. Some will have keyboards, others will support a stylus, and some will be touch only.
While Ballmer didn’t directly address the iPad or Google’s efforts with Chrome, he did try and position Microsoft’s tablet initiative as one that might appeal to corporate IT departments. That doesn’t sound terribly promising.
Notably missing from Ballmer’s presentation was HTC, the Taiwan-based company responsible for some of the sleeker Android handsets out on the market. HTC recently said that it has no intention of entering the tablet market due to an already saturated market environment. With no compelling feature to differentiate an HTC tablet from the scores of competitors out there, HTC sees no benefit in releasing a tablet device of its own.