Thereâ€™s an interesting story developing out of an investor call that Microsoft held yesterday.
Weâ€™ve discussed 7-inch Windows 8 tablets before, confirmed they are technically possible, analysed the market forÂ them and we came out positive but it takes more than just a small set of potential customers to make a product. Microsoft say theyâ€™re â€œset upâ€ for 7â€ Tablets so it’s really up to the manufacturers now. 7-inch Windows 8 Tablets could be on the way.
â€¦itâ€™s possible to build a new-generation Windows 8, 7â€ tablet on Atom Clover Trail. With some quality engineering a 16mm Windows 8 7â€ tablet would be possible. With a smaller battery maybe even a 12mm thick Windows 8 7â€ tablet would be possible. Source:Chippy.
â€œWeâ€™re really set up for that,â€ said Microsoftâ€™s finance chief, Peter Klein, when asked about 7-inch tablets this morning at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference. â€œThe notion of flexibility and scalability of the operating system is actually intrinsic to our vision and our strategy. Source: Microsoft
If you take a look at the image above youâ€™ll see a 7-inch WindowsÂ tablet. The Viliv. This one never reached the market because it was before its time but it proves that itâ€™s technically possible. Iâ€™ve played with a working version of it and itâ€™s light. Just 420gm. This is the design that could work with Clovertrail or BayTrail and Windows 8 although Windows will need a couple of mods for this to work.
There are two options for Windows in this form factor. RT and Win8 and both have a desktop user interface that wonâ€™t work with this form factor when held in the hand.Â Windows needs to be able to lock out the desktop for a 7â€ handheld device. The virtualization is already built into Windows 8 but it would take some work to get it working in the way it should â€“ Modern UI when un-docked, desktop available when docked. Or even a non-desktop version with a lower license fee. That would probably work better but would require some maturity in the Windows Store. A pro version could re-enable desktop with Clovertrail/Bay Trail of course.
Technically itâ€™s possible. With Bay Trail you might even get the only PC you’ll ever need! From an OS perspective Microsoft should think about license cost and disabling desktop.Â After that itâ€™s up to the manufacturers.
In 2007-2009 the UMPC market was alive and well based on very poor economics. Sales were not good but risks were taken. That needs to happen again but it needs a push from Microsoft and a silicon partner. The only one with enough money is Intel. Ultratablets or Ultraslates could be just the push needed to make the UMPC finally work.
In two weeks weâ€™re at Mobile World Congress with Intel. We know theyâ€™re ramping up marketing (see the #inteltablets and #tabletcrew hash tag) so weâ€™ve got our fingers crossed that weâ€™ll see something in Barcelona.