back to article Ballmer readies slate PC for CES

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer is due to unveil a slate or tablet type computer at the Consumer Electronics Show later today. Ballmer is giving a keynote speech at 6.30pm in the Las Vegas Hilton. He will be hoping to attract some of the hyperbole being lavished on Google's Nexus One phone and Apple's mythical entry into the …


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  1. Jon Double Nice

    Please please please please please

    Do the monkey dance!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Don't be silly

    MS May well launch the ME2 slate PC, but it will be the same as everything else that comes from Microsoft...

    To read mail you'll need to click on Device, then Accessories, then MS Live Mail, then wait 42.8 seconds while it loads, then reboots, the does a software update to something totally unrelated, then eventually displays the Mail app which will function perfectly for a few seconds before it stops responding completely while it receives message 18 of 18 (32K or 32K) and then sits there unresponsive and inert for several minutes then carries on like nothing happened.

    To view Photos you'll connect the device to your Desktop PC, launch MS Live PhotoViewer, connect your camera, watch while Adobe Photo Viewer Loads, and won't quit. The you can force quit Adobe PhotoViewer and go back to MS Live Viewer which will download an update 'in the background' which brings your PC to a halt. Then you connect your camera, ActiveSynch it to MS Live Photo Viewer and then sync this to your ME2 Slate.....

    You get the idea....

    MS Simply are not good at providing a polished user experience, but at least you'll be able to freely develop your own apps for it....

  3. Neill Mitchell
    Thumb Up

    Tablets finally going somewhere?

    Plus this will be a tablet that you will be able to run tens of thousands of third party apps. In addition I will be able to pretty much load whatever content I like onto it. No iTunes getting in the way.

    This is the chink in Apple's much hyped tablets armour. I think once the sexiness of the Apple tablet furore has died down, it will be the software/content availability and control that will ultimately put an awful lot of people off. Especially as, unlike smartphones, these are pretty well understood devices that most manufacturers are capable of knocking out much cheaper once the market takes off.

    I've been a fan of Tablet PC's for many years, but I guess it has been the high price tags and poor battery life that have meant they have not become mainstream. Funny how they should become the must have gadget now though. One thing Apple is good at I guess is driving up the desirability factor of market segments they go after.

    1. Adam T


      Good god I wouldn't want to install tens of thousands of apps on a Windows Mobile device.

      MS, Apple, both as bad as each other if you ask me. One's a fruit and the other is a dilapidating condition. But at least some of us can make money from the one that sells.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I assume such slates will have a camera but where will it go?

    On the front looking towards the user?

    Maybe on the back pointing away from the user?

    Or perhaps a swivel type thingy?

    It will be interesting to see what happens as specs are firmed up and made public.

  5. Admiral Grace Hopper

    I assume

    that he will have tested its aerodynamic properties before it was signed off.

    Grenade, because that also relies on a good strong throwing arm.

  6. Wibble

    Ballmer sets the barrier pretty low

    Oh well, at least Ballmer will set the barrier at a height that the forthcoming Apple tablet will be able to hop straight over.

    Who wants a tablet version of a vanilla operating system? What's needed is something far more akin to an iPhone in terms of ease of use, especially when it comes to running the myriad applications from the app store.

    Ballmer; we know you're tired. Please just go away and play with your wearisome cronies. There's a new kid on the block that's far more in tune with the Zeitgeist than you ever were.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      New Kid on the Block?

      In tune with the zeitgeist?

      Please. Just stop.

  7. slack


    This should be good for a laugh.

    It's always funny when MS release something they tout as "new"; if it isn't a mouse then it's guaranteed to be crap, especially if that idiot Ballmer had anything to do with it.

  8. adam payne

    Oi Ballmer

    We want the monkey dance!

  9. David Edwards

    Please be the courier

    See Gizmodo, but I bet it wont be :-(

  10. druck Silver badge

    Same old, same old

    Gate's tablet, Ballmer's slate, Microsoft's millstone.

  11. Stu Wilson

    Developers Developers Developers


    "Plus this will be a tablet that you will be able to run tens of thousands of third party apps. In addition I will be able to pretty much load whatever content I like onto it. No iTunes getting in the way."

    No but there will be a crappy 3rd Party sync app (AppsForSure anyone?), one thing that can be said iTunes works, even if you don't like it, hey even Palm tried to use it instead of writing their own.

    Plus how many of those tens of thousands of apps will make this tablet run like ... well a Windows machine. I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing this thing, then watch it crash and burn into oblivion with 6 months.

    1. Neill Mitchell


      "No but there will be a crappy 3rd Party sync app (AppsForSure anyone?), one thing that can be said iTunes works, even if you don't like it, hey even Palm tried to use it instead of writing their own."

      Nope. Standard MSI files if running Windows. RPM or Deb if running Linux. All just downloaded off the Internet or copied via USB. Same goes for content. You use something like MediaMonkey, Amarok, XBMC, Moovida etc etc if you want a nice syncing media manager. The point is you have a choice in the matter. Once you start using iTunes you are bound to Apple forever.

      Like I say, loads of manufacturers will jump on the bandwagon. Asus, MSI, Acer etc. So even if the Microsoft one is crap there will be loads of good ones behind it and they won't all be running Windows as you assume. Apple is not going to get the tablet/slate space all to itself, especially at their rumoured price point.

  12. Dana W

    Soon they will name themselves after fruit as well.

    And Ballmer will come out and and demo it in jeans and a black turtleneck. This is just pathetic.

    We still don't even have the big blue coffee table yet. For a company with such a highly touted market share, why can't they do something other than wait for Apple to make something and whip out a ""me too" Version?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Me too?

      What you mean like releasing a new improved mouse to hysterical fanboi reaction that includes most, but not all, of the features that MS mouse users have been taking for granted for years?

      Oh, sorry. MS never built in the "fuck up your keyboard" function. That was novel, I'll grant.

      1. Kenny Millar
        Jobs Horns

        @Me too?

        Yip - Apple really don't know how to make mice do they! I should know, I switched 100% to Apple about 5 years ago and have never regretted anything other than the crap mice.

        He he, they really should just leave the mouse market alone.

      2. B 9


        No, like after the iPhone announcement MS comes out with a demo of a TABLE with a touch surface. . . . a TABLE. Can you put a table in your pocket and make phone calls on it?

        Or how about all the user interface elements MS has copied from OS X and put into Vista/Winblows 7? POORLY copied interface elements that notoriously required you to have a screaming high end computer in order to take advantage of (Aero anyone?)?

        Or the ZUNE? (I think that one speaks for itself. Maybe Ballmer can "squirt" you some details if you're not familiar with it).

        If I recall correctly the new mouse got good reviews implemented multitouch on the mouse (where was MS with there multitouch mouse again?) And how exactly does their mouse "fuck up your keyboard"? I've heard that it may be draining batteries faster than normal but that is hardly "fucking up your keyboard".

        Quite a bit of hyperbole coming out of your mouth. Tell me, are you a paid MS schill or just an uninformed consumer?

      3. Dana W


        No idea what you are talking about, I don't use Apple mice. I use Logitech trackballs. Have for years. My Mac Tower for example is running a Logitech trackball, and an Omnikey 101 Keyboard "look it up"

        In fact the three trackballs I bought ten years or so ago for my old PCs still seem to be just fine. And nobody argued Microsoft didn't make a good mouse and keyboard. Pity they can't do as well with an OS. They should stick with their strong points.

        Anyway, you don't use the packed in headphones with your MP3 Player. Why use the packed in keyboard or mouse with a computer?

      4. Player_16
        Gates Horns

        @ TeeCee

        "fuck up your keyboard"? Yeah, life threatening. If that was the case, just plug in another keyboard. But you're right. 'MS never built in the "fuck up your keyboard" function'; just the built-in 'fuck up your WHOLE computer' function (Vista).

  13. Adam T


    Suddenly it's the new name for anything with a screen. Funny...

    Did someone say it runs Windows Mobile??

  14. Charles Manning
    Thumb Down

    Fifth time lucky?

    The tablet form factor was always Gates' pet project. MS has made at least four failed attempts at tablets, if you include UMPCs. Since their last attempt, MS's ability to execute has dropped dramatically. Anyone want to take bets on how this one will fair?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    LOL @ Post #2



    While other devices cater for instant on in an instant on sort of way the 'other' slate does instant on so very, very much swifter but then meets with software updates that don't quite freeze the device. It still works in a way but a very s-l-o-w d-r-a-w-n o-u-t fashion.

    As soon as it has automatically updated the anti-malware, ... program kicks in and that 2 second job one wished to do is now some 5 minutes or more in the passing past and I want to go to the lavvie.

    Some time later:

    Great! 2 second job done and now for instant off

    And a good while later the device switches off and now one does not need to go to the lavvie at all really.

    May be the monkey dance is associated with one's personal and natural needs while waiting for the device to power on effectively or power off equally effectively?

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    But beware the nature of the stone monkey.

    The nature of Monkey was irripressible.

    You know what's in my side pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I was hoping that you were just really pleased to see Tripitaka, despite the gender confusion that it might promote, Pilgrim Sun.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    yay, a giant Zune

    I hope it has excellent Bing integration, as that's what I look for in a piece of technology.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    @B 9

    "Or how about all the user interface elements MS has copied from OS X and put into Vista/Winblows 7? POORLY copied interface elements that notoriously required you to have a screaming high end computer in order to take advantage of (Aero anyone?)?"

    But if they did'nt why would you *need* to buy a new PC?

    MS has *no* friends in the software industry. Without ever increasing resource hogging interfaces which constantly change there is no incentive for users to switch.

  19. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    What's a slate

    "Slate" for me is a touchscreen computer built without, and designed for use without, a typing-size keyboard. So the Classmate touchscreen net-book (I've just bought one, still in the box) isn't a "slate". It has a keyboard, but one for small hands. By me, the Samsung Q1 Ultra is a slate, although it has two halves of tiny keyboard either side of the screen. I think it also has a dog of a microprocessor but I may be mistaken.

    Due to disability I'm a full-time touchscreen user, with keyboard software called Fitaly. Since this is about half typing speed in my experience, I'm interested in speech recognition, which ought to be faster - and is built in to Vista, and I assume Windows 7. But I'm scraping these fine words onto Windows XP not-Tablet edition. Heigh-ho.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Haw Robert:

    Tablet is a bit of an ambiguous term. Is it a tablet drawing device, tablet that caters for additional needs of some software application or a tablet pc?

    I think a slate looks to be an old tablet pc but with more cloud, web 2.0-ness and connectivity than the old tablet pc.

    Have you seen


    It looks a stunning technology.

    Or maybe even an iSlate that does what a Wacom does when in tethered device mode yet operates as a slate computer when not tethered.

    The fusion that exists in these new devices is (on the surface) quite awesome.

  21. markp 1
    Thumb Up

    such short memories, it's the Diamond MP3man again ;)

    "In partnership with HP" ... aright :)

    So long as they can shift their silly firmware / driver bugs it should be a good, if unsexy, piece of kit. My TC4200 is still ticking after 3 + a bit years of abuse and actually at a usable speed - they didn't skimp on the components... but was STILL far cheaper than an equivalent non-touch Macbook.

    Once again Apple are coming late to an existing party, sexing up their offering a little, and then trying to make out that they actually started the whole thing.

    Incidentally let's hope that capacitative multi-touch and the inevitable effect of a million swipes with dirty fingers don't wear off the lustre of having a haptic-esque interface the same way that pen inaccuracy and eventual breakdown (plastic bodied styli just aren't meant to last more than a couple years) did for the oldskool type. It is at least a nice way of reading ebooks or watching films - start the thing going, spin and drop the screen into tablet mode, and use the side buttons for basic control.

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