Microsoft Re-re-re-relaunches Tablet

If Microsoft keeps introducing the tablet, will they finally get it right?  We’re about to find out. At next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, MS will present what, by our count, is its fourth tablet.  Not v. 4 of the same tablet, mind you – the fourth of four different machines.

The presentation will be made by MS’s CEO Steve Ballmer, and this time the company does expect to get it right.  The only problem is that another Steve got his tablet out first and has a multimillion unit lead.

Presumably by next month there will be a name for Ballmer’s device. The first, launched about a decade ago, didn’t really have one.  Then came the HP Tablet, released less than a month before the other Steve released his, but the HP flopped.  Then came the Courier. Came – and went. In April 2010 Microsoft announced that it would no longer support the Courier.

How will the No-Name differ from its Apple rival?

The device, manufactured by Samsung, is “similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin,” writes Nick Bolton of the New York Times.  “It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.” It will run on the Windows 7 OS “but will also have a layered interface that will appear when the keyboard is hidden and the device is held in a portrait mode.” One source speculates it will run on something called Windows 8.

The marketing strategy may tilt in the direction of business applications. Has Apple left that niche open? “The company believes there is a huge market for business people who want to enjoy a slate for reading newspapers and magazines and then work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work,” said one observer.

If it feels like you’ve heard this story before, well, you have. Read Microsoft Snoozed its Way through Tablet Revolution.

Richard Curtis

Every Blogger owes a debt of gratitude to newspapers and magazines. This posting relies on original research and reporting performed by The New York Times.

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