Microsoft may have killed off its long-gestating Courier tablet, but that doesn’t mean it’s given up on the burgeoning tablet market altogether. At least according to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.
Last week saw Microsoft kill off the Courier, its dual-screen touch and stylus tablet device. The Courier was, until that point, merely a rumored product, but Microsoft confirmed it at the same time as canning it.
Rumors emerged the same day that Hewlett-Packard had canned the HP Slate, its Windows 7-powered tablet. However, that hasn’t been confirmed, and even if it is true it’s likely that the change will be in the operating system, with WebOS replacing Windows 7 thanks to HP’s recent acquisition of Palm.
As John Lister stated recently, there are still many Windows-powered tablets in development, with two new would-be iPad challengers emerging from Asia.
And now, according to TechFlash, it looks as though Microsoft may still be working on tablet devices, with Bill Gates recently telling the Fox Business Network:
Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we’re pursuing. We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time.
So, not only is Microsoft working on multiple tablet devices, it hasn’t yet given on the pen input method.
Bill Gates has been an advocate of the pen or stylus as the input method of choice for tablets for over a decade now. And he’s clearly still banging that same drum. But consumers rejected stylus tablets the first time around, and the success of the iPad, with Apple having sold 1 million units in just 28 days, surely shows that it’s touch and hand gestures that people are comfortable with.
I’m glad that Microsoft is still working on tablet devices, but I don’t quite understand the obsession with styluses. Maybe Ballmer and co. are telling Gates pen tablets still figure in the company’s plans just to keep him happy.