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John Conwell: aka Turbo Research in the visual exploration of data

Despite what execs at Microsoft think, Windows 7 is NOT a tablet OS.  Just because you can install some software (or OS) on a device, doesn't mean that device is meant to run that software.  This seems to be the step that the non-engineer execs at Microsoft have seem to not understood. 

In order to seamlessly work with a device, the software needs to be designed with that device in mind.  That has been the problem with the Windows PDA platform, the Windows Mobil platform, and now with trying to force fit Windows 7 on a tablet.  Its just not designed for that style of interaction.  

Windows is designed to be interacted with via a mouse and keyboard.  In fact, it is brilliant at that.  But, It is NOT designed to be interacted with by your fingers.  And that is why the Windows tablet failed 10 years ago, and why it will fail today.  Its not the hardware's fault like Microsoft claimed 10 years ago.  Its the User Interaction design that failed.

And this is why the iPhone and Android OS's work wonderfully on a tablet.  The user interaction was designed for small screens, navigated by big fat fingers.  I love these OS's and how I interact with them.  And when I play with a touch screen Windows 7 device, I am feel like I'm playing with a brittle wana-be.  And its not the hardware's fault.  The touchscreen is very responsive.  I actually like the hardware.  But the OS and the software are just not designed to be interacted with, with my big fat fingers. 

In order to be successful, Microsoft needs to start from scratch, and build a platform AND SOFTWARE specifically for use by fingers.  Thats why everyone was so excited when they though Microsoft was going to release the Courier tablet.  Because it looked like a totally different platform.  Something that might actually work.  But Windows 7...I hate to burst your bubble, but you are not a touch platform.

Posted on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 9:21 AM Ramblings , Visualization | Back to top


Comments on this post: Win7 is not a tablet OS, no matter what the boys in Redmond think.

# re: Win7 is not a tablet OS, no matter what the boys in Redmond think.
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Hmmm... Multi-touch is recent - and not something that MS ever did with their tablet when it first came out. It was oriented towards Pen input. I don't know about you - but I find it fantastic for that. I take all my notes, mark up PDFs, draw on plots, etc., all the time using it.

Apple has redefined what "Tablet" means. The Tablet MS released did most of what it was supposed to. Just not that many people were into it. Now a days, if MS claims their stuff is as good as Apple's at doing what Apple defined as a tablet, then I agree with your comments. Apple's insite was figuring out what most people wanted, not what the small little segment (like myself) wanted.

As far as starting from scratch. As long as OneNote works and I can *WRITE* on it (not with my finger, mind you), it will be useful. It is likely the the first person to make a light-weight iPad like device that can do that, and I'll go. The HP Slate that was supposed to be W7 was perfect for me... But most people would probably hate it.

Please keep this in mind. When MS made the Tablet it was solving a different set of problems than Apple has solved with its stuff. MS is now stuck looking like an idiot because they used basically the same name, but Apple seems to have walked away with the pie. In reality, Apple went after a very different segment of the market - and it turns out, that was teh segment where the $$ was.
Left by Gordon on Jun 01, 2010 12:22 PM

# re: Win7 is not a tablet OS, no matter what the boys in Redmond think.
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I disagree. A number of years ago when Microsoft was pushing tablets, the touch screens were not that good. Now with multi-touch, the fingers can do everything that could be done with a mouse and then some.

How could a touchpad possibly work with Windows? You're using your fingers on the touchpad to do everything that is normally done with a mouse and it works great.

Can you give an example (or even better, a video) of an interaction that doesn't work for you?
Left by WayneB on Jun 01, 2010 12:57 PM

# re: Win7 is not a tablet OS, no matter what the boys in Redmond think.
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me also with wayne How could a touchpad possibly work with Windows?

You're using your fingers on the touchpad to do everything that is normally done with a mouse and it works great.
Left by MB2-632 on Dec 08, 2010 10:14 PM

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