If You Want It Done Right Do It Yourself? Microsoft Surface

Today after much speculation and drama around a mystery launch event in Los Angeles,
Microsoft unveiled a Microsoft Tablet. It’s not the first time that Redmond has sold
hardware. I currently make use of a Microsoft mouse end webcam, and have a keyboard
or two around here somewhere. There’s also the Xbox 360 and Kinect. Then there is
also the Zune, ZuneHD, and I think at one point in time way back even a Microsoft
cordless phone along the way somewhere. So yes, they have seem some mixed results
in their efforts.

Microsoft relies heavily on partners to make their products a success. From building
the software to run on them to building the hardware to run on, partners have played
a key role along the way. HP, Dell, any many other computer manufacturers would be
very different companies today, or maybe not even exist if they had not been able
to build and sell product running Windows.

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With partnerships playing such a key role, there is something to be said for not stepping
on the toes of those partners and turning them against you. Some have said that Microsoft
getting into the hardware game could have that effect, and turn manufacturers away
from building for Windows. I truly hope the opposite is true however, and hardware
manufacturers take this as an opportunity to raise the bar and deliver products above
and beyond what Microsoft has put forward here. I’ve long been a fan of Tablet PC’s,
going way back to my Toshiba m200 and Samsung Q1, but those devices have never truly
had the ideal combination of hardware and software to provide the best experience
possible.

I’ve felt as if many manufacturers gave into Microsoft and agreed to ship a couple
of higher priced models with “that tablet stuff” on them, but never really embraced
the platform. With iPad sales increasing and PC sales decreasing you wouldn’t think
that those manufacturers would need additional reasons to innovate to keep their marker
share in the “post PC era”, but apparently they do.

It’s a bold move, but I’m glad that Microsoft has put enough skin in the game to showcase
what can be done, and not just in a prototype but a shipping product. If Samsung,
HP, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and others show up to the game with better products
that innovate in features and design the entire ecosystem will benefit. If they don’t
show up, and least there’s a serious product out there for running Win8 on a tablet.

For more, visit the Microsoft
Surface Website

 

Tablet PC: The InkAnalysis API

According to Gavin:

Tablet PC:
The InkAnalysis API has RTM’d and the download is LIVE!

“new InkAnalysis API which integrates layout analysis with handwriting recognition
(and exposes new capabilities and features). So far, I’ve pointed developers to the
“Windows Vista SDK for RC1” to install the InkAnalysis API. I’m very excited to announce
that the InkAnalysis API has now RTM’d and can be installed via the new addendum
to the last  Tablet PC Platform SDK (1.7). This new release is called the “Input
Supplement” and its version is 1.7.5.”

 

Blogging from Vista on my M200 Tablet PC


 
One
of the items on my list of things to do before heading to PDC was to install the latest
Vista Beta available through MSDN. Today I noticed that recently the Tablet PC Input
Panel (TIP) for Vista has also been released recently, which was the final push I
needed to install the
Vista
on my Toshiba M200 Tablet PC.


 

I am pleased to report that the
install went amazingly well. I clicked next a few times and before I knew it, my video
card and other devices drivers were being successfully recognized and
Vista
running. One more double-click to install the TIP and
Vista
was Ink enabled on my M200. Very nice! I give the user experience of the install an
A+.


 

On this topic there is a very informative
advertising insert in in the October 2005 MSDN Magazine “The Evolution of Tablet PC
Technologies in Microsoft Windows Vista”. It provides some answers to many questions
on the future of the Tablet PC. When people heard that Microsoft was no longer going
to brand a Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, some worried that the Tablet PC was going
away. Others of us hoped that this meant that the features of the Tablet PC edition
functionality would just be a part of Windows, enabled when the appropriate hardware
was attached. This article explains “In Windows Vista, Tablet PC shifts into the mainstream.
Ink becomes more ubiquitous, integrating indirectly into the presentation subsystem
in Windows Presentation Foundation”


 

In Windows Vista, there will apparently
be three parallel technology stacks for Ink: Com, Windows Forms, and Windows Presentation
Foundation (Formerly know as Avalon). This is very exciting news for Tablet PC developers,
users, as well as every future user of Windows Vista.

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