Fujitsu relieves Ballmer's iPad pressure
Tablets for businesses, not for fun
It became clear, though, the army of Windows pads being raised wouldn't deploy in full force until 2011, with the delivery of Intel's Oak Trail generation of Atom chips.
Today, Microsoft's chief executive is sweating a little less profusely thanks to PC and server partner Fujitsu, which has named April as the planned release month for the STYLISTIC Q550 - an Oak Trail slate running Windows 7.
This is no mass-market answer to Apple's iPad, however: Fujitsu has described the device as an "executive-class" machine that's "designed for the high-security requirements of mobile enterprise computing."
Fujitsu claims using Windows 7 will make it easier for enterprise IT departments to manage and secure this machine than invaders from the consumer side of life, running iOS or Android.
"As enterprises struggle to keep consumer smart phones and tablets off their corporate networks to avoid security breaches, Fujitsu is taking an alternative approach with the introduction of a companion device designed for maximum interoperability with business environments," the company said in its press release announcing the device.
Features include a full "workday" battery and anti-glare 10.1-inch screen for use indoors and out, while on-the-road networking is via WLAN, Bluetooth and the option of mobile broadband 3G/UMTS. There's also digital fingerprint recognition, a docking station, the choice of stylus-based input, and the machine packs 2GB of RAM and 64GB SSD.
Fujitsu's machine will join a trickle of slates - that's iPad-like slate rather than hybrid device with a keyboard that converts to a slate - running Windows 7. HP Slate shipped last year, also for business types. Tablets running Windows 7 and Oak Trail are promised from Dell and Lenovo "later this year". ®
That they should claim to use Windows because it's more secure must be a joke.
Tablet computers versus iPAD/Phone
I was about to purchase an Apple iPAD as a birthday present for my wife. I went down to the Apple store with $1000 in my pocket last week and took a careful look at it. There's no denying that it's a nice piece of hardware with a wonderful human interface. As with the Mac it uses a variant of BSD for the operating system. But.... Is it a computer?
The iPAD is programmable and usable as a computer in the same fashion that a Sony PS3 is. You have to jail-break it to run your own programs. Your only source for programming is to buy from Apple. The iPAD is a glorified, much enhanced Nintendo DSi.
Tablet computers, even if they run some version of Windows, are not locked into a one manufacturer support base. I can buy from Microsoft, Adobe or even Apple and there is some competition involved. If I get tired of Win/7, I can upgrade to Linux (probably). This is a computer that does what I want it to do, not a proprietary controller that does what some faceless marketing group thinks I want done.
For my wife, this may be enough. The thousand dollars is still in my pocket while I try to decide. I suppose that the Apple fans will be all over me for this posting, but in this case Windows 7 really is better.
Press Release.. Eh?
"As enterprises struggle to keep consumer smart phones and tablets off their corporate networks to avoid security breaches..."
Oh, so that's what you need to breach security on Microsoft platforms? An Android/iOS device? How does that work?
Or does security breaches mean employees playing angry birds when they shouldn't?
In my experience most security breaches occur when infected Windows machines connect to corporate networks (Microsoft ones) without adequate protection mechanisms or architecture in place. See, that sounds like a reason to use an Android/iOS device instead of Microsoft ones.
I'm not anti Microsoft, I'm excited about IE9 and love Windows 7, but I really don't think they thought very hard about that comment.
Securing windows slates?
"Fujitsu claims using Windows 7 will make it easier for enterprise IT departments to manage and secure this machine than invaders from the consumer side of life, running iOS or Android."
This means endless policy updates doing silly things like... Stopping you from changing the screen background colour/image
Eh? I hear you say.
I was hauled over the coals recently for 'fixing' this. I was given a formal warning becaus this was considered to be a security threat despite being given Admin access to install... wait for it....
Software to generate Security keys...
Maybe just the Apple 'KOOL* stamp of approval?
The one thing Apple manages to do through its horde of evangelistic fanbois is make that which was important non-important.
Form factor was a big inhibitor to earlier tablets as people did not know how to hold them when typing. It became clear that other than the 'touch based input', they were less convenient to use for any kind of text entry - at least a laptop could balance on your lap as you typed on the keyboard.
The 'Apple KOOL Factor' (as in KOOLAID) seems to have made people more tolerant and open to the idea - even though people trying to use them for the same use-cases complain of 'hover strain' using on screen keyboards and the awkwardness of placing them for usage.
Apple has very successfully confused mass consumer market devices with the always 'enterprise first' MS approach of old. Today the lines are blurred as people intend to use their work laptops for entertainment too ... so why not use entertainment devices for work? Beside for what you would pay for a laptop or tablet 6/7 years ago you CAN buy both.
My boss is a classic example with the form factor problems that were so widely publicised about the original MS tablets.
He is a self-confessed fanboy who rushed out to buy an iPad. He now happily tells everybody how he now leaves his latop at work and only takes his iPad home or travelliong on short trips. BUT, when pressed, he will confess that it is actually *less* convenient for replying to emails quickly than even his iPhone i.e. he can use his iPhone with one hand, without a surface to prop the device on while typing etc.
--> So in reality, the issues haven't really changed - just the perception. Better UIs for touch *may* help, but that is mainly for navigation - not doing 'work'.
So we have mass confusion in a world where these types of devices were the preserve of enterprise and business -- now we see 'dumber' devices being designed for the far bigger consumer market with a far more entertainment centric use case drowning out the business/enterprise requirements.
--> My prediction is that new 'Slates' for business usage will ultimately fail for the same reasons as before -- because the slate form factor is best for enter/info-tainment and NOT productivity work.