InfoWorld wonders why HP's Slate tablet has been annihilated and why the company has decided to abandon Windows 7 and restructure the project around Palm's WebOS. The response that the iPad has shown that a tablet should not be just a laptop with a touchscreen but something different. A desktop operating system cannot work on a tablet and although Microsoft claims otherwise, Windows 7 is not suitable for touch-screen interaction: the movement and controls performed with the fingers are not as precise as those performed with the help of a mouse , and elements of a GUI designed from birth for use with a mouse are not suitable for use with the fingers.
"Microsoft must learn the lesson from Apple," says Infoword and needs a designer who designs essential parts of the interface, leaving aside panels, radio buttons (the "circular buttons" that allow you to make an exclusive choice in a month) , "Check boxes" (the graphic controls that allow the user to make multiple selections), dialog boxes and develop a system that takes into account touch and finger movements only. Microsoft has understood some of the mistakes made in the past and already in the coming platform Windows Phone 7 has separated the layers that manage movements and gestures, from the operating system.
Apple has cleverly been able to integrate the essential parts of Mac OS X into the iPhone OS, excluding what is not strictly necessary in a touch device. It has not tried to push an entire operating system into new devices, putting only the essential parts in the hands of developers and forcing them to redesign their applications according to the new devices.
There is an (wanted) inconsistency between applications designed for Mac OS X and applications for iPhone OS: Apple forces developers to think differently of desktop and mobile applications. Microsoft has not made this choice and the developers have been accustomed to thinking that they can design applications for Window CE / Mobile devices, like applications for Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7. Apple has forced the developers to conceive distinct, separate, different, different versions of the desktop and iPhone OS applications, an approach also copied by Google and that HP probably intuited, deciding to kill the Slate in the cradle and redesign it on the basis of the WebOS of Palm, more suitable for tablets and smartphones and turn to developers with a similar approach to the Apple ecosystem.
Will Microsoft and its partners understand the lesson? Asus and MSI will market tablets with Windows 7 by the end of the year, but Infoworld says in no uncertain terms that "they will not go anywhere", reiterating that it is an operating system simply not suitable for a tablet.
(By Mauro Notarianni)