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Yes people, a tablet IS a PC!

Last week, I read an article by NetworkWorld’s Jon Brodkin where he took issue with Microsoft's Andy Lees’ assertion that Microsoft views Tablets, aka slate-form factor devices, as PCs. He made some arguments that while seemingly on point, don’t hold water.

In the first place, he cites articles by TechCrunch’s John Biggs and ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, as well as a tweet by former Canonical person, Matt Assay.

Right off the bat, we can dismiss anything by Assay, since, well, he doesn’t know sh’t about Windows. And as President Obama once said, “I like to know of things of which I speak.,” someone should tell Matt that little saying, and implore him to leave Windows arguments to his betters.

Biggs semi-waffles in his piece, and then comes to the point he desperately wanted to make: Windows under the hood is a bad thing. Gee, thanks, John. Anyone who bring that up as a valid excuse should be disregarded, because it shows sycophancy in their line of thought.

Of the three citations, only Mary Jo has a pedigree observing Microsoft. While her trepidation is duly noted, it should be taken with the realization that while the forthcoming Windows 8 slate devices would run current-day Windows apps, the method of delivery is still up in the air.

Jon goes on to let us know his reasoning. This I like, for it shows that he at least, gave it some thought. Unfortunately, his assumptions, while well intentioned, are wrong. Let me point out a few:

Jon Brodkin, NetworkWorld: The only tablets on the market today that are full PCs are Windows 7 tablets, and they are failures. Microsoft is adding a new tablet-optimized interface to Windows 8 that will run in addition to the traditional Windows interface, but it doesn't make sense to jam a full PC operating system into a device that is more ideal for consumption, rather than creation of content. HP already realized this when it shifted from Windows tablets to the TouchPad, based on WebOS.

Wrong assumption #1: In actuality, Microsoft is creating a tablet version of Windows 8 optimized to work on SoC and lower powered devices. It does make sense to create a new class of functional devices that do not ape the iPad. To do so would be foolish, and force Microsoft to play in Apple’s sandbox.

By expanding the utility of slate devices to include full Windows functionality, Microsoft would be attempting to redefine the battlefield for tomorrow, instead of fighting today’s battle.

HP’s WebOS strategy seems sound. It now controls its entire mobiles stack. Yet, it has completely underwhelmed me. While the products are quite good, from what I have seen so far, it hasn’t swept through the world like wildfire. And it is based on Linux, traditionally a fail for consumer-friendly computing.

However, I am at a loss as to why it is okay for WebOS to be a Linux variant, while Windows – yes, mighty Windows – is looked at askance by the same yum-yums who give Linux a passing grade.

And while the tech windbags seem to be especially adroit at getting their cattle to procure the latest Android devices, the user experience is toast, from a general consumer’s point of view. The contrast in user-friendliness between either Windows Phone 7 devices or the iPhone and any Android phone is telling, a problem that has jumped to tablet devices as well. For no matter how polished the Linux-based devices look, they fall short when regular humans, or even the tech punditry’s proletariat, try to use it for everyday tasks.

Into that breach would come Windows 8, with a new, fully touch-enabled user interface, and most importantly, total support for current apps, and complete fidelity for users’ data.

JB: Applications like QuickOffice, and Bluetooth keyboards let tablet owners do a bit of work in a pinch, when they're not near a full computer. But the appeal of the devices is an easy-to-use operating system combined with apps that let you watch movies, play games, and read articles in fancy news aggregators like Pulse and Flipboard. Work on a tablet, or a phone, is usually a quick edit to a document, not creating a complicated spreadsheet.

Wrong assumption #2: This statement perpetuates the assumption that tablet users only want to consume content. Not true. Even with the iPad2, tablets are being used for content creation. Windows tablets would definitely need to do more.

Moreover, how do you persuade people to go from a serious app like Microsoft Office to a dilettante program like QuickOffice or the like while maintaining productivity?

Here, Jon is conflating the use of outliers with that of people who might purchase slates to actually be productive.

Microsoft isn’t focused on the demise of the PC. They are making sure that Tablet users achieve close to the same level of productivity as desktop users.

Google Cloud Print??? Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me? So, in order to print a document to a local printer, I have to be connected to the internet, whereby, I send the document over to Google's cloud, before it makes the trip back to the printer that is 2 feet away from me? Why, pray tell, is this “A Good Thing”?

I maintain that the Fujitsu booth drone is either a complete moron, or that everyone avoid Fujitsu tablets going forward.


The booth drone is either incompetent: I have never seen a functioning Windows computer take more than 70 seconds to bootup from the cold, and my experience with Fujitsu’s convertible laptops, of which we had a couple at MedikLabs, showed that 2-minute time to be far-fetched.

If, Microsoft is specifying a 3.5-minute cold bootup for slate computers for the Windows 8 era, then Microsoft is trying to build a fail into the devices. Even a minute is unacceptable.

JB: If Windows 8 tablets crash and force a restart as often as Windows desktops do, sign me up for an iPad.

That final sentence is totally unworthy, and shows a lack of experience with Windows 7 systems. I appoint myself to be Jon’s sensei, as he attempts to find his way back to the Dark Side.

So, yes, folks: a tablet or slate form factor computing device is a PC, which stands for personal computer, since the devices tend to be both personal, and are computing devices. No matter what Steve Jobs says it is!

Follow johnobeto on Twitter

Reader Comments (1)


People still say "PC vs Mac" for example, because they can't come to grips that a Mac Os-based computer is a PC (Personal Computer).

Thanks to the Apple marketing dept for creating the chasm, making hipster culture cool and other stuff. And now they are moving to tablets.

It's a Personal Computer. It's a computer. My phone is a computer.

As for the restart, seriously, some people have been using Mac OS for too long and keep repeating tales that may have been true ten, fifteen years ago...
July 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM Freitas

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