If there is one device that can be credited to have given a new lease of life to the once defunct tablet PC segment almost singlehandedly, then it has to be the Apple’s iPad. And how! For the iPad has gone on to become a sensation overnight (or maybe even before that) and the most sought after tablet device worldwide. It has been selling at more than a million units a months and the demand seems to grow stronger by the day. With the iPad, Apple is raking in the moolah left, right, and center.
Of course, the other big players in the computing segment can’t sit and watch Apple walk away with the tablet trophy and the one who can be considered to be making the most noises though unfortunately with the least to show off by way of actual development is perhaps Microsoft. “They’ve sold certainly more than I’d like them to sell, let me just be clear about that,” is how Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO has reacted to the Apple’s iPad show so far. But he believes it;s for the short term and that Microsoft will soon be taking over the reins from Apple. He is citing the example of Linux and the way it was in the lead for netbooks, and he is predicting a similar fate for Apple’s iOS which he thinks is there for a little while with the future belonging to Windows 7.
Ballmer revealed his company is collaborating with a few hardware partners so as to come up with suitable tablet devices which are likely to be powered by the forthcoming Oak Trail chips from Intel. Oak Trail is the dual-core version of Intel’s Atom chip meant for use in mobile devices like tablet PCs and is due to be launched next year. The biggest advantage with the Oak Trail chips is that they come with more processing power while drawing significantly less from the battery and allows for a smooth playback of video files or for an extremely fast web browsing experience.
Microsoft has also recently entered into a licensing agreement with ARM Holdings Plc that will allow the software giant to create their own versions of the popular ARM chips which can be included in future Windows 7 based tablets. Apple too is using its own customized version of the ARM chip for its iPad tablet.
It can be mentioned here that Microsoft has never seen or could replicate the success that has come Apple’s way in spite of their Windows OS being in the tablet business since 2002. But Ballmer seems unfazed.
“We’re coming. We’re coming full guns,” said Ballmer. “Today, one of the top issues on my mind is ‘hey there’s a category we have had Windows on for a long time and Apple’s done an interesting job of putting together a synthesis and putting a product out,’” is what Ballmer had to say.
Ballmer isn’t reading too much into the huge influx of the Android or Chrome based tablets. “Bring it, we relish the competition. If we can’t compete with whatever the weird collection of Android machines is going to look like, shame on us,” said Ballmer of tablet operating systems coming from the Google camp.
However, unfortunately, Ballmer could not come up with a specific timeline of when we can expect the iPad slaying tablets to enter market.
“They’ll be shipping as soon as they’re ready,” is all what Ballmer had to say before assuring, “This is Job 1 around here. Nobody is sleeping at the switch.”