Apparently Microsoft has more surprises up Steve Ballmer’s voluminous sleeves for this big event in NYC on October 11th. Not only will they be premiering Windows Phone 7, announcing the AT&T WP7 lineup AND the T-Mobile WP7 lineup…but Neowin is reporting that they will be finally letting us know how they intend to answer Apple’s iPad.
Neowin has it from a reliable source that even through the focus is on Windows Phone 7, Microsoft will take time to lay out their Tablet strategy. I know that when they canned the Courier project and the HP Slate went the way of all flesh, and then may have been resurrected, sort of…I began to think that Microsoft didn’t HAVE a Tablet strategy. Then when they started inviting iPad users to come to focus groups in Redmond to talk about what they liked about iPads, I KNEW Microsoft had no Tablet strategy to speak of.
However that may have changed recently.
Microsoft certainly gave their Mobile chief, Andy Lees, a vote of approval when they dropped the Interim from his title last week. I had assumed that that was mainly a good sign regarding the progress Windows Phone 7 had made, but perhaps it also indicates he has gotten the Tablet mess under control for Redmond as well.
I doubt we will see any actual Tablet hardware, but we will likely see more about the promised tweaking that Microsoft is doing to Windows 7 to make it more Tablet friendly, or perhaps get a preview of Windows 8 which is expected to be fully Touch enabled. We may even get hints that Redmond is reversing itself and may include WP7 on some Tablets after all, or at least more hints about a ZuneHD 2.
At a speech at the London School of Economics today Ballmer promised windows based Tablets by this Christmas (and I don’t think he meant the Archos 9) and stated:
You’ll see slates, but if you want most of the benefits of what a PC can offer, creating, a form factor that has been tuned over years, you’ll see us expand the footprint of what Windows can target.
I usually speak fairly fluent Microsoft, but even I am not entirely sure what he meant to say there…but it sounds good regarding Tablets. The fact that Microsoft is choosing to make comments about Tablets at the Oct 11th event also may indicate that AT&T and/or T-Mobile already signed on to support and subsidize any new devices.
Of course this is all pure speculation but if Neowin’s source is correct, this may turn out to be a very important event for Microsoft’s future.