Ballmer Promises that Windows 7 Tablets Are Coming ”Soon”

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that his company is working with Intel and device makers to produce tablet computers running the full version of Windows.

He was speaking at a meeting yesterday with analysts and press, and was responding to questions about Microsoft’s plans to compete with the Apple iPad. He promised that creating tablets with Windows 7 is “Job Number 1.”

Ballmer gave no additional details, aside from saying that all such devices will be based on Intel processors. This class of computers is expected to get a boost from the next generation of Atom chips, codenamed Oak Trail, which are scheduled to start shipping early next year. These will use less power than their predecessors.

He said Windows 7-based tablets are coming soon, but wouldn’t say exactly when, as he’s not sure if it’s going to be “really, really soon or just really, pretty soon.” The head of Microsoft has said previously that the first such products will be available in time for the holiday shopping season.

No Compromises
Apple’s iPad is selling by the million, and a number of companies are looking to Google’s Android OS to compete because hardware requirements are much lower than for a desktop OS. An Android-based tablet could run easily on a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM, a configuration that would choke Microsoft Windows.

There are drawbacks, however; the Android OS does not have the power or flexibility of Microsoft’s desktop OS. And there are quite a few potential customers who want a tablet computer without the compromises required by Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android OS. This group is looking to Microsoft to make what they want a reality.

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