We were hoping for an announcement of the rumored Courier, the dual screen tablet PC that would take the mobile computer industry by storm. Unfortunately, we had to settle for a regular old single screen tablet PC, though it does feature a touchscreen. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled a new slate PC from HP, complete with Windows 7 and mutli-touch capabilities that will be released later this year. Ballmer described it as “something that’s almost as portable as a phone and as powerful as a PC running Windows 7.” The prototype that he was using was running the Amazon Kindle software.
Could this be the Zeen product that HP filed a trademark for not long ago? Coinciding with this announcement from Microsoft, HP yesterday released the TouchSmart tm2, “a powerful, convertible, touch-enabled notebook PC”, and a few new Minis including the Mini 5102 which is also available with a touch-enabled screen. So is this the Zeen? We’re not sure for now, since Microsoft didn’t release a lot of details about the prototype slate PC that Ballmer featured on stage.
What we do know is that Microsoft isn’t quite ready to give up just yet. They’re staying on top of the competition by announcing these new tablet PCs and showcasing their own drool-worthy smartphone – the HTC HD2 which will (officially) be coming to T-Mobile. Not only that but Xbox Live is taking on a life of its own and bringing together the features that Microsoft offers through Zune, Windows 7, and Windows Mobile. According to the Microsoft Press Release, Live is a community of users now 20 million strong and about 1/3rd of the time spent on Live is with non-gaming activities. Microsoft is continuing to provide applications like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Last.fm, Sky, Canal and Zune so that people can use their Xbox “as a way to stay connected to friends and family.”
Another big announcement, Project Natal will be released in time for Christmas this year. Project Natal is Microsoft’s break through gaming experience that requires absolutely no controllers. (The “no controller” part also plays a roll in using features of Live as well.) There is no word yet on the price tag for Natal.
Basically, Microsoft is geared up for a war. They’re not backing down in the PC, tablet PC, smartphone, or gaming fields. In fact, they’re stepping it up a notch, offering consumers even more reasons to choose Microsoft. Not only is this nice for you, but it’s also a smart business plan – integrating each feature of the Microsoft experience. It’s not just about having their phone or their music player or their gaming system. It’s about bringing it all together and making everything work together, like an ecosystem.
What do you think? Is Microsoft really putting up a heavy fight? Or are they just shelling out products to keep people interested? What about Project Natal? Is it something you would consider purchasing for your Xbox 360? Drop a line in the comments or in our new forums.