I purchased some of the Samsung Series 7 Slate PC’s from the online Microsoft store. The computer comes with Windows 7, which is touch-enabled, and uses a stylus as well as your finger. It’s only single touch, though. We bought them to promptly install the Windows 8 developer preview. I believe Windows 8 will be a huge catalyst for upgrading inside businesses everyone. Many business users have looked at their personal iPads hoping for the day where they could carry around a tablet computer and still run all their old software. With Windows 8, they will be able to.
The mobile space has brought a lot of discussion to our industry for what “normal” is. The mouse and pointer fundamentally changed the way people used computers. Now, the pointer is the touch, and you can have many of them (multi-touch). The fundamentals of computing are changing again.
About 13 years ago, you saw some people carrying around a watch, a cell phone, a PDA, and a heavy laptop computer. We have seen the watch, cell phone and PDA converge into a single device, the smart phone. Fewer and fewer people wear wristwatches these days. 13 years ago, people who used heavy laptops also had fully-featured desktop computers. Now, they have a laptop for all of their computing needs. The iPad has proven that thin-computing devices can help perform many tasks that we have grown accustomed to using laptops for. Some people proclaim “thin clients are here to stay”. I don’t think that’s true. I think that we are in a temporary transition state where thin tablets are pulling laptops to a smaller form factor. With Windows 8, the thin tablet can now do just about everything that was possible with the laptop computer. Gamers and CAD engineers will continue to use specialized computers, but the vast number of business users will find all their needs met with a single tablet computer running Windows 8. It’s not a far stretch to imagine a laptop dock for the tablet for easy keyboard use in meetings. Back in the office, a normal dock connects the tablet computer with a full-sized keyboard and mouse for entrenched business applications like SAP or Oracle financials.
Needless to say, we are very excited about the transition to multi-touch computing. We think many businesses will be upgrading their software to work on Windows 8.