Don’t give up on us baby, who-o-oa

It seems that Omar Shahine is giving up his Tablet for another mobile PC. I don’t understand Omar, what could be so attractive about saving your eyesight that would cause you to dump your Tablet?

Seriously though, it’s an important piece of feedback for us on the team (at Microsoft, actually) to learn a) that people are switching away from our product(s); and b) why they switch. A lot has been said about why people switch OS’s or why people switch browsers/ISPs, but I don’t think much has been made of “why did you dump your Xbox for <console>”, “why did you give up on your ‘elite’ keyboard” or “why did you dump your Tablet”.

Thanks for the conciliatory note at the end Omar. There are a few models today that have really nice screens (e.g. Lenovo (IBM) X41, Motion’s Le1600 with ViewAnywhere), but I understand your concern. I am glad that you at least considered replacing your m200 with another Tablet. You too should understand that there are people who greatly desire the thick plastic protective coating (e.g. me, when I bring a work Tablet home for the kids to play with) and might find the brighter screens too glare-prone the 85% of the time they’re used indoors, under fluorescent lighting.  I truly am thankful for the variety of choices I have in the computing universe.

Readers: If you’ve read this far, you are a dedicated Tablet person.  If you’ve ever dumped a Tablet, or if you’ve never bought one, why? The Tablet OEMs do listen to feedback from us on the team, and any feedback you give now is likely to still be considered for the Vista wave of Tablets.

Comments (13)

  1. I’ve considered a tablet, I’ve held one, I’ve played with one and still thought no. Why?

    1) The cost. Yes I realise they should have a premimum attached to them due to their differing hardware, but …

    2) The specs. The range of tablets in the UK is dire. Really. Seriously under specified, slow processors, tiny screens, tiny hard drives, lack of bluetooth in a lot of cases. Combine this with the cost and it’s simply not worth paying more to get a lot less. Compare the Toshiba Tablet range in the US, where you can customise the processor, amount of memory and so on with the UK Toshiba tablet range were you get, errr, one.

    3) The manufacturers. Toshiba again is the problem. When I was shopping IBM didn’t have one, Toshiba seemed the only option. But Toshiba don’t talk to end users. Ever. Need support? You can’t email them. Need something fixed? You need to go to a third party? Want on-site hardware support? Nope, companies only.

    4) The screen size and resolutions. I’m with Omar. The screens on the tablets I’ve seen are awful. My eyesight is bad. So bad that even laser surgey isn’t going to help. Tablet screens are small, low res and hard to read. Heck, even on my "wide screen" Toshiba VS2005 is hard to use because there isn’t enough screen real estate. I can’t picture using it in 1024×768 or 1400×1050. I’m having to think about upgrading my machine now simply for VS2005 to get a decent amount of screen, and I’m going to have to go for something like Dell’s very high resolution, which is horrible because windows doesn’t cope well with the non-standard DPI, dialogs get squashed or lose text.

    Oh and Omar is right about the crap Toshiba put on my machine. Even on my M30 there are 12 Toshiba processes running. I only have 3 custom buttons and the FN hotkeys. I only use one of them, swap to external monitor. Oh and try getting updates in the UK for hardware drivers. Not going to happen for about 6 months after the drivers are released. The amount of OEM drivers I have installed simply because Toshiba and their "We won’t talk to you attitude" also extends to supporting you with updated drivers.

    I think you’ll find that people are turned off not by the tablet concept but by the hardware execution and the suppliers.

  2. edge says:

    I’ve been tempted to buy a TabletPC, but the main reasons not done has been:

    1. The cost: when will be available a cheap tablet PC for about $1000?.

    2. Too few models with too few variables in the specs.

    3. Big manufacturers (i.e. Dell) not selling/pushing to sell them. I’m no saying I would buy a Dell TabletPC, but I think if big players play the game, the play gets better.

  3. roland says:

    I dumped my TabletPC about a month ago. Reasons:

    1. Cost. I am not to picky on cost since my main computers are MACs but some of the prices are ridiculous. Does Motion need to charge $2800 for a slate with no keyboard or cover?

    2. Toshiba. I bought a tecra m4 and in 3 days I sent it back. There was so much bloatware on the computer I wanted to cry.

    3. Microsoft. Why does microsoft not give us consumers a copy of windows xp tablet? We pay for the license we should get the CD. Every 6 months or so I like to reformat my hard drive and start clean but I could not do it with my tablet.

    4. Manufactures Warranty. I would like reasonably priced accidental screen damage protection coverage. Fujitsu charges close to $600 for 3 years of this.

    5. 3rd party software. Is there any? Not much. All of the best software comes from microsoft itself.

    6. Form factor. I would like a nice speedy machine with an integrated optical drive that doesn’t weigh 6+ pounds.

    Until microsoft and manufactures decide to get serious about tablets why should I. I have heard good things about vistas tablet functionality. Maybe I will wait till then. Maybe Apple will make a tablet : )

  4. michael says:

    Our organization buys everyone a notebook. We have never purchased a tablet:

    1. Too expensive price/performance comparison.

    2. Have to be 14.1" screen that does 1400×1050.

    3. We are standardized on HP. Not comfortable buying from Fujitsu or some of what I would consider "fringe" manufacturers.

    4. Not convinced the tablet would make any of our employees more efficient. Heck, I see MS employees all the time with their tablets – never see them using them any differently than I use my notebook.

  5. I’ll probably give up my tablet in the future one way or another with the way it is being made atm.

    to be frank. the notebooks suck.

    * my m200 lcd mask has broken 3 times. the lcd is fine but the plastic cover is WAY too delicate.

    * i’ve made a disc for it to install tablet pc clean. but now i cant find all the drivers for it. especially changing bluetooth on ( how do i do it now it used to be fn+f8 )

    * on my m200 the lcd sucks, you cant look at it straight the colour changes… i love the resolution, thats why i got it. but the lcd sucks!!!

    * generally a very loose range of hardware. ( in UK anyway )

    * for toshiba support. you have to outsource. its very poor ( takes about 2-3 months for triage services in newport to fix a shattered lcd mask. )

    basically the hardware vendors are letting down the tablet pc. not microsoft.

    i bet if someone designed a decent looking tablet it’d be used by more students/home users too. the only one i think looks good is the hp/compaq tc1100/tc1000.

    but again they have outdated technology and they are being phased out by the convertable tc4200 ( which again imo looks too corporate ).

    which reminds me the sahara i215 tablet looks good but WHERE DO YOU BUY ONE?! i mean is that even marketed?!

    cant ya tell i love the tablet pc? 😛 i think i’m like scoble 😀

  6. Hans Andersen says:

    I shelved my TC1100 for a 12" PowerBook.

    – Better screen, battery life, and overall performance on the PowerBook

    – Brain-dead-simple s-video output on the Powerbook – great for playing movies. Also, the TC1100 won’t power an external display at >1280×1024; I learned this *after* I got a 1600×1050 widescreen.

    – Much better battery life

    (and here’s the big one)

    – Much better software experience. Windows that never stop responding to mouse clicks, even when an app is hung. UI that displays itself all-at-once, with no half-painted controls lying around the screen. Multitasking is responsive even under heavy software load. Windows XP just can’t provide an experience that’s comparable to OS X.

    Two months later, I sold the PowerBook and retrieved the TC1100 from the closet:

    – OSX had nothing that compared to OneNote, and I realized how much I’d grown dependent on OneNote.

    – Ditto with document and website reading in portrait orientation

    – Ditto with the "human-centric" interaction of the pen; most of the time I write "notes to self" with my keyboard, but the 20% of the time that I want to really express myself without thinking about the technology, that’s what the pen is for.

    Ultimately, the whole "natural interaction" of the tablet won out for me. I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping that Vista will bring the Windows software experience closer to what I love about the Mac OS.

  7. MSDN Archive says:

    These are excellent comments, btw.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences and I am in turn poking the User eXperience people and Program Managers to see what traction we can make.

  8. I didn’t exactly ditch my tablet, but I did buy a Toshiba Satellite laptop with a 17" LCD which quickly became my primary computer. Reason? Because I am a developer and I wanted horsepower and screen real-estate more than portability. At least I thought I did. I couldn’t live without the Tablet PC so I wound up keeping both and keeping (rather trying to keep) them both in sync.

    This got old real quick and then it hit me… what I really needed was a big monitor (Dell 24" LCD, DVI) and a lightweight slate tablet with a big hard drive. The Motion LE1600 was the only tablet offering DVI so I got it. However, without the ISV discount, it would have been far too expensive.

    With that said, I am *much* much much happier now with one machine to maintain and when I am at my desk, I have a nice 1920×1200 desktop environment and I can just grab it and go and I’ve still got my portability.

  9. It seems that Omar Shahine is giving up his Tablet for another mobile PC. I don’t understand Omar, what could be so attractive about saving your eyesight that would cause you to dump your Tablet? Seriously though, it’s an important piece of feedback fo