Microsoft: No Windows Phone 7 for tablets on horizon

Microsoft will continue to adapt its PC operating system, Windows 7, for tablets

Microsoft does not have immediate plans to port the Windows Phone 7 mobile OS to tablets, a company official said on Monday.

Windows Phone 7 is designed for small-screen devices such as smartphones and is not designed to work with larger screen devices, said Greg Sullivan, senior product manager at Microsoft, at the Windows Phone 7 launch event in New York.

The company will instead continue to adapt its PC operating system, Windows 7, to tablets as it offers a rich application experience and touch-based capabilities, Sullivan said. Tablets require a more PC-like experience, and it makes sense to design a low-power version of Windows 7 to work on tablets, he said.

The strategy puts Microsoft at odds with some of its biggest competitors in the mobile phone market, which are already making inroads in the new tablet segment. Apple's iPad carries the same iOS architecture core that powers the iPhone. A number of device makers, including Samsung, have announced tablets based on Android, which was designed for mobile phones. Research In Motion recently said it plans to introduce a tablet built on a new operating system that is expected to run its BlackBerry phones in the future.

Tablets are designed to combine e-reading, gaming, Web surfing and video capabilities on a single handheld device. Users of tablets like the iPad say that the mobile operating systems offer advantages over traditional computer OSes, like instant on and access to an existing application store.

But Sullivan argues that there are advantages to using Windows 7 on tablets instead of the phone software. Windows 7 brings a stronger set of networking and printing capabilities than Windows Phone 7, which is a much slimmer OS, he said. The stronger software and driver stack in Windows 7 will also make it easier for tablets to talk to a larger range of hardware devices, he said.

Also, stretching an OS like Windows Phone 7 means that applications designed for smaller screens won't look good on the larger screens, Sullivan said.

Some tablet makers say they are implementing Windows 7 because of the capability to run a wider set of applications. Hewlett-Packard has said it will release a tablet with Windows 7, which is targeted at the enterprise. Dell has also shown off a convertible tablet with Windows 7.

Microsoft has also previewed Windows Compact Embedded 7, which has been shown on embedded systems like tablets and is scheduled for release to manufacturing this quarter.

Samsung talked to Microsoft about using Windows Phone 7 on tablets, but was told that such plans were not on Microsoft's road map, said Ray Vinson, senior manager of enterprise mobility, strategy and product planning at Samsung Telecommunications America.

Microsoft may have decided to focus on ensuring that the OS works properly on smartphones or may have found some limitations to doing so and decided against it, he said.

Despite Microsoft's intentions, one analyst thought Windows Phone 7 has potential on tablets.

The Windows Phone 7 user interface is ideally suited for tablets, said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for consumer technology at NPD. The panorama view capability extends the screen beyond its normal confines, allowing users to horizontally slide through content either in portrait or landscape mode.

He suspects that Microsoft may look at new form factors with upcoming versions of Windows Phone 7, but that it probably decided to initially focus on getting the mobile phone launch right. "That is the largest device category in the world. It's very important Microsoft be strong there, so that was the first priority," Rubin said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindowshardware systemswindows phone 7tablet PCsWindows 7softwarelaptopsoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?