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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftoperating systemswindows phone 7softwareWindowsWindows 7hardware systemstablet PCslaptops

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?