I have been following the discussions on the web (online magazines) and it is amazing how negative the views are of Microsoft ever getting any decent Tablet PC’s, running Windows 7, to the market in time to gain any decent market share.
Ok, Windows is a resource hog, I’ll admit to that. Yet Windows has a long and rich history with a huge user base and a huge developer base. Windows should be the major player in the Tablet market. So why isn’t it ?
From my perspective, there are two key issues. First, Windows requires some powerful hardware to run on and currently its hard to get decent CPU’s which can run Windows, and yet have a decent amount of battery life. Ok, maybe a Windows Tablet won’t have as long a battery life as say an android Tablet will, but is that the only criteria for a decent tablet ? Absolutely not! A Tablet PC is not a cell phone, or at least it shouldn’t be viewed as one. If you want a Tablet simply to use as a cell phone, then buy a better phone or buy an Android tablet, but don’t consider it a PC. Its an over grown phone. Even if you want a tablet for web browsing, then again, don’t think of it as a PC, but think of it as a web device.
If you want a real PC (Personal Computer) which is a Tablet, then Windows is a much better operating system. Windows has been and always will be a computer operating system, rather than a personal device operating system. The Tablet PC though, limits what kind of hardware you can put into it, so the next generation of Intel chips (ie. Sandy bridge) is what we are waiting for. This will improve the battery life and speed, so the Tablet can keep up with Windows. So the hardware is coming and when it gets here, Windows should be able to shine on Tablet PC’s.
The real problem is the software. Software needs to be designed specifically for Tablet PC’s, so they can run well within the limits of a Tablets hardware. So whats the problem ?
The problem is the mindset of Windows software developers and sadly even Microsoft. You see, Windows programmers have been spoiled by the fast pace at which hardware developers have improved PC’s. Harddrives got faster and bigger, so programmers didn’t care about saving disk space anymore. RAM got cheap and PC’s got more and more memory, so programmers didn’t care any more about using memory efficiently. Graphic cards got more powerful, so programmers didn’t care about efficient use of graphics thinking, I’ll let the GPU do all the work (aka. DirectX). The point is that programmers have been spoiled and hardware advances have been lost to bloated software.
The problem comes when Tablets come on the scene, because you have space and power limitations with tablets, which smack right in the face those spoiled programmers. Add to this bloated development systems like dot.net and you have a real problem. So whats the answer ?
Programmers need to start learning how to accomplish a lot, with a little, like in the old days. I remember writing full blown accounting software in the days when a PC only had 640 KB of memory. Anybody remember, writing software when PC’s only had floppy drives ? (I do !)
For years, PowerBasic programmers would tout how they could write software which could fit on a floppy disk and could run in very low memory situations. Dot.net programmers would laugh and say, “who cares. There plenty of disk space and memory.” But now, with tablet PC’s, such limitations have returned and it will take years before Tablets will be able to run the big bloated software with little problem. So maybe the old time programmers, who are used to counting CPU cycles and to saving bytes have a valid point after all.
When I look at my latest software, EZGUI 5.0, I still am disatisfied with the “huge” runtime DLL EZGUI has, which is 700 KB. Wait a minute. 700 KB is tiny by todays standards ! Yes, it is, but I am old school and its big to me. I have a runtime DLL, which can runs rings around other development tools and is less than 1 meg in size and the EXEs which use it are amazingly tiny and the reason why is because I “care” about the size of my software and how much memory it needs and how fast it runs. I benchmark my software to get maximum speed out of it as well. Its the caring about such things, which is needed to make Windows 7 a viable operating system for Tablet PC’s.
Steve Balmer of Microsoft one said “Developers, developers, developers” is what they need.
If you want to see Windows 7 on more tablet PC’s, we need “Developers, developers, developers” who care about the size of their applications and how they use resources. We need more PowerBasic programmers.
This much I can say, is that EZGUI users who are writing powerful applications (using EZGUI and PowerBasic) can be (and hopefully will be) at the forefront of the “Developers, developers, developers” who will be writing software for Tablet PC’s.
Date: April 13, 2011