Looking Back At What Could Have Been: Windows Phone Tablets

Ever since Windows Phone 7 came to the market there has been at least some speculation that the OS would have a modified cousin that would work on tablets.

Of course, we all know this tablet-version never happened and instead Microsoft decided to focus Windows 8 on working for both PCs and tablets.

Some of us are still a little sore about this, and I’m one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, Windows 8 is not a bad idea at all, but Windows Phone 7 could have already been out for almost two years by the time that Windows 8 finally makes it to tablets.

Microsoft could already have an active tablet user base by now if they would have went this route.

Apparently, I’m not the only one with such a secret wish, since apparently Windows Phone developer, Social Ebola, decided to get a small look at what such a tablet might be like. How did he accomplish this?

He took a Windows PC and hooked up a MagicTouch USB monitor as a second screen. From there he opened up the multi-touch Windows Phone 7 emulator and dragged it over to the second screen.

The combination resulted in a tethered WP7 tablet experience- well sort of.

windows phone tablet

windows phone tablet

 

Obviously the emulator is somewhat limited and you can only go as far the USB cord will take you, but it is still kinda a cool look into what could have been.

While kind of cool, what I’d really like to see is some hacker figure out how to get a ROM copy of Windows Phone 7 working on a Android tablet or even HP’s WebOS tablet.

How awesome would that be? Is it possible? Certainly it must be, at least in theory, but so far nothing like this has ever been done before.

This begs the question, if Microsoft did release WP7 tablets back then or even in the future (though I admit this is HIGHLY unlikely) could they co-exist with Windows 8 options? I personally think it is possible.

A WP7 tablet could cater to the low-end market for tablets ($125-$250) after Windows 8 releases, and could even offer a lower-end option to help Microsoft expand in the developing world where expensive Windows 8 tablets (that likely will cost over $300) just aren’t practical.

Its also worth mentioning that although Windows Mobile and Windows CE were both based on the CE-core, they were technically different products and some PDAs ran WM while others (including those mini-notebooks of the late 90s and early 00s) ran CE.

Such a dual model seemed to work okay back then, so why not now?

I suppose while enjoyable to speculate, it really doesn’t accomplish anything.

Just like talking about Microsoft Courier and how it got canceled doesn’t really change anything. Microsoft’s future is likely going to be more about getting Windows 8 and Windows v.next embedded into TVs, game systems, tablets, phones, and more.

Of course WP7 on smartphone will also be a big part of their OS future (at least until when/if Windows 8 and WP merge into one product).

Looking back though, do you think Microsoft was wrong to not create a tablet version of Windows Phone? Share your thoughts below.

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  • ECM2

    As a huge Windows and Office fan (don’t have an XBox nor do I own Microsoft stocks) I have always rooted for the success of Microsoft.  Alas, it’s getting clearer by the day that Microsoft is putting all its stakes on Windows 8… the hope to own a retail version of WP7 tablet  contnues to dwindle.  How sure are we that the Win8 tablet will not be a flop? By the time the Win8 tablet is released, it will have a hard time competing with new versions of Android and iPad.  You can almost certainly predict that if the Win8 tablet is released with a price tag of $400-$500, it will suffer the same fate as the HP TouchPad. Those who can afford a top-of-the-line tablet will get the iPad 3 or the Android ICS or Jelly Bean.  Those  with a $50 to $150  budget (the vast majority without a tablet belongs to this category) will get the cheap Android tablets. In fact, I just heard that a new Android ICS tablet (RamOS) is going to hit the market next month with a $99 price tag.  

    By sticking exclusively with Win8, it seems that MS have decided to copy Apple’s strategy – of producing solid and stylish products that command a higher price. While this “elitist” strategy worked well for Apple, it may not be for the best interest of MS considering that  MS is a software-only company and that historically MS was the leader of the PC “market revolution” which I referred to as the “Attack of the Clones”. MS has already been overthrown by Google, now the leader of the mobile device “market revolution” which I 
    referred to as the the “Attack of the Droids”. See previous comment/blog: http://www.windows8update.com/2011/12/29/windows-8-versus-android-osx-ios-and-even-itself/.
    I hate to witness the collapse of Microsoft just because they decided not to release a lower-end cheaper Win7-derived ARM tablet that will compete with Android for a sure spot in the heart of the masses.