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Blogging the Tablet Partner Briefing

I’m at Microsoft’s conference center this morning for the Mobile (Tablet PC) Partner Briefing. I’m guessing there are about 80-90 people here (Update: a slide just said there are about 100 companies here). The keynote will be underway in a few minutes. I’m not sure if I’ll be allowed to blog it. We’ll see. At least there is an internet connection :-).

Microsoft VP Bill Mitchell is speaking on the state of the Tablet market…

Fastest growing PC Space — 17% CAGR 2002-2007 (Gartner).
22% of teens surveyed think desktop PCs will disappear in next ten years (MIT study)
Mobile market is growing and Tablets will be available to wider market in Vista timeframe….from several million to tens of millions.
Vista will have Tablet features…opening Tablet features to more notebooks
Touch support is coming in Vista

Stefan Wick (SDET Lead, Mobile Platforms Division) is giving a demo of a 3D postcard program written in WPF that supports ink. He wrote on a postcard and then rotated the card in 3D. A demo is available on MSDN.

Todd Landstad (SDET Lead, Mobile Platforms Division) is giving a demo on ink analysis that showcases features to appear in Vista. Demo is of handwritten notes wth words and handdrawn bullet list and shapes–all that get recognized.

Bill Mitchell is talking about the Confident, Clear, and Connected message of Vista.
Talking about SideShow and how it might be used in everything from cell phones to Tablets.

Dan Polivy is giving a SideShow demo. Get access to important informtion (such as appointments) you need without having to boot your computer up. He’s now showing how it might be used in a phone to be a remote control for a slide show presentation on a notebook.

Bill Mitchell is talking about future Tablet devices. Not sure what’s not NDA. I’ll fill in the blanks later, if I can.

Arin Goldberg showed a prototype app using a Fujitsu 1500 that controlled a Media Center Edition. It’s not just about smaller, better desktops or Tablets, it’s about how devices are used. What new usage scenarios are there? What lifestyle uses are there?

Bill Mitchell Q&A. Lots of questions about that NDA stuff.

Also questions about supporting touch within an application. Can an app tell if a person is touching the screen or using the pen? Arin Goldberg says not yet.

Robert Williams, Director of Microsoft Mobile Platforms Division is up now.

(Cool…the person sitting next to me is from Toshiba and he has the new M400 sitting right here. He says it’s going to gone on sale next week. Shipping soon. I need to see what this means.)

Tablets are growing.

Addressing the barriers:
* Battery life — need to last all day. Battery technology is only improving at 3% per year. It’s at a mature state. It doesn’t look like there’s going to be a big growth here in the near future. Robert Williams says: rather than look for battery tech to solve battery life problems, need to look at hardware and software to better handle existing battery capability.
* Instant use–slide show and OS improvements in Vista
* Form factors–still needs more exploration. Smaller form factors are easier to carry, but does the small screen give you enough of a good experience? He gives surfing web on cell phone as an example of how small form factors can be an obstacle to use.
* Price is important. Price premium for Tablets continues to diminish.

New Opportunities:
* resistive touch support
* Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 opening to system builders!
* Market growth as Vista adds support for Tablet features

Lifestyle PC Opportunities:
* A goal is to have Tablet form-factors that fit into a person”s lifestyle.
* Super thin and lightweight Tablet (like Bill Gates showed at WinHec) to be realized in 2008

Improving Tablet PCs at retail including Best Buy displays in 680 stores as well as Gateway commercials and more.

Tablet PC Packs were popular:
* Experience Pack
* Education Pack
….now supporting multiple languages

break time…

Ian LeGrow is talking now aboute Vista and Tablets
Mobile PCs are growing 3x the rate of desktop PCs

Vista Tablet features:
* Press and hold buttons
* Handwriting can adjust to you
* Selecting multiple items…checkbox appears when in range of items in Windows Shell. (Will work wth active digitizers.)
* Auto-complete support below TIP. Programmers can have their own auto-complete list appear below TIP that appears as user handwrites values.
* Flicks gestures (8 basic gestures) to scroll, etc. Works in IE. Can be used in other apps. Works with a pen only. Sorry mice. Can programmatically specify whether the flicks gestures are enabled/disabled, but you can’t control what they are.
* Snipping tool is now built in
* TIP now pops out from side of screen and can be dragged around.
* Strikeout gesture can be just about anything over text if it doesn’t look like handwriting
* Handwriting personalization:
– Target specific recognition erros
– Teach the recognizer your handwriting style: Takes about 1/2 hour. SImilar to speech recognition training. Ian says it improves his reco of small words a lot. Can share the trained sessions across machines. They are writing a whitepaper to say where files are and how to manage on multiple machines. Personalization will ship in English version of Vista. Will add other languages later. The challenge with supporting multiple languages is in the testing to make sure that the training does not actually degrade a user’s experience.
* Can send a Watson-style handwriting sample to Microsoft.
* Showing modified Motion LE1600 Tablet with a touch and active digitzer. This is just a prototype machine. Ian scrolling IE with his hand. Cool looking demo. While pen is in range, touching is disabled so it doesn’t conflict.
* Tried to show new wireless projection technology. The demo didn’t work, but this would be so cool. WSD is a new technology.

Toby is talking about new Mobility Center in Vista
* Mobile users have to change settings more often, when in a meeting, at home, on the subway.
* Goal: Single place to change settings for sound, display brightness, landscape orientation, external displays, battery status, wireless connectivity, syncing, and presentation settings.
* Microsoft would like access to the Mobility Center to be accessible via a button

(Missed name of presenter) Vista Power Management
* Goal to improve user management
* Adding Blocked Shutdown Resolver so apps can’t block shutdown process in Vista.
* On Tablets and laptops, the “off” button in the Start menu will force machine to sleep rather than to shutdown by default.
* Battery meter now shows 10 levels of battery life.
* Power Options Control Panel has new UI. It’s kind of Windows Explorer like.

(My blogging is slowing down. I’m getting hungry 🙂

Dan Polivy is back showing gadgets with SideShow. Showing ASUS prototype with SideShow device in lid. One version has detachable unit and can play MP3s that you are able to carry with you.

Now showing a remote control with SideShow. Was shown at CES. You can scroll through program list on your remote control so you don’t have to do this on the TV.

Lunch….fooooood.

Split into two tracks: Marketing and developer oriented. I’m in the marketing track that Ken and Lora Heiny are presenting.

Ken just showed a couple slides that gave some ISV and Tablet sales numbers. For example: 850 partners. I’ll see if I can get the numbers later. (My WiFi connection died just as I was doing a post. I’m on my trust EV-DO now instead.)

Ken’s going over the Premier Marketing Benefits for ISVs.
Tablet team provides Developer Labs for ISVs to get them going:
* Provides compatibility labs
* Vista installation party during Dev Labs
* Hands on Lab
* Tablet team members provided to answer technical questions
* Demo night for ISVs to show their app to other ISVs, if they want

ISVs can give webcasts to Tablet team members to showcase their products and/or get feedback. Good way to spread word on their product.

Lora Heiny (my sister) is now talking about the various magazine print ads that Microsoft has been running to promote developer awareness.

Handango has a Tablet sales portal.

Tablet PC Sales Collateral provided by Microsoft: enterprise toolkit, partner toolkit, general Tablet info toolkit.

Joint marketing opportunities for events. To get onto demo images. Events calendar at www.TabletPCPartners.com.

Q&A….how can ISVs work with Microsoft to assist in large enterprise sales? Best approach: Teach, communicate, fascilitate Microsoft sales force to work with potential customers.

(Short break)

Sales Support Talk now…their goal is around driving the Tablet platform. Focus is on driving Tablet unit volume. Each person carries a unit goal. Divided by geographical region. Has co-marketing money for proof-

When to engage a Tablet SSP:
* Looking for opportunity of 200 units or greater
* Pre-sales investment needed to win the business
* Sales cycle 20% to 60% — The earlier the better

Tablet PC functed pre-sales programs:

* Programmatic offterings:
– Tablet tips and tricks workshops to introduce people to Tablets (20-30 participants, opportunity size 250+, 4-week lead time, fully funded)
– Developer workshops (10-30 participants, opportunity size 300+ units)
– Deployment workshop (opportunity size 300+)
Will consider other opportunity sizes, however. Recommendation is to get SSP involved sooner rather than later.
* Co-funded proof of concept investment. Prefer repeatable deployments.

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