It’s only May, but I already know one nominee for stupidest tech product of the year.

Running Windows XP, the Eee Keyboard packs an entire computer — complete with an Intel Atom N270 processor at 1.6 GHz, 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD, Wi-Fi b/g/n, HDMI out, built-in 5″ WVGA multitouch display and a battery rated for 4 hours — into the pretty tiny frame of a keyboard. Want in? That’ll be $599.

At $99 it’d be ridiculous. At $600, words fail me.

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It’s only May, but I already know one nominee for stupidest tech product of the year.

Running Windows XP, the Eee Keyboard packs an entire computer — complete with an Intel Atom N270 processor at 1.6 GHz, 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD, Wi-Fi b/g/n, HDMI out, built-in 5″ WVGA multitouch display and a battery rated for 4 hours — into the pretty tiny frame of a keyboard. Want in? That’ll be $599.

At $99 it’d be ridiculous. At $600, words fail me.

Microsoft: Getting tablet PCs wrong since 2002

Q: You chose to put Windows inside the Tablet instead of a different operating system designed specifically for the Tablet. Why?
A:
You can’t come up with a new OS. It’s just gospel here [that it has to be run on Windows].

Microsoft fans (or Apple critics) like to credit Bill Gates as a visionary for tablet PCs, claiming they’ve been around nearly a decade, and in general minimizing any credit to Apple for the iPad. Um, no… Continue reading

Microsoft Instant Viewer: I Didn’t Know They Had Apple’s Exposé.

Instantviewer

I wrote a few days ago that I’d bought a Microsoft Arc keyboard and mouse (highly recommended, by the way). Today I decided to grab Microsoft’s official software for them, instead of just using the generic stuff even though it seemed pretty full-featured. I figured maybe there’d be a surprise or two. 

While most of the settings are identical to the standard stuff, I noticed an option for the buttons called “Instant Viewer”. So I press the button and get the image above. It’s just like Apple’s Exposé (below).

Expose

For all I know Microsoft’s had this feature for ages, but since I like Exposé I’ll take it where I can get it on my Windows PCs. Sweet!

Netbook Sales Growth Sagging: What Took So Long?

The sales growth of netbooks, priced from $200 to $500 and resembling shrunk-down laptops, slowed markedly in the first quarter, according to market researcher IDC.

This should come as a shock to no one, but of course it will. The netbook is a cheap cheap laptop, OK? That’s all it’s ever been. Nothing more, nothing less. Laptops went from well over $1K, to cheap laptops in the $600 range, and netbooks brought them down to $300.

Those lower divisions brought cheaper components, lower quality, weak processors, etc. They had to. For some that might be good enough, but it doesn’t change the fact that netbooks are a significant compromise to the laptop they emulate. For many, the netbook brought disappointment when they found out there really is no such thing as a $300 laptop.

As for manufacturers, they found out that, while they could brag about sales in terms of number of units, there’s little profit. No wonder the big names are scaling back.

Macs cost notably less to support than Windows PCs

A majority of respondents said that Macs cost less in terms of time spent troubleshooting, user training, help desk calls, and system configuration. Admins generally agreed that costs related to software licensing and supporting infrastructure were the same between the two platforms.

It’s almost a shame this needs to be treated as “news”. It’s probably only the gazillionth* article espousing this point going back 15 years or more. It comes as no surprise to anyone not dependent on the Windows ecosystem.

* “Gazillionth” is not a word. I made it up. It’s hyperbole. No real numbers were harmed in the making of this post.

The Windows XP, Vista, or 7 UI Is the Tablet PC’s Biggest Weakness

more specifically, the problems of taking a cursor-based desktop OS user interface (UI) and expecting the Windows paradigms, complete with little icons, small click areas, scrollbars and so on, to work well without a mouse.

The article targets the HP Slate and Windows 7, but anyone who’s seen the tablet PC fail for a decade knows a big reason why. An OS written for a keyboard/mouse cannot simply be “optimized” for a stylus or finger.

You don’t even have to look at PCs to see this. Check out the Blackberry Storm to see that an OS written for a trackball cannot be “optimized” for touch either.

Touch devices need that input method close to their core, and an API to back it up. That’s why the iPad will be an incredible hit while tablet PCs will continue to fail, no matter what flavor of Windows you slap on them.