Did Steve Ballmer just hint at a Windows Phone 7 tablet?

Ballmer and Co. at Microsoft have been pretty coy on the matter about adapting Windows Phone 7 for tablet use. While many of us see it as a no-brainer--it's fast, smooth, elegant, powerful, etc.--Microsoft has said in the past that it won't happen.

While we still don't expect it anytime soon (WP7 is still very early), Ballmer dropped an interesting tidbit in an Ars Technica interview. On the question of tablets and when they would happen, this exchanged occurred:

AT: How long am I going to wait... I don't want to ask you lots of stupid questions about tablets because I know you've been asked them before, so what I'm going to ask you is a very specific question: how long am I gonna have to wait to get a tablet that when I'm on-the-go has a nice touch- and finger-friendly interface, and when I sit down at my desk, I can add a keyboard and mouse and get a nice, full Windows experience. When is that going to come?SB: I won't give you an answer, because it will all depend on what you want, and we're going to have various things coming at various times coming over the next months and years, and some things, I think you will see things that you will fall [in love with]—I know I'm seeing things that I'll fall in love with, and I know there will be more things that I desire.The truth of the matter is, look at that device [my Lenovo X300]. It doesn't weigh anything, it just sits there, pretty nice, and very powerful, works pretty well, so you have to say, OK, what is the scenario that we're trying to optimize against? And you're gonna see some things that do a very nice job over the course of the next, let's call it year—you'll see some stuff now, you'll see some stuff after Christmas, you'll see some stuff as we get new Intel chips, you'll see some things as you move Windows Phone along—and which one you'll fall in love with, I can't predict.

Yup. Just 10 words long but 10 words that technically did not need to be there if Windows Phone was wasn't being considered for tablet use.

Dear Microsoft: Wait for WP7 to mature a bit, then just do it.

Source: Ars Technica; Image: Umang Dokey

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • For all we know that could be why they're not doing it now, probably want to add things back into WP7 that it's missing right now which would be needed for a tablet device. Or they could just push out a CE7 (Embedded Compact 7) tablet OS with a metro style UI which would look like WP7 but not actually be WP7 itself. Though Silverlight and XNA apps/games should still run fine between the two of them regardless of any low-level differences. We'll just have to wait and see what they want to do.
  • That's my thought: let it mature, add in some major features, grow market presence, developers, etc.
  • I would have to say the faster they get this out the more devices WP7 UI will be on to shine. Plus it just allows to you use your sofware purchases across even more device and platforms. Microsoft I am your biggest fan but stop think ing about the invester and get aggressive.
  • I'm all over this! I tried out WP7 last weekend and absolutely loved it! It handled the basics very well! It perfectly rendered my company website, which is based on windows .net. Don't ask! Now I'm an Evo user but I would lay down for a WP7 slate, pad, whatev!
  • Exactly my thoughts...design a tablet OS that stylishly blends WP7 with Windows 7. Then we can have Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, and Windows Tablet 7.....perfect!
  • Dude, I would kill for a 7-9" WP7 tablet.
  • This is old news. Microsoft has also know internally that WP7 was a gamble and might require major tweaks before it gains acceptable sales levels. WP7 still has a way to go. It's not that it needs to mature, it still needs to prove itself. If a doesn't, coming out with a tablet based on a failing platform would be a major business mistake. In brief, if you want a tablet based on the WP7 OS, keep buying the phones...
  • I would buy a 7-9inch WP7 tablet in a second. WP7 is by far the slickest interface - as soon as they knock out a good 3rd party app multitasking function it will be set.
  • WP7 is still very expersive in China,almost as equal to IP4,and IP4 is far more popularity than WP7,so not too much people will buy WP7 recently,and I'll buy Meizu M9,still waiting for it.
    It's very fun that "SB" means "stupid woman" in Chinese!!ahaha!
  • hahaha. how little we really knew 2 years ago....
  • LOL.. thinking the same thing.
  • meh, I'm stick with my surface tablet, this thing is impressing me everyday, heck it even impresses ipad users.
  • it's 2 years...2 years till you can have a tablet with a touch friendly os that you can put a keyboard on and have a full windows experience. i know that because that is windows 8
  • I always thought that the tablets should have been WP7 froum they should have left metro off the desktop and just made 7 better I use win8 AND LIKE IT BUT MOST PEOPLE DON'T.