I guess you have already seen this page: http://www.whoistabco.com/
TabCo is (probably) a virtual company preparing a big media event for tomorrow – Monday, August 15 at 9 a.m. PDT (18:00 CET) – so less than 24 hours from now. They say they are going to launch a new tablet, that will be… er… different. They have said or shown very little so far, but let’s recap these scarce fragments.
- Avaliable for order in USA in August, in some European countries in September
- 400 – 500 USD
- 16:9 screen aspect ratio
- USB, Bluetooth, SD card slot, WiFi and 3G (no 4G)
- Build quality comparable to Apple or Nokia
- Innovative GUI is predictive and takes inspiration from spheres and Rubik cube
- Will be distributed with a set of apps from the beginning
- There probably aren’t heaps of native software yet, but Angry Birds and office apps are available
- Development SDK will be available after the launch
- They have mentioned Apple or iPad many times, almost always in positive light
- They have mentioned Google or Android many times, almost always in negative light
- Microsoft and Nokia were mentioned rarely, usually in positive context
What could TabCo be:
- Amazon tablet
- Some startup full of energy and borrowed money
- ELSE Ltd.
- Acer Iconia 2
- Xoom 2, TouchPad 2, Playbook 2 or Galaxy Tab II
- New Tabasco flavour
- Well-funded joke
- Huawei UFO Tablet with Android 2.x much improved by NonSense UI layer
- Apple iPad HD
- Nokia (or Intel) MeeGo / Maemo tablet
- Nokia Windows 8 tablet
The last option is undoubtedly the most interesting one. Let’s dream about it from a developer’s perspective for a while… This would mean that there will be no big revelation at BUILD in September, exactly one month from now. On the contrary, SDK will be available tomorrow and everybody will download it immediately and will frantically play with it for the next few weeks. Many developers will take their own Windows 8 tablets to the BUILD in fact. Everything will be inside out this time…
Although so blatantly betrayed by Microsoft, most developers will be jumping for joy and consider their dreams fulfilled. This new attack of Metro UI will help Windows Phone sales too…
Why this won’t happen
- We all know Windows 8 is scheduled for 2012. It’s in some unimportant Milestone phase now.
- Microsoft always gives things to developers first and then – 6-12 months later – the best customers may get something too
- There are leaked Windows 8 builds with no traces of a tablet interface and these other cool things
- The Windows 8 UI revelation event showed no spherical interface elements
- Interface hints in the above video are different – for example that circular context menu hasn’t been shown, video controls were different etc
- The lack of software for the new platform. Even old Windows software will not work, because this tablet is almost for sure built on the ARM platform.
- Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott haven’t seen it coming
- Microsoft is never so fast
- Microsoft is never so cool (except for that XBox 360 R2D2 Star Wars edition, of course). While some other companies are habitually cool, Microsoft is habitually cold.
Top Secret Microsoft’s Corporate Exchange leak:
Steven Sinofsky: We should develop Windows 8 in a stealth mode and in just two years. That would surprise everybody and make the Wow effect we so desperately need. That would be cool!
Steve Ballmer: NO WAY! WE ARE MICROSOFT! WE NEVER! DO! COOL! THINGS!
Why this may happen after all
- What we have learned about Windows 8 in June was a total surprise to everybody. So Microsoft is able to hide things if it wants (and Sinofsky is in charge). It’s quite probable it wasn’t the final version of UI.
- That infamous Microsoft silence about the Windows 8 development platform is just insane. It simply makes no sense to hide things just from developers! On the contrary, it sometimes makes sense to hide things from the general public. But a developer conference is not the ideal place for revealing things to the general public! The conclusion? Some revelation is planned before the BUILD.
- There were hints about Windows development taking just two years, about Windows 8 tablets coming this fall, about Win division defeating Dev division, about Microsoft selecting just a few hardware partners for the first W8 tablets, about Nokia working on a well-thought tablet etc.
- Nokia – Microsoft pact makes much more sense from a Nokia viewpoint if this is in cards.
- Software is important. But Microsoft may provide Office, old Windows software written in .NET may work even on ARM, and Windows Phone emulator may provide some not so optimized, but working software. This plan worked for Apple after all.
- Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott haven’t seen it coming 😉
- This may just work
The Kinks, You really got me: