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This article was published on August 2, 2010

Is the Microsoft slate walking the KIN path?

Is the Microsoft slate walking the KIN path?
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

It isn’t often that I write something, then immediately have to rescind it. To be fair, I’m not quite ready to pull the plug yet, but an article on ZDNet has me second guessing.

According to the article, Microsoft is going to rely heavily on an Intel processor known as “Oak Trail”. The only issue with this? The Oak Trail isn’t even set for release until early 2011. The question that then comes to mind is whether Microsoft will enter the slate game with the same idea as it did with the KIN phones.

Surely you remember how this all happened. Microsoft excited the mobile phone world by giving us glimpses of Windows Phone 7 and a wealth of exciting features. The OS was sleek, sexy and…quite un-Microsoft. It very well could have been the first offering of a mobile OS from the Redmond giant that would give Apple a run for its money.

Then, a few weeks later, we heard about the KIN.

It didn’t make much sense, honestly, for Microsoft to release a phone that had some of the features of Phone 7, but not all of them. The phone was star-crossed from its released, and bit the proverbial dust a few short weeks after launch.

What is concerning about the scenario is that Microsoft went to battle with a phone that wasn’t nearly what it could have been, while a better product was just around the corner. The same can be said for the fabled Microsoft slate products.

The Microsoft slates are sitting only a few months away from being a reality in the manner in which they’d work best. However, Ballmer has promised slate products before the end of 2010, and that should have Microsoft fans concerned. Rushing a product to the market, as was obviously the case with the KIN, will only serve to leave potential money on the table for Microsoft.

All signs, however, point to Microsoft being ready to pull the trigger on an unfinished device. The UI Centric overlay for Windows 7 will be processing intensive, to say the least. And yet we’re being promised not only that we’ll see the slates, but that they’ll in fact be running the beautiful UI.

The thoughts running through the Microsoft camp are obvious, and have been well-stated. With a “full guns” approach toward the iPad, Microsoft doesn’t want to come into the slate game so far behind the curve that it will only have the chance to play catch-up. However, pushing underpowered, under-prepared devices to market has never worked in the past and won’t this time, either.