E-book-friendly tablet coming from Microsoft? Pure speculation, but here’s why it just might happen

image Microsoft brushed up its ancient Reader software a tad with slightly tweaked Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 versions.

So might a tablet be next, with e-books as a major app? A Microsoft product manager announcement has sparked some tantalizing speculation about a tab (Techmeme roundup here).

E-book-friendly device on the way? If so, it would be in line with an old vision of Bill Gates, who couldn’t pull it off because the publishing industry and the tech weren’t ready. But maybe life will be different now that E has gained more traction and an Apple tab is expected at some point.

Fascinating possibility: What if Microsoft did something with PixelQi, whose displays have both color and low-power e-book modes? Just as with the e-book angle, this is pure guessing. But it would probably be a very logical move on Micosoft’s part.

4 Comments on E-book-friendly tablet coming from Microsoft? Pure speculation, but here’s why it just might happen

  1. MS is hoping that keeping its reader relevant will encourage its use by publishers. At the moment, they are being pushed into obscurity by Kindle/MobiPocket, Sony, B&N’s eReader, and OEM (ePub) in ascension.

    MS isn’t a hardware business. So I doubt they’re pushing for a tablet device. On the other hand, if hardware makers were asking MS for updated reader apps that would help keep laptops, and future tablets, active in reader markets, I don’t think MS would ignore them.

    Now, when MS reader can also port ePub, that will be big news…

  2. SmartPhones are the missing link for Adobe ePub (not necessarily ePub, but ePub with Adobe DRM). However, MicroSoft isn’t competition because Windows Mobile is now only a minor player.

    There are actually a couple of WinCE-based EInk devices with mobile Adobe Digital Editions (iriver Story and Hanvon WISEreader N520). So Adobe could presumably do a Windows Mobile port if they wanted to.

  3. Steve and Alan, thanks for your perspectives.

    Microsoft is much more into software, but it does do branded hardware and of course offers basic designs for other companies to use.

    Thanks,
    David

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