The Smart Display, a year old, will not make it to 2.0 – Microsoft has told the unfortunate manufacturers who partnered with it in the doomed venture.
The idea of a flat panel display which you could pick up and carry around the house sounded like a brilliant idea when it was first mooted, since all it needed was a (presumably, cheap) Windows CE processor and a wireless link. At the time it was not quite as obvious as it is now that it was a dead duck.
Now, according to ET News, Microsoft has decided this ugly duckling won’t ever become a swan. “Last week, Microsoft sent a letter to a part of smart display developers including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics notifying them that it would immediately abandon the development of ‘Smart Display’ OS 2.0, according to industry sources,” said the Korean news source.
The problem with the smart display was pretty simple. If you got the small one, it was actually smaller than most Tablet PCs, and no cheaper. If you got the big one, it was really too heavy and clumsy to carry around the home casually. And, not to be too mealy-mouthed, it was not fun to use.
The pen interface, simply put, wasn’t up to it. At a time when Microsoft was launching the Tablet PC at very similar prices, with a far, far better “ink” interface, the pioneers of Smart Display found that they couldn’t even compete with the Tablet.