Bill Gates was talking tablets this morning as he took to CNBC to discuss Microsoft’s Surface models, as well as the tablet landscape in general. Of course, that inevitably led to discussion of the Apple iPad. Gates found a number reasons to be critical of Apple’s tablet offerings, mentioning the lack of Microsoft Office, for one. Well, that may be out of Apple’s hands for now, but another one of his comments has us wondering if Gates can hear himself speak, singling-out the iPad for a disappointing typing experience due to the lack of an official hardware keyboard option.
Now, Surface, of course, has two such keyboard options, and they’re such a key piece of the Surface experience that it seems inappropriate to think of them as mere accessories. What we’re more interested in, though, is how this attitude reflects on Microsoft’s own family of smartphones.
After all, while WP7 had a good number of options with hardware keyboards available, WP8 is a QWERTY wasteland by comparison. That may be indicative of trends in smartphones in general, but it’s clear that Gates is still a big fan of text entry the old-fashioned way. Perhaps there’s something about the larger tablet form factor that makes a hardware keyboard more important than on a smartphone? In any case, we can’t help but find this stance just the slightest bit hypocritical.