April 25, 2005 6:00 AM PDT

Microsoft dreams up low-cost minitablet

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designate PCs sold now as "Longhorn-ready," provided they meet certain requirements, including 512MB of memory, a mainstream Pentium or Athlon processor and a sufficiently capable graphics card. Greg Sullivan, lead product manager for the Windows unit, said PCs with less than these requirements may be able to run Longhorn, but those that meet this standard should be able to take advantage of its snazzier graphics and other new capabilities.

HP, for example, is announcing a series of PCs designed to be ready for Longhorn, including what it says are the first business desktops with a Trusted Platform Module chip, which will enable the machines to take advantage of Longhorn's "secure start-up" feature.

Microsoft plans an updated Windows logo program that will offer two separate designations--one for software and hardware that will run on Longhorn and a premium logo reserved for machines that take advantage of Longhorn's new features.

Among the other announcements:

• A planned server OS update of Windows Server 2003, known as R2, will go into a public beta later this week and is slated to ship in the second half of this year.

• Microsoft plans to develop a PC design contest to try to spur PC makers to not only develop computers that go beyond beige, but also ones that reflect the design cues of Longhorn.

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minitablet PC, Microsoft Longhorn, Bill Gates, tablet, WinHEC

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Didn't see it in the 'Road Ahead'
Why does Microsoft think a portable PC with 6" touch screen is years away. You can buy most notebooks for around $1000. Maybe they mean the world should wait until Longhorn Mini-Tablet version comes out.
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