Past few weeks have been a typical bloggers delight. Dissecting iPad’s sales and usage scenarios, exploring alternate tablet operating systems, and quoting mythical folks from Microsoft and hardware manufacturers like HP and Asus. Oh yes, the weekly shift from announcing Asus’s ‘final’ decision to use Android. No, Windows. No, Android. You get the drift.
In this post, I’ll keep it simple. And definite. Let’s see which Windows 7 tablets are in the shelves already, the devices which have been announced, and a couple of rumored ones (Okay, yes. I’ll have my share of that overdrive too). The rumored devices have been showed as prototypes, and even shared with the gadget bloggers for reviews. However, these have been early stage reviews, and the final product may or may not be close to anything that has been showed or shared. A ‘Coming Soon’ device has definite specifications, with only the wait for the retail launch.
RETAIL: Archos 9 PC Tablet
Archos has been in a way pioneer in tablet devices in unique form factor. Priced at $399, the Archos 9 PC Tablet is a Windows 7 Starter Edition tablet device with an 8.9-inch LED-backlit resistive touchscreen display. The device is powered by a 1.2 Ghz Intel Atom Z515 processor with a 1 GB installed RAM. The specifications are pretty basic with a 60 GB HDD, 1.3 MP webcam, built-in stereo speakers. A port-replicator allows Ethernet port, two additional USB ports, VGA video output microphone input, and an additional audio output.
The Archos 9 features a two-position leg-stand to optimize its use. The upper position is best for viewing videos on the go, surfing the web, or reading while the lower position is ideal when you need to type more. Although at 800 grams, the device is a good handheld, the 5 hours of battery life via removable Lithium Polymer battery is a bummer, specially since netbooks available at the same price point are getting more powerful with extended battery life..
COMING SOON TO RETAIL: ExoPC Slate
The ExoPC Slate is a powerful Windows tablet device with a multi-touch interface with a touch-friendly ExoPC UI Layer over the Windows 7 Home Premium Edition under the hood and weighing a little under a kilogram. A 11.6 capacitive dual-touch, pressure sensitive screen gives a great 1366 x 768 pixels resolution. Under the shiny display, the specs are at premium with Intel Atom Pineview-M N450 processor and 2 GB installed RAM. Interestingly, ExoPC has opted for SSD for storage, and therefore would be limited to 32GB or 64GB.
Again, ExoPC Slate keeps up with basic features – A 1.3 MP webcam, two USB ports, and in-built speakers and microphone – but also adds a mini-HDMI port, SD/SDHC card reader, and accelerometer. The battery life matches Archos 9 with a max 5 hours.
Expected launch: September 2010.
COMING SOON: MSI WindPad 100.
MSI showed WindPad 100 at Computex, and although there have been little details after it (except few design photos, there sure is a tablet in coming. The prototype device featured a 1.66GHz Atom Z530 CPU, 32GB SSD, and 2GB installed RAM. MSI would also put a Wind Touch UI overlay over Windows to make it more touch-friendly. The bonus ofcourse is an HDMI port. There haven’t been any details on the display technology/resolution and the battery life though.
RUMOR: Asus Eee Pad EP121
This one I put in the rumored category. Asus disclosed to the press in January 2010 that Eee Pad is coming and at Computex, Asus showed prototypes of the 12-inch EP121 (and the 10 inch EP101) which sports Intel’s Core 2 Duo CULV processors, Windows 7, and a claimed 10-hour battery life. However, since then the details have been hazy, and uncertain. There have been rumors of Eee Pad running on Android operating system and even Windows Embedded Compact 7. The expected price range has been assumed to be a $399 to $499.
RUMOR: Pegatron Slate
Pegatron Corp. is the manufacturing arm of Asus. Pegatron Slate is similar to ExoPC in discussed features, although it includes WDI – a wireless display technology that streams 720p video to any similarly equipped TV. With a 11.6-inch touchscreen and an Intel Atom CPU, it runs runs Windows 7 Home Premium edition.