Asus to punt Core i5 Windows 7 tablet
Aimed at ARM-less big biz
Asus has revealed that the tablet it is going to announce at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next month will run Windows 7 and pack in an Intel Core i5 processor.
The gadget will be called the Eee Slate EP121, and it'll sport a 12in multi-touch display. It'll have an HDMI port, a webcam, expandable storage and "at least one" USB connector. It comes with a stylus. Says the blurb, it's for "all your productivity needs".
Of course, what Asus doesn't say tells us as much as what it does: there's no reference to the EP121's size or weight, or to its battery life. With a 12in panel plus bezel, this isn't going to be even iPad-sized, let alone a match for the Galaxy Tab.
And with full laptop innards in there, it's not going to be as skinny or as light.
Asus pitch is that the EP121 will appeal to corporate types who insist on Windows, though how they'll react to a product with consumer branding - Eee - is another matter.
Don't forget, Asus is also preparing the Eee Pad, an ARM-based alternative to the Slate. The snag: it may not be out until toward the end of Q1 2011, depending on who quickly Google can get Android Honeycomb out. ®
Another company that doesn't 'get it'
A bit of a consensus seems to be going on in these forums. Tablet form factors, as lead by the iPad, are great for some things and rubbish at others. The convenience of instant on, very long battery life, smallish (but not too small) and lightish. The breakthrough isn't the form factor, it's the operating system which is optimised for finger control, and applications optimised for this genre.
This machine looks as if it's a PC crammed into a tablet form factor:
- light weight;
- long battery life;
- high power.
Pick any two. Ye can't change the laws of physics captain.
The tablet operating systems, that's iOS and Android, are optimised for lower power processors, so there's no point in having high power unless you use a desktop operating system such as Windows which simply doesn't work on these form factors (no keyboard or mouse, limited battery, fiddly mouse-oriented UI, high power consumption interface, etc.).
Market differentiation in the tablet sector isn't going to come through higher power. In fact there's little that the hardware manufacturers can add to differentiate tablets at all. Differentiation's going to come through the operating system and application ecosystem and Apple's a formidable competitor with a massive lead.
How much evidence do they need to see this? Microsoft have been flogging this dead horse for years: more iPads are sold in a month than all previous Microsoft tablet sales put together -- that's since Windows 3.1 tablet edition through to the latest versions.
So, why bother when it's doomed?
Is it *just* a big tablet?
Or is it also a small all-in-one desktop? That they mention keyboards hints that they may have also considered this use.
How could a company that pioneered a niche (overlooking the fact they stole the idea from the OLPC XO) get it so very wrong in the end?
I agree with you on all these technical details, but the product will perform one useful function: the armchair pundits who bark about their perceived need for "full" Windows plus Office plus Photoshop in their tablet will finally buy one, realise what a terrible product it is, and shut up.
I'm looking forward to seeing how many cooling vents the thing has. Will it be possible to actually put it down (or even hold and use it for that matter) without the thing overheating and shutting down?
Flame because that's what it's going to do to somebody's sofa.
Is that like the iPad, but for folks from Yorkshire?
Mine's one wit' th' eee Pad in t' pocket