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back to article Asus to punt Core i5 Windows 7 tablet

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. Asus Eee Slate promo 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 …

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Predictions.

Will use a spinny hard disk drive.

Will cost around £2000.

Will have a battery life claimed to be ~4 Hours but will only cope with 1.5 when tested.

Will weigh more than a similar laptop.

Will be helping to keep Asus' OEM discount down for MS products.

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Linux

Ignoring actual user requirements.

> Will use a spinny hard disk drive.

The spinny hard disk in my Archos is what makes it a useful media player on long trips. I don't have to precisely predict what I might want to watch on it. I can throw a bunch of things on there of various sorts and have some degree of variety to pick from should my mood change between the time I load the device and the time I use it.

Not everyone is content to watch the talking cat repeat what you say.

Some people have different and more interesting requirements.

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JDX
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Kind of interesting...

... but basically just a laptop with no keyboard so base your weight/battery predictions accordingly. Such a massive slate/pad is not really competing against other tablets in my opinion.

Personally I'd love to see a decent W7-based tablet but not sure it's feasible.

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"i5" is rather ill-defined

The i5-xxx family covers about a 3-to-1 range of processor performance (ref. PassMark). It's probably safe to assume it'll be one of the low power versions...

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FAIL

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?

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Anonymous Coward

windows 7

isn't too bad through a pen interface, I can't imagine a finger would be much worse. There does seem to have been a real attempt to get it usable with alternate input devices.

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Some suggestions

Microsoft can only sell something if it does everything. If there's something missing they don't have a good enough reply. Apple can say they are keeping it easy to use and avoiding clutter. If Microsoft use that excuse then people point out that it isn't easy to use.

Microsoft products tend to sell to people who want Windows functionality. Even if that means it is stupidly hard to use on the target device.

Microsoft thinks that having a million features in a product makes it more advanced and better. Even if you have to spend 5 minutes wading through menus and submenus to find it, then read online help, then post on a forum for help. Wait 2-3 hours then actually achieve what you wanted to do.

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Flame

@Wibble

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.

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Coat

eee Pad

Is that like the iPad, but for folks from Yorkshire?

Mine's one wit' th' eee Pad in t' pocket

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Coat

couldn't care less - now show me a 12" touchscreen usb monitor

I have no use for a pad, although it's the latest fad (sheer poetry)

If i needed a small form portable PC i'd get a notepad which offers a keyboard, more protection for the screen, more connectivity, and more power.

What I have been waiting for is a similar looking device, a usb2 12-15" capacitive touchscreen monitor - a device with built-in 2D graphics (not for game playing or 3D rendering) - so i can look at my large monitors on my desk, and control them with said lap-type controller

:-)

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Why not both in one device.

What I'd really like is a tablet pc and secondary monitor/external hard drive in one.

My PC is a desktop, which suits me fine most of the time. Occasionally something useable on the sofa would be nice, but not often enough to buy a device just for this. However if when using the desktop I could power down the computer part of the tablet and connect it to the deskop's HDMI and USB ports and it behave as a monitor and hard disk that might be enough to persuade me.

(Before anyone else says it, yes I believe you can get iPad apps to use them as external monitors, but that seems a terrible clunky way of doing what should be achiveable with a simple hardware connector and a switch).

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Actually I quite like the look of this

Sure its not as portable as a 7 or 10 inch device. However when I first saw the iPad I didn't see it as a device to carry around (except perhaps for the briefcase toting crowd). I saw it as a device for the coffee table as a companion to a desktop machine. This would also seem to fit that use.

Even at 12" I'd not expect this to be too big to manage for that use. We're looking at something with a similar area to an A4 piece of paper, a size long ago proved to provide a useful working area without being unweildy. Yes its thicker than a piece of paper, but so is an A4 notepad (the paper variety).

For this use of mostly going from the coffee table to the sofa weight and battery life are a little less crucial than a device to be carried in your pocket all day.

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good grief

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?

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Ideal application for xPads

xPads (iPads, etc.) - They make the world's best Internet Radio Appliances.

I've tried a few Internet Radio Appliances (Sanyo and several others) and they are universally horrible. They take forever to boot up, are painfully slow to operate, provide a finite list of indexes, painful to manually enter a URL, the software is rarely updated, GUI is rubbish, etc. Simply awful.

So garb an xPad, patch it into the stereo/TV, download a brazillion Internet Radio apps, and you'll see that an xPad makes a far superior Internet Radio Appliance than an actual Internet Radio Appliance. Boot-up in instant. Selection is actually infinite. Better, Faster, and slightly more expensive.

Not to mention that you can pull it out of the docking station and use it for other purposes...

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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.

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What possible use could this have?

If it doesn't have a stylus - and a very long extention cord - this will be dead on arrival.

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Title

Stick a flash drive in it, and perhaps some good on-screen keyboard functionality and they might be on to something. Of course, the screen would have to be some form of LED-based (if it's LCD, they're lost already) to get some decent battery life out of it. If they strip the fluff from Win7, they might get away with this "tablet" yet. I can see students taking notes on one of these. Perhaps a meetingPad or the like. Definately a "surf while watching TV" friend. Now, if they can make it LESS than the cost of a full-on laptop, we might be getting somewhere.

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Pint

How about.......

A biggish screen, a stylus/pen/pencil/brush, form factor slate/pad/drawing board and enough power to do graphic manipulations in real time and you have the ability to sketch and draw/sketch and paint in a human centred way anywhere you like.

Maybe it will not be capable of these things, but the slate concept has the potential to make the computer more human friendly.

The criticism that it isn't very good a doing spreadsheets just shows a stunning lack of imagination.

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