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back to article Windows 8 tablets unwrapped in Berlin: Dell goes keyless for ARM

Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Sony have hitched their skirts to reveal PCs running Windows 8, which will be on sale in October. All three announced ultra-thin machines that can be twisted and turned into tablets running the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. Dell, though, was the only one to unveil a pure-play slab: a …

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Anonymous Coward

"Reg regular Tim Anderson put it far more succinctly thus: "Hello customer, would you like this clever-twisty-touch-keyboard-trackpad-Windows thing, or this easy to use iPad?""

I think Tim pays too much attention to himself!

The 'tarded comment from a very old man should read, "Would you like a full feature Windows 8 PC with full productivity and entertainment at its heart, or join the borg, be assimilated into the "i" crown and work with a very limited, but oh looks so shiny iPad thingy your GRANDMOTHER uses?"

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RE: Obviously!

But Win 8 ARM isn't a "full feature" windows 8 pc. It's an incredibly hobbled version of windows.

Heck, you can't even run other web browsers. You're stuck with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer.

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JDX
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Re: RE: Obviously!

IE10. Which you've never used?

iPad also locks down which browser you can use.

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Re: RE: Obviously!

IE10. Which you've never used?

Sorry, been using Win 8 for a while now...

iPad also locks down which browser you can use.

Yes it does, ios limits other browsers to simply being front ends to the safari webkit engine. It's why I switched to Android.

MS is trying to imitate Apple here without understanding why Apple can get away with some of the shenanigans it does. It's going to blow up in MS' face.

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Don't know why all the downvotes, the fanbois must have got to you first, the fact is you're right. If, like many people I know, you find yourself carrying around an iPad and an ultrabook or netbook, because you, know their functionality doesn't entirely overlap, then you may well find one of these devices is perfect. Hard to say until you can play with them, but snarky dismissal based solely on the fact that they're not limited-functionality, fruity-badged toys is not too clever.

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Re: RE: Obviously!

surely Opera and Chrome are both available on ios

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Re: RE: Obviously!

Nope, the closest Opera has is "Opera Mini" which is a glorified picture viewer. Essentially you go to say the bbc news website, it renders the bbc news website on operas servers and then sends you a rendered image of that page to opera mini.

Chrome exists on ios but it's simply a shell to the safari webkit engine. It doesn't have any of the engine features of Chrome like V8 etc. And IOS limits the fast JS engine (Nitro) to Safari only.

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MIc

Down votes are what all the cool kids are doing.

I think it is a result of all the negative sentiment MS has built up over the years. Their products are having a very difficult time getting a fair shake in the minds of consumers. I think my Lumia 900 is awesome and I can't wait to get a Surface. But MS will have to continue to produce quality products like Win7 and WP7 to rebuild their good will.

Right now MS is considered to be icky and the cool thing is to bash them. But is you want to be true counter culture underground super cool then up voting MS is the way to go.

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Re: RE: Obviously!

Hang on a mo - surely the Windows RT one is a plain tablet without the twisting keyboard thing. The ones with keyboard are x86 machines, which means full Windows 8. (Well, it's hard to tell from the article - though even if these ones aren't, lots of x86 hybrids are being released, with Windows RT really being kept for the low end pure tablets.)

And this also seems to be a case of attacking from completely opposite directions. The article praises Ipads for being simple and criticises this for being complex, but then you come along and criticise Windows RT for being simple.

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Re: RE: Obviously!

I'm not sure why only one company can "get away" with something...

But the point the OP was trying to make was that MS aren't doing only this, they're givng us choice. So Windows RT and pure tablets are for people who want a dumbed down Ipad clone, the rest of us can be happy with a device that has keyboard and runs full Windows.

And "Tim" thinks it's the *latter* that's a bad idea - whilst the rest of us here would prefer it. I do find it bizarre that MS offering the choice of either means they end up being criticised from both sides...

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Re: RE: Obviously!

@Mark C Casey; The "clever-twisty-touch-keyboard-trackpad-Windows" are Win8 ARM machines - Dell was the only company that hinted at one of those, and it was "just" a 10" tablet.

The "clever-twisty-touch-keyboard-trackpad-Windows" devices were full-fat Wintel machines.

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Re: RE: Obviously!

"MS is trying to imitate Apple here without understanding why Apple can get away with some of the shenanigans it does"

Indeed, Microsoft are the cargo-cultists of the tech age.

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Agreed

I have an iPad.... and I'd MUCH rather have one of these sexy new gadgets that I can use in every scenario. The only trouble for me is figuring out which one I will settle on. HP's Envy x2 would be perfect if it came with a wacom style pen for taking notes.

As I want to hold out for reviews anyway, I may just end up waiting for the Surface Pro since it really is the best to cover all angles imo... lightweight, premium performance specs, easy k/b solution, and a pen. I love Toshiba's slider as well though and will probably get it... though not so much as a tablet replacement, that will be my ultrabook purchase for the year.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Down votes are what all the cool kids are doing.

You do have a point, but I think the real problem is that generally the journalists touting the currently popular dumbed down toys are the 'kids' you mention; they are just in the habit of hyping everything Apple, and denigrating Microsoft, as that is what they perceive the market wants to read. They also tend to be completely consumer focused, so they don't see the full range of plus and minus points for each side.

It's really difficult to find any impartial review sites, most are like the Register, that are no more than blogs with a face on, posting click bait.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: Obviously!

I guess you also seriously believe Apple invented tablet computing, *8years* after Microsoft released Windows XP Tablet edition...?

Jesus, the stupidity of the current crop of IT people are why the industry is committing suicide.

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Stop

The problem

Windows 8. Not a PC, not yet a tablet.

Relegating the desktop to an 'app' is why I will not be going down the windows 8 route (apart from the preview in a VM). I just can't really see netbeans running on a tablet system such as 8.

Windows ME was just slow. Vista was buggy but they were still familiar. Windows 8 is just awkward for no user gain. Even Unity is better, and thats saying a lot.

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Re: The problem

I don't know why people bring up Windows ME, which was a sideshow for slow machines for OEMs getting rid of XMas stock. The main parade was already the NT/2000 line.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem

Works fine on my 4 year old laptop - which also works as a tablet.

Guess HP and Microsoft beat Apple to it.

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Do these tanks have the grunt to park on Apple's lawn?

Put Android on them and they'll fly above the whole property and even have the option of leaving the county.

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wub
FAIL

Re: Do these tanks have the grunt to park on Apple's lawn?

NO! NO! NO! This is Windows 8 for ARM (or Windows RT). Don't forget about the conditions Microsoft placed on this OS for secure boot! You CANNOT INSTALL ANY OTHER OS ON ONE OF THESE!!! Period.

If it was Windows 8 for Intel (or whatever they call that version), THEN you can get around secure boot a couple of ways (ask Canonical or Fedora) or, supposedly, the end user can simply turn it off.

We have to spread the word! WindowsRT on an ARM device is a complete dead-end.

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Re: Do these tanks have the grunt to park on Apple's lawn?

Only one of the devices appears to be Windows RT, the other devices seem to be x86 machines. (Though the article is a bit unclear - but at least one mentions x86 specifically, and in general, lots of the new hybrid machines being announced are x86.)

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Re: Do these tanks have the grunt to park on Apple's lawn?

Put Android on them and they'll fly above the whole property and even have the option of leaving the county.

Really? Android tablets are available in all these form-factors and more. Are they outselling iPads?

No.

Android cheerleading in the tablet format seems to be futile. Give it up.

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Meh

Always amazed at the tech journos......

....pushing their tongues right up Apple's arse.

If they carry on and push everyone over to Apple they will have even less of a job and reason to justify their existence. Nothing to report on other than the once a year mega expensive refresh (read 'warmed over').

Plus it will be a very boring world indeed.

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Re: Always amazed at the tech journos......

I agree - depressing we can't get through an article without an obligitary Apple plug.

The bizarre thing is that the criticism it makes is the complete *opposite* point of view of most the commenters/voters here. The consensus seems to be disliking pure tablet devices, and locked down Windows RT[*] - exactly the same reason why people here don't like Ipads. Yet "Tim" criticises it for having a keyboard, and not being "simple". It's as if they intentionally picked a comment that would criticise it, but for reasons completely unrepresentative of what most readers think.

[*] And ppl seem to have missed that many of these devices are running x86 Windows.

If PC sales have "slumped", it's because they've long reached saturation (everyone who wants one, has one), and we're in bad economic times. It's much easier for a market to grow when it's new, and much smaller. That doesn't mean it can be extrapolated to say that tablets will be what everyone uses instead of PCs, as the Register, the media and so-called analysts seem to think. "The PC is dying" is getting old, and the way the media want to push us all to Ipads is worrying.

Plus what is a PC? Why is it a "PC" if it's a tablet only device running Windows RT, but not if it's running Android or IOS, and made by one of the same companies that make laptops...

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WTF?

Sony Tap 20

Seriously a 20 inch touch screen at 1600 x 900? Do they get that it's a touch screen and won't likely be used at a bit beyond arm's length like a normal monitor? Either their vision is very different from mine or their glasses have fish-eye lenses.

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Joke

Re: Sony Tap 20

A 20" tablet - so you can see an 10" tablet user and say, "Call that a tablet, THIS is a tablet."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sony Tap 20

Actually, that kind of set up *can* be quite handy.

I do have a couple of 25.5" HP Touch Smart all-in-ones set up as a kind of 'communication' device at home and at my office - with Windows 8 on it the touch works out really well, and that is where I check emails, watch the news, watch TV (using FilmOn - free), and the touch interface works really well now. It sits within reach and has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 :-)

I'm going to see how well Xbox SmartGlass works out on it.

For development work I use a standard non-touch screen, keyboard and mouse - but having the big touch screen next to me is really quite handy to act as a sort of 'star trek' control device - its also great for remote desktop connections while taking up very little desk space.

Just my opinion of course.

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Re: Sony Tap 20

A 20" tablet - so you can see an 10" tablet user and say, "Call that a tablet, THIS is a tablet."

LOL

Many years ago I bought a laptop with a 19" screen as a desktop replacement. I needed the performance (3.2GHz P4), the screen area *AND* portability.

There were a few 'unfortunate' reactions from one or two 'members' of the client's staff when I turned up on sites with that monster :)

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Re: Sony Tap 20

"It sits within reach and has a resolution of 1920 x 1200"

That's part of my point, because the device is supposed to be touched and nearer the eyes, it needs a resolution a bit better than a mid range 15" laptop. Add to that all the foolishness with ribbons, blessed be the dev who auto-hides or lets me close the ribbon - that's not you PTC with your fixed 200 pixel ribbon, and that paltry 900 pixel height becomes a serious liability.

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Just give me a Surface Pro with a 14.3" screen (A4 at 1005) and I will be very very happy.

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MIc
Facepalm

More down vote crap

This is what I was referring to. You comment only concerns yourself and what you want and you get down votes. I guess you don't get to want the things that you want??? It's like you're a bad person for wanting an MS product.

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A few things Windows will get right

Keyboard, mouse and printer support.

I'm amazed by how crap Android is as soon as you plug in a keyboard / mouse or a trackpad. It does the basics (there is a mouse pointer), but hover over a field and does the pointer change context? Nope. Does Ctrl + Shift + Cursor work in some text field? Depends, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't work at all. Some apps like Polaris Office don't even offer advanced cursor selection / navigation. Want to print? Hohohoho! There are a mess of 3rd party solutions struggling to fill the void a proper print infrastructure should be.

Android is a great OS and I believe it will be superior to RT in many regards but it really screws up with these things. I wish Google would take time to make Android run great with keyboards and mice and great to use as a portable office. Give up the delusion that ChromeOS is ever going to take off and start kitting out Android to address RT's strengths while there is time.

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Re: A few things Windows will get right

Android is still focused for touch, mouse and keyboard support is still an afterthought.

I think Google at some point is going to have to do a desktop variant at some point. Just like they've done a tablet variant UI/UX.

I think they're going to do something akin to what some phone manufacturers have been demoing for years. You have a phone/tablet that you plug into a dock which is connected to a mouse, keyboard and monitor. A new UI/UX then appears on the monitor for you to use your phone/tablet as a computer. (sort of similar to what Ubuntu demoed a little while ago)

Totally agree on ChromeOS, it's a delusion. It's going nowhere. Google should be focusing on Android.

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Thumb Down

Re: A few things Windows will get right

Those are what *I* and clearly what the android developers consider "PC" functionality.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A few things Windows will get right

>Android is still focused for touch, mouse and keyboard support is still an afterthought.

Tosh - the first Android phone (g1) had a trackball mouse and a qwerty keyboard built in.

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Re: A few things Windows will get right

"Those are what *I* and clearly what the android developers consider "PC" functionality."

Android implements half assed keyboard and mouse support and no print support at all. Doing so would not turn the device into a "PC", instead it would turn it into a useful portable device for typing up substantial documents on the go.

Given that it's one of the things that Windows RT can be guaranteed not to screw up, now would be the time for Android to get its house in order.

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Re: A few things Windows will get right

Do you seriously think Microsoft won't screw up printer and keyboard support? They have screwed up other things before. :)

Seriously, if Microsoft knew what they were doing, they'd have added Win32 support an an x86 emulator to Windows 8 RT.

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FAIL

Re: A few things Windows will get right

Seriously, if Microsoft knew what they were doing, they'd have added Win32 support an an x86 emulator to Windows 8 RT.

Because then it could run as slow as Android! What a sales technique!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A few things Windows will get right

"Those are what *I* and clearly what the android developers consider "PC" functionality."

Well, if enough of the user base were to consider it to be useful, desirable or (how dare they) essential, I would say that that you and the Android developers would be the ones in error.

Developers who put their own requirements and prejudices forefront in a product are, to me, akin to a fine art salesman who only sells art that he would personally buy. Never a particularly wise approach.

Are you really suggesting, because you consider that to be PC functionality and you surmise that the Andriod developers hold the same position, that it should not even be considered for improvement/implementation? If so, wow!

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Been playing with 8 this morning

Wow..just wow...

I got an e-mail this morning telling me to get all the win 7 licence keys together, so we're ready to move to win 8. So I downloaded the consumer release preview... Oh my GOD what an absolute clusterf**k in a box. I see what it's trying to do...but it's just so bad at it...

It all started after it took a full 20 minutes to startup after 'installation' (in a VM machine on an i7 giving it a meaty 4gb of Ram) Then it just got worse, I couldn't work out how the hell you quit. So I googled that, then i was using ie 10 and it arbitrarily stopped a download when i hit the progress bar.

I then went back into ie. and told it to use the desktop, which it promptly did...but then locked me into the desktop with absolutely no way to get out or escape from it, without resetting the VM.

Installed office 2010, littering 20 or so tiles on the 'metro interface' most of which are useless...and then about 90 minutes ago, i had to turn the vm off, because it point blank refused to bring up the side bar with the Shutdown. I'm learning it because i'm going to support it..and more worryingly our guy in charge of tech wants to shove surface pro at everyone.

Personally what i'm seeing is another closed alley by MS. We're going to buy a load of surface pc's at approx £600 each, and then MS are going to call the whole thing a massive failure and retreat...

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Re: Been playing with 8 this morning

Classic shell, you're welcome.

It makes Windows 8 usable with a mouse and keyboard.

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Facepalm

Re: Been playing with 8 this morning

Just stick your most used apps in the Taskbar like normal and change the default Metro Apps to the desktop versions and you rarely have to venture out of desktop world.

It's not that difficult.

I was pretty anti Windows8 at first but then I decided to just get on with it and nut up.

Once you actually stop whining, pull your bottom lip from over the top of your head and do a little configuration you find actually it works fine.

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Happy

Re: Been playing with 8 this morning

Well, it's not really designed for us in a VM. Maybe its the hypervisor causing the speed problems, because Windows 8 is noticably quicker than 7.

I was also sceptical about Windows 8, having tried both previews, and I was ranting to friends that it would be a disaster, how I couldn't figure out how to use it.

But I stuck with it, and now, I wouldn't go back. Once you 'get' the way Charms work, that it actually does work quite well with a mouse keyboard combination, you do learn to appreciate a lot of the improvements.

It's fast, for example - the startup on my 4 year old laptop with an AMD Turion is about 22 seconds from cold-boot bios screen to Windows log in screen being available. From sleep mode to using fingerprint recognition to sign in is about *3* seconds to show the new Metro UI / Windows 8 interface etc etc.

It certainly isn't perfect - the switch to desktop happens far too many times for my daily workload, and it's still jarring - but that's probably because most of us here are in the industry and use our computers in a completely different way to many consumers.

All in all, I think it's a pretty good effort from Microsoft. For a first release, it's usable and with promise. It is not for everyone, but given time, I think this will be a winner.

The biggest problem is that it really is different for people.

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Re: Been playing with 8 this morning

I decided to throw together a Win8 machine with some spare components at the weekend - the only new part was a 60G SSD I picked up on sale. It took less than 11 minutes to install, and that included a couple of minutes for me to go find the installation key that I'd forgotten to write down before I started installing it.

But I couldn't find a useful "Intro to Windows 8" document or website that would explain in a couple of pages the sort of things that are causing people to stumble in their first 30 minutes with Windows 8. I don't need to know a bunch of in depth things, just some pointers to the stuff that used to be bleeding obvious because I've been using XP or Win7 for years, but now isn't.

I know that part of the problem is that we all tend to have different habits, and most of us don't even use the features that we are aware of, so writing such a "first 20 minutes with Windows 8" guide would inevitably cover stuff that many people would have no interest in, but moving to Windows 8 is feeling like much more work than moving to Windows 7 was.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Been playing with 8 this morning

agreed Win8 is QUICK Boots from power on (including BIOS) to desktop (on our domain) in 25 seconds and thats on a 6 year old DELL Optiplex GX745 (core 2 duo 2gb RAM) Also didn't have any speed issues running it on Hyper-v

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Happy

Re: Been playing with 8 this morning

With an old SATA I laptop from 2006 and Windows 8 installed on a 64GB Samsung 830 is gets to desktop in 12 seconds.

With a modern disk controller I reckon it would be around 4-5 seconds.

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Happy

Re: Been playing with 8 this morning

@ Al Jones

Until you mentioned it, I forgot how good the installation process was. No problems with drivers.

One of the things that really amazed me was that I did an in-place upgrade from Windows 8 Consumer Preview to the Release Candidate when that came out - and *all the while it was installing the new OS files*, people were still talking to me on that machine on the Messenger app - all the networking and core application support was still running.

I was kind of amazed. It required a reboot and the end of course, so presumably Microsoft have used some sort of shadow copy approach to this.

Of course after it was released via MSDN I did a bare metal install.

Windows Update is a lot less intrusive too - I hardly even notice it now and it seems much quicker.

I haven't tried the built in 'Refresh Windows without losing data' or 'Factory settings reset' yet, but it looks promising that Microsoft are heading in that direction.

I still think that the desktop needs to be far more integrated. I used Start8 with the preview releases, and that made the new Start menu seem much easy to get to grips with. Now I don't use it, but I think Microsoft should look at these (Classic Shell, Start8) as examples, and build something in to a Service Pack that makes the desktop integration more seamless.

Also another slight downer is IE10's lack of compatibility with a lot of websites that don't have problems with Firefox or Chrome. I think that is probably the biggest disappointment - that after all this time, they still don't have the browser right. In the current market, that is unforgivable, and Microsoft really need to get the browser engine right, and quickly.

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Stupid.

MS could have actually made some real gains with W8 - made it the OS you use when you want to get stuff done, rather than consume media.

In the time they've taken they could have re-written it to be safe from the ground up and far easier to use by building on what people already know how to do.

Instead they're chasing Apple like a cat after a laser. You'll be able to hear them hit the skirting board from here.

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Not Inspiron?

Since they are calling the RT tablet the Dell XPS 10 they are putting it with the higher end home computers and not with the cheapo Inspirons. Sounds like they are going to go for an iPad price, not a Nexus 7 price.

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I'm amazed at how easy people are swayed by media hype. When Netbooks came out, the industry complained amongst themselves and leaked emails how they just shot themselves in the foot by creating Netbooks, which had to be priced lower then laptops and the profit margin was ridiculously low compared to laptops. Netbooks had 320gig or higher storage,2 gig mem,10.1 screen for about $250 or less on sale. Now come the tablets and all the peripherals to turn them into Netbooks,hint Keyboards, 1gig mem, 16,32,64 gig storage, when they first came out at an entry point of$499. Record sales and profit by the wheelbarrow full. Since the Kindle came out at $199 the rest of the pack had to lower their prices even tho the Kindle wasn't quite a Tablet, which millions didn't see, and they were more interested in the books. The tablets today at a lower entry price is still very very profitable vs the Netbook. The netbook still gives you more value for your money. By the time I put a vinyl or leather jacket around my 10" tablet to protect the screen, its as thick as a netbook. my 2 cents.

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