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Handhelds Intel Hardware

Intel's Atom To Ship In Over 35 Tablets Next Year 146

Posted by timothy
from the new-warmness dept.
nateman1352 writes with a bit from TechSpot: "Intel has been trying to cut itself a slice of the mobile market for years, and it seems the company is finally making some headway. During a conference yesterday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini revealed that the company's Atom platform will ship in over 35 tablets starting early next year. The chipmaker has partnered with more than a dozen manufacturers who will launch slates running Windows [or] Android as well as Intel's own MeeGo operating system." The article lists Toshiba, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Asus, AT&T, Cisco, and Acer as developing Atom-based tablets.
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Intel's Atom To Ship In Over 35 Tablets Next Year

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  • 35 tablets? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2010 @02:50PM (#34608814)

    35 tablets is "making some headway"? Way to shoot high...

    Yeah, I know... they meant "35 tablet models"...

    • Very much this (Score:4, Insightful)

      by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:14PM (#34609016) Journal

      The new Oak Trail and Moorestown processors look interesting from a raw technology point of view. Low watts, great power management, good performance, x86 compatible. A guy could make a lot of neat stuff with that. But a processor is not a platform. Intel has shown some shortsightedness in product positioning on netbooks by encouraging OEMs to stay within a platform definition for display size, memory configuration, and so on. They're afraid of "cannibalization". This limits the scope of creativity for the designer and prevents the creation of innovative systems that excite people. The fear of cannibalization is actually a fear that the new product will be overwhelmingly successful and sweep the field - which for any other chipmaker would be the ideal outcome, not something to be feared. The field needs sweeping, and I think the competitors are going to get her done by taking the field without these self-imposed hobbles.

      That, and no current major PC vendor will ship a system that can run Windows with anything but Windows. That means that non-Windows systems with these processors will be made in low quantities, and Windows systems made with these processors will sell in low quantities no matter how many are made. The market has clearly spoken about the desirability of Windows tablets - screamed it in fact. So unless Intel can change the entire market dynamic of Windows and OEMs, these processors are going nowhere. Maybe Apple, Samsung and HTC will do the needful thing - otherwise this time next year we'll have forgotten these processors and be talking about the awesome iPad2 and other ARM tablets that continue to innovate and impress. There will of course be the usual number of indefatiguable fanboys for the Windows tablets product online - just like there are for WP7 and were for Vista - all of them posting from the same script, which is sort of creepy.

      But the chips themselves? Yeah. Way cool tech. Way to go Intel! You guys sure know how to make chips. Congratulations on 35 design wins. I sure hope you manage to figure out how to sell chips into mobile and get people excited about your products in that space. But I'm not counting on it. It's not about the widget or the gadget. It's about the people and what they can do with it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hey, Moses started with just 2 tablets, and look what happened there...

  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Sunday December 19, 2010 @02:50PM (#34608824) Homepage

    Ubuntu is doing a lot of work on multitouch right now... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least some of these could have reasonably open drivers for their hardware. Given that Ubuntu is working on an app store as well there's at least some kind of a chance for an open alternative to Apple's walled garden.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by angiasaa (758006)

      Don't cross your fingers.. it will screw with your multitouch capabilities. :)

    • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:07PM (#34608958)
      If you're comparing an Ubuntu tablet to an iPad, there's already an open alternative: Android tablets. The GalaxyTab has already gotten some good reviews and there're more Android tablets trickling out every day. They might not all be good or similar to an iPad, but there are plenty of people who want different form factors and Android allows manufacturers to make that choice. I can't see Ubuntu being terribly much better than the tablets that have been running Windows 7. Sure, you get Linux instead of Windows, but it's still bolting a touch interface onto a desktop OS and running it on hardware no more powerful than a netbook. Maybe this is something that you want, but given how terrible the sales of Windows 7 tablets have been, I can't see Linux devices doing much better in the market.

      Apple doesn't even make a tablet that uses a regular desktop OS. If you're comparing Ubuntu's app store to the OS X app store that doesn't even exist yet the comparison makes no sense since you can side load apps on OS X and it's been the only way to do so up until now. Ubuntu's app store will also be curated just like the major repositories (which honestly are pretty much app stores without a fancy graphical front end) or at least it had better be because if it's full of malware no one is going to want to use it. Regardless, it doesn't make a lot of sense to compare a desktop OS app store to a tablet OS app store. They run on different devices which have different histories.

      I'm not really sure what it is you're looking for as you seem to be mixing two different ideas together while trying to treat them as though they are similar. Could you perhaps explain what you meant? I'm having a hard time trying to determine exactly what kind of product it is that you're looking for.
      • by the linux geek (799780) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:23PM (#34609110)
        I have to work with Android development every day. It is so spectacularly bad that I start to feel a little nauseous every time I hear someone raving about how its the future. For one thing, calling it "open" is a fucking joke - maybe some parts of some OS components are open, but go use one of those cheap Chinese knockoff devices based on the open source tree to see how well that code actually works to assemble a full OS. I'm also still mystified as to what makes people think Android is more of a "smartphone" OS than the J2ME based featurephones everyone has had for a decade - same Java lockin, similar strange low-memory-consumption JVM's, just without reasonably standardized API's. And don't even get me started on fragmentation - let's just say you have not known frustration until you build an application, submit it to the QA team, and find that it crashes randomly on Galaxy S devices due to weird inconsistencies in the Galaxy S's Android implementation. And, even worse, that the Galaxy S handles logging differently than any other Android device on the market.

        I despise Objective-C, but I'd take iPhone as a target platform over Android any day.
        • by Zerimar (1124785)
          I've seen a lot of apps in the market saying they don't work with the Samsung Galaxy S line of phones - your post helps me understand why. Is there any company doing more harm to the Android ecosystem than Samsung? HTC and Motorola stay pretty close to Google's Android, and seem to benefit from it. Samsung needs to wake up.
        • by hawkeye (4170)
          I'll wait for WebOS tablets...where the development environment is not spectacularly bad...
          • by migla (1099771)

            >I'll wait for WebOS tablets...where the development environment is not spectacularly bad...

            Have you looked into MeeGo development in the mean time?

            • I am friends with a longtime Meego née Moblin developer, and it is a huge pile of fail according to him.

              He has access to a bunch of beta grade devices, some of which are pretty slick hardware wise, basically the same Intel tablets that will be coming out next year, and they are all ass compared to the iPad. Battery life is still awful for the Intel units. They may have 10 hour run times, which looks similar to the iPad, but the iPad does "10 hours of HD video" and the Intel tablets do 3. I get a sol

        • by hsmith (818216)
          I've been long dreading porting my iPhone App to Android for the fragmentation issues. It is enough there are plenty of flavors of iOS out there (And Apple doesn't provide a means for developers to downgrade to perform testing), but on Android the problems are only compounded. I mean, I have been playing with Android enough - but it is far, as you proclaim, from being the "open future" people want it to be.
        • by migla (1099771)

          Disregarding that MeeGo isn't really anywhere yet, have you looked into that from the openness fragmentation and general pain of development perspective?

        • by Raenex (947668)

          I'm also still mystified as to what makes people think Android is more of a "smartphone" OS than the J2ME based featurephones everyone has had for a decade - same Java lockin, similar strange low-memory-consumption JVM's, just without reasonably standardized API's.

          J2ME was a really cut down Java to handle the weak phones of the times, so it gave people trouble. Android is pretty much Java, which love or hate Java, is pretty easy to build applications in.

        • by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @06:56PM (#34610688)

          Worse yet, if you're trying to build anything game related, it's an absolute disaster.

          With iPhone, you get a guarentee that 90% of your target market has a PowerVR SGX and can run OpenGL ES 2.0 pretty well.

          With Android, you get no real graphics chip on 70% of devices in the wild, and on the other 30% the performance varies so wildly that you have no way to judge how much graphics work you can do.

    • by binkzz (779594)

      Ubuntu is doing a lot of work on multitouch right now... I'm keeping my fingers crossed

      Then why do you need multitouch?

    • by DMiax (915735)

      Given that Ubuntu is working on an app store as well there's at least some kind of a chance for an open alternative to Apple's walled garden.

      In my time we called those repositories. The micropaying system on the other hand is pretty new, since back then Linux used to come with all that is needed attached.

      • Well, frankly what signifies a store from a repository is some kind of payment logic. And payment logic goes a long way to motivate developers to contribute to the platform.

        I welcome the change. I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable fee for stuff I use regularly and wish to support. Building it on top of the existing .deb infrastructure and Ubuntu software center makes sense.

    • Ubuntu is doing a lot of work on multitouch right now... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least some of these could have reasonably open drivers for their hardware.

      The WeTab runs a modified version of MeeGo, but runs Ubuntu just as well. All the drivers work (including the Crystal HD decoder card). The hardware is pretty much identical to the ExoPC, so that should run Ubuntu just as well.

      • by migla (1099771)

        >I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least some of these could have reasonably open drivers for their hardware.

        Nowadays having open drivers for various chips should be more and more compelling, since there are so many companies doing so many different configurations, that it's too much work getting the drivers working with the hw of all the customers putting together tablets and phones and whatnot. At least I wish that would logically follow...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Intel's Atom To Ship In Over 35 Tablets Next Year"

    What are they hand built like a super car? Maybe in 2012 they can make 50 tablets but they may have to bring in another employee to pull that off.

    • by jovius (974690)
      Well, it says they will ship over 35 tablets. What I don't understand is why Atom will be shipped over 35 tablets instead of inside many more of them.
  • by melted (227442) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @02:56PM (#34608860) Homepage

    At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their tablet sales prospects against Apple. Yes, I do think they'll be able to sell 35 of them or so. Maybe 40, if they drop the price.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      you go, fanboi.. some people might want to use a tablet for something else other than gimmicky 'apps'. apples stuff doesn't allow that.

      • The thing is those people have had that option for years....and no one bought them. Look up the Motion Computing tablets or the HP Tc1100. Both had all the "something else" like usb ports, video out, memory card slots, all the crap that supposedly everyone wants...but they didn't sell for shit. I really wish the people who whine about their choices being too locked down had put their money where their mouth is but unfortunately all the whining in the world doesnt work if no one buys the products available so manufacturers get the idea that simple and stripped down is really more what people want.

        • by gtall (79522)

          People who want all that other stuff, in my opinion, probably want a laptop and are happy with it. Apple never targeted that crowd, they have laptops and I'm sure they didn't want any new device they field to cannibalize their laptop sales (which I think are still pretty good). Instead, Apple shot for a new market of people. That new market could care less about a lot of the whizzy hardware stuff, they just wanted a simple device for simple things. They got it. MS hasn't realized this, they think they are g

          • "People who want all that other stuff, in my opinion, probably want a laptop and are happy with it."

            I can agree with that. Even more, I still have no idea what all those people buying iPads intend to do with it.

        • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @09:32PM (#34611712)

          Both had all the "something else" like usb ports, video out, memory card slots, all the crap that supposedly everyone wants...

          Would you like to bet that all 3 of those make it into the iPad over the next 1.5 years?

          People do want that crap, it's just that Apple intentionally withheld it so they can trick OCD Apple fans into buying the next 2-3 models of iPad they release over literally the next 2 years. Seems kind of cynical to me, but they're probably right - Apple fans will lap that shit up.

          So your point is silly. Apple has a built in set of marketing tools that nobody else has, and they had good timing with the iPad.

        • by hazydave (96747)

          The earlier PC tablets were like the earlier compact laptops -- they cut out features and raise the price, sometimes dramatically. As a result, tablets and laptops with 10-12" screens were niche items.

          The creation of the netbook changed this for small laptops. Sure, they were yet-even-more underpowered, though in an era in which most users don't need the power of the PC they've got, this is acceptable in a $200-$300 computer.

          Apple took a different tack. They always sell overpriced laptops, and the reason th

    • by angiasaa (758006)

      You call that realistic? I think they're missing a decimal point somewhere in that estimate. :|

    • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:14PM (#34609014)
      I think it's more of a hardware problem than a OS issue. Samsung has shown that Android tablets can sell well, but they've used an ARM chip just like Apple has used. ARM chips get a hell of a lot more performance per watt than Atom has ever been able to get. Unless the amount of power they can offer is significantly better, I can't see a good reason why anyone would want to use one. Tablets require small sizes and light weights to be successful. Cramming a more power hungry chip in one is just going to make it burn through the battery more quickly or require a bigger battery.

      I also wonder how many of these are going to end up being Windows 7 tablets because those haven't sold worth a damn and if the vast majority of these are Windows 7 devices, I wouldn't expect more than a few hundred thousand atom-based tablets to sell all year. That's hardly a praise-worthy figure when both Apple and Samsung can sell over one million ARM-based tablets in a month.

      It's not an Apple thing. It's an unsuitable CPU thing.
      • by jonbryce (703250)

        It is also an OS issue, or at least a UI issue. What both products show is that a tablet should be a giant sized pda / smart phone, not a laptop with the keyboard chopped off.

  • 35 tablets isn't that many. Apple must have sold 10 million iPads by now.

  • by caywen (942955) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:07PM (#34608962)

    The question for me is, will Microsoft do its part? Are they gonna half ass it by slapping on some lame, choppy UI that takes up even more memory and resources on top of Win7? Or will they do the right thing and strip Win7 down to its core and work on a first class tablet experience from the ground up? Remember MinWin? That sure looked cool, but where has that gone?

    My guess is they will half ass it as they always do, and then a bunch of clueless execs will be left scratching their heads why sales flopped. Then, a handful of execs who knew the whole thing sucked and fought to do the right thing will leave and defect to Google or start a company. The wheat will leave and Microsoft will be left with the chaff.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      From what I hear, MS is just going to use Win7 in tablets, no tablet UI (or if there is one, one that isn't hugely different). Having talked with people in the company, they don't seem to get that the desktop motif they use will not be good for tablets.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      To be fair to MS, I was looking for something to do with an ancient Asus R2H UMPC (900MHz Celeron with 1.2GB RAM) and failed miserably to get Ubuntu Netbook Remix to boot on it so I popped on Windows 7 and it 'just worked', albeit that I had to run some drivers under Windows Vista or XP compatibility mode. In the end, Windows 7 provided a pretty decent stylus interface that ran at a decent pace on the ancient hardware, so it should have no problems on a dual core Atom with a better-spec screen.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 19, 2010 @04:52PM (#34609712) Journal

      You want to know the sad part? MSFT has the fricking source code and doesn't do as well as the pirate hackers with their own shit. look up "Tiny7" and you'll find a version of Windows 7 that'll run anything a regular Win7 will and just takes 145MB of RAM and almost 0% CPU on the desktop. For even crazier numbers look up "TinyXP Rev 09" which uses just 45MB! on the desktop or MicroXP A03" which uses just 32MB.

      MSFT needs to hire the pirate hackers and have THEM design the lightweight versions, because trying them out they'll play any game or office app you throw at them and feel fast even on 10 year old crap. Which considering the Atom is in order crap that is like a hyper P3 would mean you'd actually have a Windows that was snappy on one. Personally I'll wait until some come out with the AMD Neo, as it pairs an actual AMD CPU, which means out of order dual cores with virtualization and x64 support as well as DEP, with a nice Radeon GPU so the videos will all be unskippy and smooth.

      Playing with Atom based netbooks here at the shop it always amazes me people buy these things, as I have 7 year old laptops that feel smoother and handle better than the Atom single cores everyone keeps using. I guess it just proves folks will buy just about anything if it is cheap enough. Hell I should have known that when the local Walgreen's sold out of the $99 Android tablet, which felt so anemic that even launching a fricking browser felt like you needed to pack a lunch first.

      • by gtall (79522)

        How much of Win7 is in there because MS wants to hogtie all their systems together? Put another way, in the stripped down systems, are they as integrated with the rest of MS's ecosystem?

      • Actually, most netbooks with Atoms I've seen are dual-core atoms and they are fast enough for most purposes.
      • by N Monkey (313423)

        Personally I'll wait until some come out with the AMD Neo, as it pairs an actual AMD CPU, which means out of order dual cores with virtualization and x64 support as well as DEP, with a nice Radeon GPU so the videos will all be unskippy and smooth.

        Playing with Atom based netbooks here at the shop it always amazes me people buy these things

        It hardly sounds like playing videos will be a problem - following a couple of links from TFA and you can find [computerworld.com]:

        The system-on-chip will deliver four times better graphics compared to its predecessors, according to the document. Intel's Moorestown graphics core is capable of encoding video at 720p and decoding video at a 1080p resolution.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          But with what formats? See you really have to watch out for what I call "Intel speak" and I'll give an example: For years their chips could play high def MPG 1-2, but any other format would peg the CPU at 100% and bog the living hell out of the system. The Intel IGPs always seem to end up like those little Broadcom "HD" chips, in that it'll play one or two formats, that are perfectly encoded to a set standard, very very well. Everything else will cause it to choke and throw it to the CPU.

          Now last I checked

          • by N Monkey (313423)

            But with what formats? See you really have to watch out for what I call "Intel speak" and I'll give an example: For years their chips could play high def MPG 1-2, but any other format would peg the CPU at 100% and bog the living hell out of the system.

            Well, if Anandtech [anandtech.com] is correct, then it's got dedicated HW decode support for at least most of the standards (MPEG2 & 4, H.264, DivX, VC1) to HD resolution. At least, that's what the slide says.

            It doesn't sound like it'll be a problem.

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              While I read your Anandtech article, it still really doesn't answer what I'm getting at. Here let me give an example that will better explain. I often have to help customers with setting up their cams and camcorders to interface with their PCs. So far I have seen H.264 in MKV files, in AVI files, in WMV files, in MOV files and even one funky cam that put out H.263 in RMV.

              Now the video decoders from ATI and Nvidia from what I've seen are pretty good about working on just about any file, no matter the wrappe

  • Didn't the plethora of netbooks teach us the Atom processor is woefully underpowered? Why does anyone think it's going to be any better in a tablet?
    • by angiasaa (758006)

      If they plan to sell them in 2012, I'm sure half the mobile phones on the market would outperform them atom cores by miles. No idea what MS was thinking.

      But then again, I'm not supposed to worry. I don't work for them. :)

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        No idea what MS was thinking.

        Let me guess: 'Windows users can't run existing Windows software on ARM, so we need an x86 chip instead'.

        • by peragrin (659227)

          That's the point of this that just about every but apple and android seems to be ignoring. Running standard windows apps on a tablet is like shitting in your kitchen sink. Just because you can doesn't mean it was meant for the purpose, and it always leaves you with a terrible mess to clean up later.

          You need a dedicated tablet interface, and regular applications have to be at least modified to follow that. Since the apps in question only run specific windows versions without trouble what makes you think t

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            That's the point of this that just about every but apple and android seems to be ignoring.

            I don't think that Microsoft are ignoring it, they just don't have any choice. If they released a new version of Windows for tablets, then no current Windows software will run on it, and the only reason people buy Windows is to run their old Windows apps.

            So the backwards compatibility that made them rich in the past is now screwing them as they try to get into new markets.

            • by peragrin (659227)

              Since 2002 MSFT has had a tablet additions to their OS. in that time they didn't do anything as simple as updating the mail client to work better with tablets.

              Apple didn't release a tablet OS, until after the web browser or mail client worked well for tablets.

              If it takes you ten years and you are still beaten by your competition then you are doing something wrong.

              • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                If it takes you ten years and you are still beaten by your competition then you are doing something wrong.

                I don't think "beaten" means what you think it means.

              • Since 2002 MSFT has had a tablet additions to their OS.

                You are a decade out there. Microsoft first made their tablet extensions for Windows 3.1 in 1991.

                in that time they didn't do anything as simple as updating the mail client to work better with tablets.

                They changed their mail client to use the ribbon interface [wikimedia.org]. I was never a big fan of the move to ribbons in Office, but I do have to admit that the ribbon makes it much easier to use on a tablet.

                Apple didn't release a tablet OS, until after the web browser or mail client worked well for tablets.

                I guess you are assuming that a tablet PC must use a finger-based interface, rather than a pen-based one. Microsoft's vision of a tablet has always assumed a pen interface, which given the time that it was first made see

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          Windows Phone and Windows Mobile run on ARM, and might actually work better on a touch screen device.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Didn't the plethora of netbooks teach us the Atom processor is woefully underpowered?

      If the Atom is 'woefully underpowered', what does that make the average ARM chip? I believe you need the fastest ARM generally available to beat an Atom on CPU performance.

      • The thing is that when you have an ARM chip you're not trying to run some flavor of Windows. It's the only reason to use an Intel chip. And if netbooks were slow and sucky I don't see how tablets based on the same platform are going to be any different.
        • by 0123456 (636235)

          And if netbooks were slow and sucky I don't see how tablets based on the same platform are going to be any different.

          If netbooks were 'slow and sucky' due to using Atom CPUs, why do you think a tablet based on an even slower CPU is going to be better?

          There are plenty of ARM-based chips which can offload video decoding to hardware so that it doesn't require as much CPU power, but for anything that's limited by CPU power, why would you want a slower CPU? ARMs are used because of their cost and power consumption, not because of their processing power.

          • Because of the OS. You're not going to run Windows on an ARM platform. And I'm betting that's what you're going to find on almost all the Atom-based tablets. And we know that Atom + Windows = fail.
            • by hazydave (96747)

              Unfortunately, Windows + Tablet = fail, too.

              There are multiple problems here, none likely to be fixed. The first problem is the UI... until Windows is as slick as iOS, WebOS, or Android (take your pick) on a finger based touch screen, the OS fails for tablets. Consumers at this level have already rejected stylus-based input, at least as the normal UI means.

              Then you have the general unusability of much of Windows software. This is inherently a bottom-of-the-barrel device, performance-wise. To support it prop

    • Tablets don't have to be powerful, but I don't think the Atom is a good choice as well. You can get an ARM processor to use less energy. Since you most likely have to play around with the OS anyways to get it onto a tablet, why not get rid of x86, too?
    • by DarkOx (621550)

      Once again the problem is the OS not the hardware. Admittedly Atom has a time pushing Windows 7 around. We had a number of them at the office for execs to play with. Put XP on them and they run great, so great I bought one. I am running Slackware 13 on mine with the XFCE desktop and its perfect and plenty fast. I can even use Codeblocks quite happily. Its good for watching online video as well 1366x768 native res screen. Once in a great while Atom might let a 720p mpeg4 video shudder just slightly, no

    • Thank fuck someone else realises this. I thought I was the only one vomiting with frustration at the mucoussy slowness of anything with a bloody Atom in it. I eventually reformatted the windows crap and tried ubuntu. Even that was a fucking joke. I remember my old 486DX being faster than this shit.

      I eventually broke the thing's spine with maniacal glee while having an argument with my wife.

      Atom is rubbish. Stay away.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Atom is rubbish. Stay away.

        Strange. I have three Atoms here and they work fine. I'm going to replace one with an i3 or i5 eventually, but only because it's the MythTV server and the Atom is a bit slow for transcoding.

        Of course I'm not trying to use it for playing modern games or editing H.264 HD video.

    • Underpowered? What are you trying to do? I use an Asus B202 with a 1.6ghz Atom/1gig RAM and WinXP, and DSL 4.XX in a VM? Everything runs FAST ENOUGH!

      Geez, you people have some strange ideas about NEED vs. WANT.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:22PM (#34609092)

    I understand why some people want to be compatible with x86, which is mainly for Microsoft Windows. Since most applications aren't designed for touchscreens, however, you don't need and shouldn't be using Windows in the first place. The target market for tablets is Web browsing, email, instant messaging, etc. It's an internet appliance.

    So if they don't need Windows, why are they using Atom in the first place? ARM processors are much better on a processing-per-watt basis, which should be your primary target when designing a portable device.

    Nintendo understood from the beginning that low-power is crucial for portable devices, which is one of the main reason the GameBoy won over all the other portable devices. The SEGA Nomad was a great idea, a portable Genesis/Mega Drive, but it could barely run 60 minutes on a set of fresh, brand-name alkaline batteries.

    So my question is: are those companies so fucking stupid that they want to make inferior products or are they just too braindead to make software? Do Microsoft have a gun to their head? What's going on here?

    • "Do Microsoft have a gun to their head?"

      Probably. Microsof and Intel probably have guns to their heads.

  • And oddly... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:22PM (#34609098) Homepage
    It's the small guys' products I'm most interested about. Dell, HP, Asus, Acer & co. seem to be struggling to find something worthwhile, but small start-ups like Notion Ink and ExoPC are bringing genuinely interesting products that I'm far more interested to read about.

    Yes, tablets will be a big thing in 2011 and probably beyond, but not because of all those slow megacorps.
  • by cygtoad (619016) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:38PM (#34609196)
    I can't say that i am ready to jump on the tablet bandwagon, but if I did it wouldn't be an iPad. I know I risk being left behind by not being an adopter, but tablets just haven't proven themselves primarily because developers don't write important mission critical programs for touch screens, they write them for keyboards and mice.

    We recently went live with an EMR (Electronic medical record) at our hospital. As slick as the EMR is, it is written for a keyboard and a mouse. Guess what the docs want, you guessed it; Can we get it work on an IPAD? Oh yes, while technically possible via Citrix it is about as about as practical as mounting a steering wheel on a horse. Can't you teach the horse to respect the steering wheel? Um, no.

    We have tried tablets in the past for the EMR. The users get excited about them and once they have them, they collect dust. $2,000.00 state of the art spill proof made especially for hospital settings tablet PC's which never leave their docking bays. What a waste.

    All tablets are currently toys, iPad included. If I want toy to play with and have an extra couple hundred bucks burning a whole in my pocket then maybe I will buy one, but why would I want a toy with limitations, like the iPad?

    Tablets may some day be a respectable tool for some apps who's developers are willing to write to them, but that will be 10 years out. Then, they will be about as sexy as a Palm is today.
    • by arcite (661011)
      You really are trying too hard to troll. iPad not suitable to use in Hospitals for mission critical applications you say? No kidding! The ipad is still Rev. A. ...not to mention ipad is geared primarily toward consumers.

      I suppose you don't count educational uses and the ipad's role in promoting ebooks....no I guess not.

      ...or the fact that most executives find many uses for ipads.

      Ok I'm done.

    • by grapeape (137008)

      So let me get this straight your biggest problem is that software designed for a different form factor that hasn't been ported but simply accessed though hacked interface provided by yet another piece of software doesn't work well? Then complain that your attempts at tablet computing using devices that ran an operating system designed for a different form factor didn't do the job either? Here's an idea...why not get a piece of hardware running an os designed for its form factor and run software designed f

    • by sootman (158191)

      So you're writing off the whole tablet industry because it's not suitable for one setting?

      I don't think they're a fad at all. The only reason PDAs died out is because they are the same size as phones and technology got to the point where the two devices could be combined into one.

      Tablets are not (and, by definition, can never be) good enough to replace all computers in all places but now that the form factor has been done right and the CPU and battery life are good, they are suitable for many tasks and they

    • They are not currently about running serious applications. It's about being able to look up an actor in IMDB without *getting up*. Check yer email. Web surf a little, and yet still truly light and convenient to carry.

      You have to match the software to the hardware, which is why you have those 2000 dollar tablets collecting dust--my bet is that the software or interface is so poorly designed that it's a pain to use.

      Most developers can't *design* software to save their lives.
    • Your EMR for tablets will take off once the EMR software is designed for multitouch interfaces.

      I predict it'll take another 2-3 years for tablets to mature and for software to catch up. By that time, tablets will be well and truly mainstream.

    • by eepok (545733)
      I can't wait to get a tablet. My current computing device roundup:

      Desktop Computer -- Dual monitors for doing majors tasks; Power for gaming, etc.
      Home Theater PC -- cheapo PC with mini-projector to make a ~50" projection and do group web-surfing. Primary source of video entertainment.
      Netbook -- Running Ubuntu netbook remix. It's the "portable computer" of the household. When not needed outside, it's used how a tablet or e-book reader would be on the couch. Used for websurfing, light office work (very,
  • by matunos (1587263)

    There's no way they'll be able to turn a profit if they only ship 35 units. ;-)

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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