Non-iPad Tablets

What are the options out there? The iPad is a nice enough machine, but it’s more of a Fisher Price My First Tablet than what I’m looking for (multitasking, versatility, customizability, etc) and I’m curious what the alternatives are.

I know MSI is coming out with an Android-based tablet, but I’m kinda leaning toward Win7-based tablets, as Lightroom is one of my must-haves.

So in the Win7 tablet arena there’s the HP Slate, which so far feels underwhelming, and the new ExoPC, which is currently my pack leader.

The ExoPC is pretty much identical to the Dell Mini 9 in terms of specs. 8.9" screen, 2gb ram, N270 1.6ghz cpu, etc. It’s got 3 USB ports, VGA, Ethernet, Audio jacks, SDHC, Webcam, and even a SIM slot. So you can easily hook it up to peripherals and use it like a computer.

Thing is, I already have a Mini 9. Granted, it’s multitouch and they’ve taken all the Mini 9 guts and stuck it in a handy little tablet, but if I’m gonna move to a new machine I’d like it to pack a little more oomph.

Anyone know of other Win7 tablets on the horizon?

My favorite is Michael Dell, who’s been showing journos Dell’s upcoming Android-based tablet.

The kicker: $1,100.


Rajah, are you looking for a pure tablet, or a convertible? Lenovo’s convertibles are nice.

Pure tablet. Convertibles are nice, but they’re really just laptops with fliparound screens. I want a tablet proper.

See, that’s the nice thing about being rich like Michael Dell - you can afford the best weed.

Asus is also making a Tegra 2 tablet, which rumors purport to be a pretty good performer. I’ve read it’s also intended to run Android though, and I’m similarly preferential to a Windows 7 device. Or at least something that can run the Kindle app.

Yeah. When I first heard about the Asus, I was excited because they were the guys that started the whole netbook movement. I used to have an eee PC. It was great.

But yeah, Android. If it weren’t for my need for portable Lightroom, I’d probably be fine with an iPad. But I gotta have my mobile portfolio/editing machine.

I guess the only thing I can tell you is that a lot of companies used to make pure tablets, but all of them are now either out of business, or focusing on specialized vertical markets like medical/warehouse applications. To me, this tells you everything you need to know about trying to use a tablet as a general purpose computer.

Especially when it comes to technology, the failure of something in the past does not necessarily preclude success in the present or the future.

I’ve used a number of pure tablets in years past for warehousing and medical and the issue was never that the tablet itself sucked, but that in that small form factor there wasn’t enough processing power/storage/etc to run the applications/OS that would make them worth a damn. With the advances made in processing and storage and all that, you could easily take what is currently a notebook or network and flatten it by removing the keyboard and other unneeded elements of a tablet and facing the screen outward, and you wouldn’t need to strip down the OS or hamstring the applications like you did in the past.

Much like how the abject failure of the Newton told us all we need to know about trying to use a handheld device as a PDA?

Some technology was just too far ahead of its time that the hardware couldn’t keep up with the vision. The advent of the iPad is going to do to the tablet market what the iPhone did to the smartphone market. There are already a number of good-looking pure tablet computers on the horizon, I’m just wondering what else is out there that I may have missed in the OP.

What made modern phones viable was the major revolutionary change of WiFi, 3G, and the internet. Without that, you just end up with a Palm Vx – a nice little niche device that nobody cares about.

What’s the revolutionary change that’s come over Windows TabletPCs since 2003? I don’t see one.

So entirely not the point of my post. (Also, I have no idea why you were quoting my line about the Newton, which had nothing at all to do with phones.)

Smartphones existed before the iPhone, but in a very loose and lackadaisical manner. There were a few companies here and there that had them out on the market, but technological advances were few and far between, and nobody really cared. That’s why the Blackberry went ten years with barely incremental improvements, and why the Palm Treo was just a regular Palm with phone capabilities.

Then the iPhone came along and raised the stakes. Thanks to the Cult of Mac, it was a literal overnight success and suddenly everybody out there felt the pressure to step up their game. Within a couple years you had major overhauls to the Blackberry, the Palm phone, and the Windows Mobile phone, not to mention an entirely new market entry from Google. And none of it would’ve happened unless Apple had lit a fire under their collective asses.

There was no magic bullet “revolutionary change,” there was just a product (with a few novel advances) that turned an industry on its ear and forced the old guard to wake up.

Tablet PCs have been around for over half a decade, but they’ve been slow to improve and relatively lazy in implementation. The advent of the iPad is going to do to the tablet market what the iPhone did to the smartphone market; it’s going to force them to wake up and start putting a little effort into their devices.

Mark my words, over the next year we’re gonna see the same surge into the “pure tablet” market that we saw into the netbook market after Asus and the smartphone market after Apple.

In any case, this thread isn’t about attacking or defending the viability of pure tablet PCs. This thread is about me asking what other tablets are coming out in the near future. If you’d like to start a thread saying that tablets are foolish and wastes of money, no one’s stopping you.

Very true. I think it was Sun that years ago pushed cloud computing, long before that term existed. They essentially had it right, but they were far too early. Their slogan was “the network is the computer” and that’s how things look to be shaping up.

The evolutionary changes make all the difference.

  • An elegant multi-touch interface.

  • The explosion of the Internet over the last 7 years, such that much of our data and media content is always accessible in the cloud.

  • Ongoing technology advancements so that now a tablet can be vastly lighter and thinner than they could have been 7 years ago without compromising connectivity or vibrant high resolution displays.

An especially prescient statement, considering Citrix’s latest resurgence in over-network virtualization that supposedly promises Windows 7 on the iPad.

Not entirely sure how they plan on implementing it, but it’s an interesting idea.

John Gage of Sun said that in 1984, a solid decade before almost anyone had the internet, and probably 15-20 years before home networks were common. It’s just insanely visionary, really.

Well, you were (or at least I thought you were) asking for buying advice, and I was giving mine, from the perspective of someone who has a Win7 convertible tablet, which is “Meh, you might want to reconsider, because tablet mode is more of a neat special feature than something you’d want to use full-time.”

Anyway, whatever shakeup of the market the iPad has effected will almost certainly be realized by non-Win7 tablets, since part of the iPad’s revolutionariness is that it doesn’t use an OS optimized for keyboard/mouse input.

Nope, my only questions were pretty straightforward. “What are the [non-iPad] options out there?” and “Anyone know of other Win7 tablets on the horizon?” not much room for reinterpretation there. I’m not entirely sure how you got “What buying advice do you have to offer someone looking into tablets?” from either question.

EDIT: Just so we’re clear; I’ve been waiting for good tablet tech to come along for years now. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, I’ve researched the different technologies, and I know exactly what are my must-haves and nice-to-haves. I’m settled on Win-capable tablets because, as I pointed out, I gotta have my Lightroom.

I’m not looking for advice, opinions, or feedback on tablet technology in general. I’m looking specifically for WinTablets and curious if people knew of others in the distance other than the ExoPC and HP Slate.

Your main question was “What are the options out there?” which has certain implications in that regard. But ANYWAY, don’t let me interrupt the flow of posts talking about all the Win7 tablets that are coming out.

What flow of posts.