Netbook and Tablet Fever at IDF 2010by Vivek Gowri on September 15, 2010 3:59 PM EST
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Here at IDF, Intel has been promoting the Atom platform pretty heavily, with the new dual core Atom N550 and all of the new Moorestown-based chips like the CE4200 and E6xx series. They’ve been demoing quite a few of the latest netbooks and tablets from their partners, including the OpenPeak Moorestown device we looked at on Monday, but for the most part the devices have been running Pine Trail, like the WeTab from yesterday's keynote.
On the netbook side of the mobile device booth, they had an array of some of the newer netbooks, all stuff that’s been already released. A couple were running MeeGo v1.0, and most of them had the Atom N450 underhood. The only really interesting ones were the Asus EeePC 1015PEM and the not-sold-in-America LG X140, both of which were fitted with the dual core N550. Intel was showing off the newfound 1080p playback ability for the dual core-equipped netbooks, a feat that previously required the Broadcom Crystal HD chip. Unfortunately, HD Flash video is still a no-go, and even videos playing from the hard drive max out the CPU and still manage to drop a few frames here and there. So dual core Atom netbooks can handle 1080p playback....kind of.
The tablets were more interesting, with a number of different Windows-based slates to go along with the MeeGo-based WeTab. All of them were running the N450, 1GB of memory, and 10.1” and 11.6” screens. The ExoPC slate was on hand, with its custom UI layer built on top of the standard Windows 7 desktop manager. The ExoPC was the tablet used in the WiDi demo from Paul Otellini’s opening keynote, which raises some interesting theories as to what kind of hardware requirements exist for WiDi capability. There was also a 4G-enabled ExoPC unit at Intel’s WiMAX booth. Beyond that was the rare sighting of a JooJoo tablet, along with some other Windows tablets designed by Chinese vendors.
I don’t think that Pine Trail is the right platform for tablets - Windows is too heavy and cumbersome as is to offer a good user experience, and a custom skin like Exo PC’s only adds to the performance hit that Windows brings with it. Even when running MeeGo, the battery life offered by Pine Trail tablets is pretty poor, usually only around 6 hours. This simply isn’t enough to deal with the level of mobility the tablet market demands, and as such we find ourselves looking at devices that are basically updated UMPCs. Moorestown and Oak Trail based tablets running lighter operating systems like MeeGo or Android 3.0 are where the future of Intel internet tablets lie.
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KG Bird - Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - linkI'd like to have a tablet but none does what I want them to do. I want to throw away my notebooks and have a tablet that I can write on and have my notes go straight into a document on Microsoft Word or something compatible. If a tablet could handle electronic medical records software that would be great for my wife. Currently most (all?) of the EMR software runs on Windows.
vol7ron - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - linkThis isn't possible? I'm pretty sure there's a tablet out there for you.
Penti - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - linkThere's such tablet-pcs from all major vendors. Like Fujitsu, HP, Dell, Lenovo etc. Also specialized vendors. They normally has dual digitizer now. Which means they work both with finger input and stylus. Stop looking at the MIDs if you want a tablet. Theres no problem converting your notes to word documents.
piroroadkill - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - linkTablet PCs like this have been available for 8~ years.
seanleeforever - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - linklooks to me that you never both to google it. tablet that can take note existed as early as year 2000. they probably wasn't in your budget.
fpga_brad - Monday, September 20, 2010 - linkThere are plenty of expensive convertibles out there but not many true tablets/slates. By the time you add a keyboard etc it just becomes too clunky.
Penti - Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - linkWell of course we need the Broadcom Crystal HD, I don't get why manufactures skimp on that detail. It costs maybe 25 USD extra. But you can only get it on some, and it's virtually not available in retail. We have been able to do 720p with CoreAVC on atom for a while. But it's not enough.
It's a really bad decision that the netbook makers make, also 1GB limit for W7 Starter means that they need a 100-120 USD license for the 2GB systems and just a CULV Core 2 based laptop/netbook would be so much better even if they use GL40 chipset only. It all means that netbooks come up to 600 USD in costs if configured to be useful. Not that HP/DELL/ACER etc can help that Microsoft charges a premium that corresponds to 20% of the product value.
But flash kinda means you need a Core i3/5 laptop any way. And you can get one of those for 600 too.
acsa - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - linkMay I ask you, Vivek, was there no PixelQi device presented?
medi01 - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - linkCould you please get a better camera and/or improve your photo skills? :(
strikeback03 - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - linkThey aren't exactly in studio conditions here, it is probably rather dark (by photographic standards) and they can't exactly bring a multi-flash setup and their own backgrounds.