Dell showcases a new 10-inch Windows 7 tablet

Just showcased today from Dell, their new prototype of a 10-inch Windows 7-based tablet, due out later this year. 

This from engadget today .

On a side note, there’s also this on Dell’s new Streak 7. Nice form factor.


Windows 7 Tablet PC, Kindle or iPad? The “why” behind the “buy”

The other day arrows,businessmen,choices,crossroads,decisions,directions,intersections,men,metaphors,Photographs,signs,silhouettesI mused about What to buy: an iPad or a Windows 7 Tablet PC? I offered a few suggestions, but wanted to provide more on the “why” behind the decisions.

I think that the challenge comes to whether or not you plan to just consume information and entertainment on a device and then those composing those ppt’s and documents for pdf’s – that’s where having a traditional keyboard whilst still having the access to the touch screen makes sense.

Lots of space has been dedicated to the debate, including this article over at PCWorld, Kindle vs. iPad, by Jon Brodkin of NetworkWorld.

Having used all three of these gadgets, I’ve come to the realization that, for me, two or three devices — not one — make sense when it comes to rich media. (Sad for my bank account, good for the device makers.) Increasingly the device I take everywhere is the phone. But this is about doing more than I do on my phone, and with enough screen real estate in front of me to make it more enjoyable and productive. (I hate doing mail for extended periods on the phone.) if I had to settle on one device, the choices isn’t obvious: it depends on what you intend to do with the device.

Here’s why:

For reading, the Kindle wins hands down. Use it and you’ll see after reading a few chapters that the Kindle’s electronic ink display is easy to read despite not having back lighting. Rarely to I read where light is a problem, and when I do, I have a book light or lamp in the area installed in the pre-Kindle days when I only read paper books. And my travel reading lights that I have from my airplane hopping days have come into their own once again. I like that the Kindle is easily configurable, has simple controls and accesses the Amazon Kindle store with ease: virtual airplane hanger of titles anywhere on the planet, wirelessly for free. Let me repeat that: Anywhere. For Free. No wireless fees for 3G, but free basic Internet access.

I don’t use the notes and mark up capabilities on the Kindle as much as I thought I would, but that may change as I have started reading more business documents and technical works that benefit from the virtual notes in the margin. I do wish that more of my trade and hobby magazines and local newspapers were available, but I think that will sort itself out. In those times when I want to ready the Times (Seattle, that is) I use the “experimental” web browser which works in a pinch.  

For portable work and play computing and browsing, my notebooks and Tablet PCs are the premiere choices. I like having access to my library of audio and video media that lives on my Windows 7 Media Center computers. I also like that I can access my all-you-can-eat buffet of music via my Zune Pass (and listen to a live stream, too), and video content via my Netflix subscription, YouTube and Hulu. With Windows 7 I can stream my media over the Internet to just about any another computer connected to the Internet. I get free Internet access at local hotspots via my wireless and broadband providers, and I find that I don’t miss not having always accessible Internet via 3G. (I admit that even purchased a 3G card for one of my notebooks when I absolutely have to have access via my mobile phone account.) I also have access to my Amazon Kindle books via the Windows reader from Amazon.

When I feel the need to email (often), blog (sometimes) or participate in some form of social media (more often than I should), the access to a keyboard on my Tablet PC is a welcome interface over a virtual on-screen keyboard. I also like that I can use all of the software that I use every day from productivity software like Microsoft Office to suites from Windows Live and other commercial software. I live in Outlook and OneNote, so having a touch interface combined with the efficiency of a keyboard is really powerful. So for me, this is the overall, versatile choice.

The interesting next step is the Apple iPad. I admit it: I have an iPhone, as well as several Windows Phones (lately using the HTC Fuze for productivity and the HTC Pure for day to day) and I use it. A lot. I used to get lots of grief at work for having all my Windows apps available via shortcut icons right on my desktop (which is usually a dark blue or black background). That approach doesn’t seem so silly now when you look at the UI found on today’s smartphones like the iPhone and Windows Phone, as well as the simple interface of Windows 7 Media Center PCs. If you’re just browsing the Web, playing games, reading mail and consuming the content in your iTunes library (I don’t use iTunes for media), then an iPad form factor is a good choice.

Then there’s Windows. I can’t wait for the crop of new slates that will run Windows 7 and the new crop of Windows Embeded consumer devices. As Paul Thurrott covered in his blog post about Microsoft-powered tablets and slates “Microsoft will focus on Windows Embedded 7for mainstream tablets (which I take to mean “iPad-like” tablets) and Windows 7 for premium tablets (i.e. actual Tablet PCs).” Engadget covered the round of Windows Embedded Compact 7 (that’s a mouthfu) devices at Computex and wrote about Microsoft’s plans for Windows Embedded Compact 7at Computex. Devices like the ExoPC Slate featured here on shows the ExoPC Slate with Windows 7 with an 11.6-inch, high definition touch screen, 2GB of memory and a good sized slid state drive (SSD). Very nice. 

So, if you want the best digital reading experience, the Kindle is probably your best bet. But if you want only one device and enjoy multiple diversions – reading, Web browsing, movies and games – the iPad is the better fit.

  • Composition and main utility, productivity device: Tablet PC
  • Reading main device: Kindle.
  • Hanging around, consumer of media: still Tablet PC (given my library of media on my Windows 7 Media Centre PC and ZunePass content). If you can’t wait for a Windows slate and have a disc full of Apple iTunes content, then the iPad is a current choice. 


Tags: shopping, RSS, Microsoft, New PC, articles, blogs, Microsoft, Windows 7, Tablet PC, iPad.

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What to buy: an iPad or a Windows 7 Tablet PC? Here are a few suggestions

I saw this evening that my friend Beth (aka techmama) is considering a new tablet for general computing, like surfing the web, editing her blogs and (no doubt) tweeting.

I mentioned that she should consider getting an inexpensive Windows 7 convertible tablet PC vs. an iPad. There are lots of nice choices these days from many OEMs, including Asus, HP and Lenovo.

Given my recent post with updated tips on buying a new PC, I thought, why not provide some examples of the current crop of Tablet PCs on the market? I won’t spur on the debate around the slate (sans keyboard) vs. convertable Tablet PC (often a convertable these days that can be used as a traditional laptop or folded back akin to a slate).

Both designs are attractive and best suited for different applications. Of course, I’m biased: I use both form factors, and in my daily work the Tablet PC is the most versitile for me as I still type far faster on a real keyboard and find myself needing the connectivity and ports more often than not. Tablet PCs provide good portability, the latest with improved touch interfaces and the benefit of a keyboard when you need it (like now as I type away on my blog). The latest crop of these PCs have good battery life, many connectivity options and great specs in terms of peed, storage and expandability (with lots of USB ports, SD card slots, external monitor options and more). I’ve been a user of Tablet PCs since I first started with the Toshiba M200 that I ultimately (and successfully!) updated to Windows 7 and love the benefit of the new screens with integrated touch, and even more flexible when you can also use a stylus for more detailed applications. 

When looking at Windows 7 Tablet PCs in the same price range as the WiFi enabled iPad ($499 to $699), here are a few suggestions:

Be sure to research via your favourite sources (including the venerable PC Magazine and PC World) and via the Bing links above. And check out your favourite coupon and tech deal sites for more discounts and savings.


Tags: shopping, RSS, Microsoft, New PC, articles, blogs, Microsoft, Windows 7, Tablet PC, iPad.

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New Tablets, Slates, and Pads: oh, my. 2010 will be an interesting, touch-fueled year.

imageToday’s been a busy day, what with work and getting pinged with the press on the new tablet products coming from Silicon Valley, as noted here with an inside look at the HP Slate (the model that made its debut at CES). None other than HP’s CTO Phil McKinney shows off the the Slate in a "History of Innovation" in his latest blog post on HP’s The Next Bench blog.

Oh, yes, and there is the new Apple iPad, too. More info on the new Apple iPad via Bing here. There are some choice updates from people and press in attendance at the event today in San Francisco in my twitter feed.

imageA comment on design, timely especially since I was referencing the incomparable Bill Buxton today in a presentation.

There’s an interesting similarity to the bezel design on these two devices, both somewhat different from the approach seen on other touch tablets (‘though reminiscent of of the iPhone). As I noted on Twitter, the ASUS Eee PC T91MT makes more sense (or costs fewer cents?) given that you have the choice of using the keyboard or not. Having the option is nice, as I found when I made the case for a Revitalized Notebook (aka getting more from computers currently gathering dust). This was when I updated my Toshiba M200 with Windows 7.

imageAlthough I like the tablet functions, it’s certainly nice to have the keyboard input option. With the new touch enabled PCs like the ASUS above (and even my home desktop, the HP Touchsmart 2), the ability to move between typing and touch become second nature after a while.  And if you have a portable form factor like the ASUS or even the HP (with optional dock, I’m guessing, as we saw originally on the 2004 release of the HP Compaq TC1100) the slate design works well overall for consuming media.

Interesting to note: Amazon’s taken no time to respond on its web site with this promo for the Kindle on the home page, touting the free wireless and no need for a wireless contract…

But should you get a tablet, or slat, or pad? That depends. More on that later…

Tags: gadgets, Amazon, CES 2010, CES, Kindle, Microsoft, tablet, Tablet PC, Windows 7.

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