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Video: Why I Really WANT A Windows 8 Tablet

Eric McBride
4

 

(picture from IdentityMiine)

Whoa whoa whoa guys! I haven't switched sides! Just because I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and choose Android devices as my daily drivers doesn't mean I wouldn't try another tablet if it impressed me, and impressive is the first word that came to mind after watching a short video demo at CES of a Samsung tablet running Windows 8. Not only is it impressive, I'm already convinced that I want one.

Before you read further, do yourself a favor and have a look at the video below....I'll wait......

Tell me your not impressed? This video impressed me for a number of reasons:

The User Interface:

Even though the Windows 8 Metro UI is noticably different than previous versions of Windows, it honestly looked, for the first time, like a "cool“ version of Windows. It still felt like Windows, which I have used my entire life. The classic Windows 7 desktop screen is there, which can be switched to the tablet optimzed Metro UI panels that really makes for a nice overall design. I'm diggin it, especially the multitasking.

The Speed and smoothness factor:

Did you see ANY LAG AT ALL in that video? I have watched it 4 times in a row now, and I see NONE. Homescreen scrolling was VERY smooth, windows animations were instant and lag free, and the device just popped and zipped through everything throughout the entire demonstration.

Design:

You can tell Samsung designed this tablet, cause it's sexy. Flat, awesome screen with wide screen viewing format. Have I mentioned I want one of these?

Laptop Replacement:

As much as I love my Galaxy Tab, it can't completely replace my laptop. From the looks of it, the Windows 8 tablet might be able to do just that. I hate carrying laptops around, and it looks like Microsoft is about to really give laptops a run for their money. It's running a Core i5 processor, so in terms of power, it's got it. Gaming anyone?

If Microsoft gets this right, they could actually do what Android and Apple have never managed to accomplish, and that's to create a tablet that can COMPLETELY replace your laptop. Office, program compatibility, gaming...this could literally put that all in the palm of your hand in a way that long time Windows users would feel comfortable with, yet facinated with. It's a new version of the old, and the only thing I could see completely killing it is pricing. If Microsoft gets that right, they could have a winner here, and Android and Apple could be faced with some serious, but healthy competition in the tablet wars. 

I'm gonna do my best to get my hands on one of these to review it. What do you guys think? Impressed, or another Microsoft venture that's doomed to fail?

UPDATE: Here are some more specs on this particular device. Again, impressive:

  • 11.6 inch screen at 1366 x 768
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64 GB SSD, sensors
  • USB, micro SD, HDMI, pen, and a dock with USB, HDMI, and Ethernet

 

(video link)

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Comments

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  • Brennan Yamamoto Feb 3, 2012 Link

    This video does need to be taken with a grain of salt however; as Windows 8 continues to grow into the mobile space (as I am sure it will continue to attempt to do), from a tech analyst standpoint, it's important that we highlight the fundamental differences between x86 and ARM based architecture.

    In short, the tablet in this video is running an x86 chipset (intel i5), which, as most of us know, has very good performance, as this is nearly the exact offering found in mid range laptops. So there are (forgive me if I'm being overly harsh), no real miracles at work to see an optimized demo run as smoothly as it did. That being said, we must also deal with the drawbacks of x86 computing as well, that is (1) power consumption, and (2) heat gain. These two factors are extremely limiting in the face of mobile usability. If we expect to utilize x86 chips to a decent fraction of their full potential, these chipsets require a LOT of juice, as well as active cooling (fans and vents), which further suck battery power. This is the fundamental reason x86 based tablets media devices have completely failed to make a foothold in the mobile marketspace. ASUS took a good stab at it with their EeeSlate (running a first gen i5, and frankly monstrously high end specs of its time), but came with a wallet blasting price tag of $1000. In the end all it really was, was a heavy, fat, hot, battery sucking laptop, without a keyboard. Perhaps the tablet in this video has undergone a significant design revamp, perhaps it's skinnier, parhaps its a little better on battery; I don't know, I wasnt there :(. But with that said, the fundamental flaws of the aging x86 architecture remain the same--high performance, at the cost of high power draw. It's often easy to be misguided by the allure of high performance, especially for a crowd of android fans, but frankly, I see no room in the mobile marketspace for a device such as this. This technology has existed for over 30 years now, had an x86 device been a good idea for a mobile device offering, it would have taken off with windows 7 (or, remember back to the days of the WindowsXP tablet computers), the fact that Windows 8 has gone through a bit of a facelift really changes nothing here. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that this device concept will pose any competetive threat to the android platform

    That being said, my attention is focused more on the low power side of spectrum, as this has more of an ability to compete with Android (and other *cough* ARM based operating systems). The video showcases, if I heard correctly, an "Atom based 32 nm SoC", I believe he said the name, but I cant exactly tell what he said through his accent, sounded something like "black palm". From my understanding, intel unveiled their medfield atom processors at CES, I'm not totally familiar with the names of the Atom processors, but, as anyone who has even used a windows netbook knows, the performance of these atom processors frankly suck (and a good number of them STILL require active cooling). That being said however, the atom line DOES have one big advantage going for it: price. Atom processors have the ability to put in a moderately low power (decent battery life) machine, that doesn't require active cooling, with a full-featured, fully backwards compatible version of windows, in all of its shining glory, on the hands of an end user, for a price tag of around $300. THIS, in my humble opinion, really, is what has the potential to eat into android sales. The biggest issue facing end users considering an android tablet on the fence are: "can it run office?", "can it run photoshop?", "can it run my facebook games?". And while android can accomplish all of these to an extent, there is an undeniable comparability barrier, that likely will never be fully bridged. A cheap, atom-based Windows 8 tablet, while somewhat lacking in the performance department, really is what has the ability to move Windows 8 into the mobile space--and Intel knows it.

    ...which brings us to our last topic, an ARM based version of windows 8, which we know for certain is in the works. From simple benchmarks, we know that a (current) high end ARM processor like the quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 (1.3 GHz) , is roughly equal to a 1.6 GHz medfield atom processor in a straight single thread bench, but more importantly, blows it away in a multi thread bench (regardless of what intel wants you to think); yet the power consumption of ARM based chips are a tiny fraction of their atom counterparts. This is extremely significant, as architecture improvements (A15 is starting to roll out), number of cores, and gighertz on ARM based CPUs is only going up (qualcomm expects a quad core 2.5 GHz ARM processor by the end of the year, sammy has announced a similar 2.0 Ghz offering on their exynos line, and texas instruments has followed suit), whereas intels medfield atom processor is the latest menial upgrade in quite some time. There is simply so much more potential in ARM based computing, if microsoft cant get an ARM version of windows 8 established in time, they might as well give up on the mobile space altogether...especially with competitors like Android and iOS. That being said however, all the great compatability that Windows has to offer in the first place, is virtually eliminated with the introduction of an ARM based version of the OS. ALL applications need to be re-written for the ARM platform, which does have its obvious drawbacks. However, if windows can ascertain basic functionality quickly (microsoft office, a DECENT version of internet explorer, etc. etc.) an ARM based Windows 8 tablet has some serious potential to eat into Android and iOS' market share. However, this does require (1) a fair bit of innovation on Microsoft's behalf, something that we really haven't seen at all from them in the past 10 (arguably 20) years, and (2) OEMs to dump intel in favor of a superior technology. Both of those prospects look HIGHLY improbable to me, so in all honest realism, the ONLY potential I see at all for windows 8 in the mobile tech world, are cheap atom based tablets...or namely, netbooks without the keyboard...

    Maybe im just an android fanboy (ill admit it), but this is the most unbiased analysis that i can muster, and while its a cool gadget to use to showcase the new features of windows 8 at a convention like CES; from a practicality standpoint, I really don't see this product even gaining traction in the market. But this is just my humble opinion from one tech analyst to another...lmk what you think.

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  • Eric McBride Feb 3, 2012 Link

    WOW! Hell of a writeup dude, and you made some good points! Im a pretty hardcore android guy myself, and I honestly think that pricing will be what stops this tablet in its tracks.

    You gotta admit though...performance wise it really flew through that demo!

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  • chinu Feb 4, 2012 Link

    the only tablet can compete wid an android 1

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  • Eric McBride Feb 6, 2012 Link

    I agree. Lets see if they can compete price wise :-D

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Which company used multi-window on smartphones first?