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Tegra 2 Tablets/Slates Impress At CES

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the and-they-actually-exist dept.

Handhelds 48

MartinSchou writes "At this year's CES it seems that everybody and their cousin are talking about tablets, slates or smartbooks. This year, however, might be the year of Linux — if not on the desktop, then at least on your other computing devices. Amongst this years top contenders are slates running nVidia's Tegra 2 chipset, boasting 10+ hours worth of 1080p playback, with entries from Quanta, Mobinnova, ASUS, MSI and Boxee (though this is a media computer). Notion Ink have brought their Adam slate, complete with a Pixel Qi transreflective, multi-touch capable screen."

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48 comments

Nice; but... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710140)

It would appear that Nvidia has(as was more or less inevitable) moved away from their WinCE support only stance on Tegra.

What remains to be seen, though, is what their linux support looks like. If all there is is "enough binary blobs to get whatever version of Android the OEM decided to install to boot, and nothing more", that is largely useless. A bunch of OEMs get cheap software. Yay, I'm so happy for them.

Given that this is Nvidia, I'd be shocked if any but the barest GPU driver support is OSS; but if the support isn't good enough to produce third party firmwares and upgrades for these devices, they might as well be Tivoized.

Re:Nice; but... (4, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710172)

A driver doesn't need to be OSS to work correctly.

Many of you have gotten the means to an end confused... You act as if OSS is the end and hardware/software is the means to it.

Re:Nice; but... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710212)

Idealism makes for interesting opinions.

I understand it, though. I get really excited when I meet someone with a mutual preference in hammers.

Re:Nice; but... (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710230)

Is there really anybody who doesn't prefer sledgehammers?

I mean sure, they aren't the best hammer for lots of tasks, but they are the best hammer for lots of fun stuff.

Re:Nice; but... (0)

sbbshoe092 (1717434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30711926)

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Re:Nice; but... (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712440)

As a device manufacturer though, any drivers that I distribute need to be legally clear. This is not the case with closed source binary drivers. We have a statement from Linus that open source shims to load closed source drivers that are originally designed for other operating systems are OK by him, but closed source drivers in general are not acceptable.

Re:Nice; but... (3, Informative)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710402)

Stop spewing crap.

When it came to building my HTPC I went with Intel Graphics because everyone on /. was touting their great OSS drivers and how much better they were than nVidia's binary blob.
The reality is that I should have dug deeper because then I'd have found out that the gloriously OSS G45 drivers didn't want to implement a "cheap hack" and instead wanted to "Do It Right"(TM) - I don't know if they're still doing it right or if they're done doing it right by now, but the bottom line was that using xv crashed the X server. So I had an HTPC that couldn't play videos. Great.

My HTPC now runs Windows 7 and my next PC's gonna be nVidia again because I prefer a Linux with cheap hacks to having to use Windows.

So could the true believers please cease their Maoist campaign for ideological purity? Linux doesn't need a great leap, lots of small steps work just fine, thank you.

Wow, I have a different experience (1)

Johnny Loves Linux (1147635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710736)

I'm sorry to hear of your bad experience with the Intel G45 drivers. My wife recently purchased a Toshiba laptop with the Intel M4500(?) integrated chipset precisely so we wouldn't have to deal with proprietary crap drivers (my experience with NVidia drivers was that the proprietary driver with its binary blob was great right up until it crashed my kernel and/or the X session. What added insult to injury was that the hardware became "legacy hardware" and I had to use the "legacy" driver. I also don't care much for binary drivers that are tied down to a specific Linux kernel version. Yes, I could download the source for the "legacy" driver and compile my own binary version, but that was a pain in the ass.)

To wrap it up: I took the laptop for a spin with Ubuntu 9.10 and I got the 3d effects working hunky dory, no fuss, no muss, no downloading special drivers etc. So yeah, I do prefer my drivers with a Free(dom) license. I've had better experiences with Free(dom) software than not.

BTW, I think calling those of us who agree with RMS stance on software as "Maoists" is kind of perverse. I think a good argument could be made that GNU is compatible with democracy (FREEDOM) whereas proprietary is compatible with Communism (Do as we say or get shot.)

Re:Wow, I have a different experience (3, Insightful)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30711072)

If they've finally fixed it two years (?) after the chipset's been released that's great. I'm gonna try it again some time next month to see if I have to buy Windows 7 when the forced shutdowns on the RC start and your post makes me hopeful.

I never had a problem with compiling the Nvidia kernel driver or their legacy drivers, their installer is heads and shoulders above any other 3rd party driver for Linux I've encountered (which aren't that many) and the biggest problem is that many distros no longer include a build system on the default installation (which is mostly a problem with my network card because it leads to a catch 22. But thank God they fit 3 different twitter apps on that CD...).

I don't have a problem with people preferring OSS drivers. I do have a problem when that preference becomes irrational and ignores glaring deficits of the OSS drivers out of a ideological hatred of binary drivers.

I'd like OSS'ed Nvidia drivers, too. It's not gonna happen. But in the meantime their existing drivers provide timely support of the full feature set of current graphics cards and are quite stable. That's two things I can't say about Intel's OSS'ed drivers.

Re:Wow, I have a different experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30713634)

I do have a problem when that preference becomes irrational and ignores glaring deficits of the OSS drivers out of a ideological hatred of binary drivers.

A pot calling the kettle black. I have a problem with fanatics who think everybody else's priorities should be the same as their own and claims different viewpoints and dislikes are somehow an ideology.

Fact is, binary blobs have problems, sometimes serious problems, and it is not in the slightest fanatical or unreasonable to have a strong preference for openness despite short term and fixable issues. Try thinking long term for a change.

Specifically, your rant about nvidia and intel: I've used several iterations of both on multiple platforms. In general they both work just fine. Both have problems and advantages. To claim nvidia is always superior is dishonest.

Re:Wow, I have a different experience (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716282)

To claim nvidia is always superior is dishonest.

Hardly, the high end Nvidia hardware is a good 20-30x faster than Intel's Best.

Re:Wow, I have a different experience (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30721686)

Group buy for AMD stocks, merger with ARM, and then forced merger with nVidia. Anybody up?
</fanboy type='open source'>

Re:Wow, I have a different experience (1)

relaxinparadise (943965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713342)

Splitting hairs I know, but freedom is more equated to liberty rather than democracy, and do as we say or get shot is more akin to tyranny rather than communism. Democracy is more about everyone getting a say. Communism is more about sharing.

Re:Wow, I have a different experience (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30716408)

Good thing we don't live in a democracy then? I would hate to see what would happen if the masses ruled.

I haven't had any problems with Intel. (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30713522)

I took back a laptop with ATI graphics that I couldn't get to run properly, and was an instant convert when the intel integrated video worked perfectly "out of the box" with Linux Mint.

I hear you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715276)

I went through the exact same experience 7 years ago. I bought an ATI card under the impression of Slashdot coments... What a disaster that was. After that I buy nVidia for everything Linux. Never had a problem, rock solid, hi-performing gear. Now I know better than to listen to zealots and/or astroturferes. I don't want to mess with a video driver, especially a 3d accelerated one. These beasts are complex and there is never going to be a decent OSS video driver. I would much prefer the linux comunity to spend their time developing useful apps rather than wasting a ton of resources reinventing the wheel of programming every piece of hardware. The driver is part of the hardware . Period.

Nouveau? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710440)

If nvidia were to use the same driver model as for their other GPUs, the community could continue writing their own drivers via nouveau.

Re:Nice; but... (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710974)

It would appear that Nvidia has(as was more or less inevitable) moved away from their WinCE support only stance on Tegra. What remains to be seen, though, is what their linux support looks like. If all there is is "enough binary blobs to get whatever version of Android the OEM decided to install to boot, and nothing more", that is largely useless. A bunch of OEMs get cheap software. Yay, I'm so happy for them. Given that this is Nvidia, I'd be shocked if any but the barest GPU driver support is OSS; but if the support isn't good enough to produce third party firmwares and upgrades for these devices, they might as well be Tivoized.

Why oh why, would the likes of always want to put 3rd party firmware on almost everything. Yesterday it was wireless router, then there were mobile phones. What would you expect? 3rd party firmware for G-Shocks ? Yes, I agree that manufacturer should not create artificial limitation for us to install alternative firmwares or OSs on devices that we own. But they shouldn't be mandated to provide support to you. If you really want support from them, you can always be their OEM partners, I'm sure they will help you to run their hardware on whatever version of android or ubuntu you decide to use.

Vaporware (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30711984)

It seems reasonable to expect given a long history that all of these vendors will show off a bunch of stuff to get us all excited, and then go back to their offices and have a long chat with some rather persuasive gentlemen from Santa Clara and Redmond. And then they'll run into unanticipated difficulties in production that prevent them from shipping more than a few hundred units.

And then Google will go "Oh, screw it." and launch the thing on their online store and reap the billions of dollars from an eager world clamoring for this hot new technology.

Re:Vaporware (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712072)

It would be amusing if you thought project development actually worked that way.

That's a nice "special friend" rate you got there (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30712412)

It would be unfortunate if you stopped being our special friend and no longer qualified for it. Your competitors who are still our special friends would have an unfair advantage over you.

year of *nix (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710142)

This year, however, might be the year of Linux if not on the desktop, then at least on your other computing devices.

2009 was the first year of linux dominating on TVs and STBs since 2009, and probably the year of *nix on smartphones as well.

Re:year of *nix (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30710174)

2009 was the first year of linux dominating on TVs and STBs since 2009

Really, you don't say?

Re:year of *nix (2, Insightful)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30711384)

2009 was the first year of linux dominating on TVs and STBs since 2009, and probably the year of *nix on smartphones as well.

If it was the "year of linux dominating on TVs and STBs", who cares...? How many of these devices have any accessible method of replacing or modifying the software? My TV has a USB port that can play pictures and music and upgrade the firmware, but there's no documentation on how to do so and hasn't been a firmware upgrade. And I have my doubts about any mass-market STB hardware being open enough to change the software unless you're the provider or some extremely skilled hacker (at least for US mass-market hardware).

It's not like simply using Linux (or any open source software) will make bad TV programming better, or will enhance picture quality.

the year of *nix on smartphones as well.

The important of a smartphone running *nix seems minimal to me - smartphones are much more than a kernel or unixlike environment. It's the software users interact with and the phone/messaging functionality that matters. If that software happens to run on top of Linux or some other open source kernel, it means the software creator didn't want to create their own or pay to use somebody else's kernel.

My iPhone runs Darwin, but most of the important software that runs on it is closed-source (with the notable exception being WebKit).

Re:year of *nix (2, Interesting)

formfeed (703859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30711626)

The year of Linux will come. While you are off to buy a slate or smartbook, Richard Stallman will come in glory and those who are ready will feast with him. Then the door will be locked. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the power of linux comes.

Qi Pixel Qi Adam Slate, but coming soon (1)

Max(10) (1716458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710244)

So when they make a Pixel Qi Adam Slate that can be charged wirelessly, it will be called Qi [wirelesspo...ortium.com] Pixel Qi Adam Slate? Gee, Pikachu's late, too.

Best direct sunlight video of Pixel Qi screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30710892)

Best direct sunlight video of Pixel Qi screen it this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=698D-jmk42w

College campus life will never be the same when you can compute on the quad, or anywhere with this screen.
Geeks on campus can make spending money by getting the DIY kit and convert those other screens to the Pixel Qi ones, and it would not hurt to add a dual boot bonus during the modification.

I love Tegra 2 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30710250)

It's a fantastic chip. Low power and really fast. I'm seeing about 2x the CPU performance on benchmarks over an Intel Atom N270. And the GPU performance is just amazing compared to the intel GMA stuff.

I often joke that Tegra 2's ARM could emulate x86 in software faster than an Atom could run it natively. Put that in your Windows pipe and smoke it!

Re:I love Tegra 2 (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30711464)

It's a fantastic chip. Low power and really fast. I'm seeing about 2x the CPU performance on benchmarks over an Intel Atom N270. And the GPU performance is just amazing compared to the intel GMA stuff.

Any comparisons to the Atom N450? CPU performance is slightly improved over the N270, but the GPU is a generation newer, and the CPU/memory controller/GPU are all integrated for significantly reduced power usage). (And the GPU with most Atom N270 systems is a low-power version of the five year old GMA 950 - I got my first laptop with the GMA 950/945GM in January 2006, four years ago.)

I often joke that Tegra 2's ARM could emulate x86 in software faster than an Atom could run it natively. Put that in your Windows pipe and smoke it!

The Atom is very slow per unit of clock, by design. It is much slower than a Pentium 3/Core CPU running at the same clock speed. I've seen its performance compared to a 900 MHz Celeron M (which used much more power).

Atom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30711740)

Well even the dhrystone mips of a 1ghz dual-core Tegra T20 (cortex-a9) against a 1.6Ghz dual-core Atom 330 had the T20 coming out a little ahead for us.
Atom is the only thing Intel has brought out to compete against ARM. Also the T20 was 1Watt against an Atom's 4W, and the T20 is an SoC with GPU and other peripherals. It's not that ARM is fast, it's that Atom is just a real dog.

The original EeePC 701 with its underclocked 630MHz Celeron M has often been shown better at dealing with Flash applets than the N270 and N280 of later EeePC models.

Only 10 hours? (1)

ZyBex (793975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710286)

This will leave a lot of filipinos [wikipedia.org] unhappy...

Re:Only 10 hours? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710344)

9.88 hours is less than 10 hours.

Re:Only 10 hours? (1)

ZyBex (793975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710650)

Damn math, always ruining good jokes.
Actually, I saw it here [wikipedia.org], where it says 643 minutes. I then pasted the linked url.

Since wikipedia is always right, this surely proves Heisenberg wrong...

New term: "smartbook" (3, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710700)

I had never seen the term "smartbook" before. This article defines a "smartbook" as a netbook with a non-x86 processor (likely ARM).

I guess it's a portmanteau of "smart phone" and "netbook". Or maybe it means "smart enough finally to use something other than x86 for an ultra-portable device".

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2357758,00.asp [pcmag.com]

steveha

Active digitizer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30710742)

Are any of these going to feature an active digitizer as opposed to just touch sensitive? I had a quick look through them, but they didn't really have much info. At this price point, they are looking attractive as a digital notebook for college.

1080p? (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 4 years ago | (#30710822)

TFA seems to suggest that the Quanta, Mobinnova, ASUS, and MSI are capable of playing 1080p video. I would like to see a single spec proving that it is possible without attaching to an external monitor. Otherwise, it is not very useful to travelers, which paradoxically appear to be the primary target of these devices.

Also, space savings by not including screen cover are an illusion. One will have to carry it in a special protective shell, or your screen won't last very long.

Re:1080p? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30711428)

Reading up on some of them, yes they can be connected to an external monitor and display 1080p video. Useful for the target audience or not never seems like a priority when they can scream FULL HD CAPABLE.

Holy Cow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30710860)

I heard it can run Farm Ville in 3D.

Asus? Not likely. (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30711896)

You can expect a press conference in a few days with The Asus board chairman [pcworld.com] flanked executives from Intel and Microsoft declaring "Non-Windows OS on a non-Intel system? We don't see a future in that." Meanwhile he'll be furtively gesturing pleas for help, but noone will notice.

Having a tablet already... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714586)

I dislocated my jaw yawning at the offerings. Yes, neat, as long as you only do a couple light-weight tasks at a time. Otherwise, S-L-O-W. Want speed, get a desktop, want to sacrifice speed for portability, tablet/slate is fine, just don't expect it to be a desktop. Effectively it's the revolution of the Kindle-wannabes.

Re:Having a tablet already... (1)

g253 (855070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715082)

The killer feature isn't speed, it's battery life. Being able to do useful office type work or to watch video for even 8 hours is priceless. With current laptops or even netbooks battery life is always something that has to be carefully managed, and while smartphones last long enough they are too small to use for the same kind of purposes.

Buzz (2, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715686)

I can't help but notice the deafening roar of... silence. Lack of buzz. Boredom. Yawn. Sigh. Tablet? This story has been up for over 24 hours and there are only 40 posts. Slashdot generates more comments than that about obscure astronomical phenomena.

Ok, so it's the weekend. Still. The attempts to generate buzz among the planet's English-speaking technorati has flopped. Miserably. If not even Apple can sustain the buzz, 2010 ain't the year of the tablet.

I see only one possible way to salvage the market. A radically low price point would do the job. These things aren't PCs. They're glorified interactive picture frames. Consumer electronics, in other words. If they're priced accordingly, they'll move. Sell them for $100 to $150 and they'll be all over the place. $200 to $250 might be tolerable, but would still leave a lot of units on the shelf. $300 is really pushing it. Anything over $300? Forget it. That's netbook/low-end desktop territory now. A jumped-up picture frame isn't going to sell for that.

The $1000 price that's been speculated for Apple's tablet? It is to laugh. They'll gather dust in warehouses. Not even the Jobs reality distortion field can make people cough up that much cash for a device with no compelling use.

What are we going to do, sit on the couch with a tablet in our lap and watch a movie... while sitting in front of the 50" flatscreen on the wall?

Maybe the kids will sit in the back seat and watch a movie on the tablet... while the overhead display system that requires no recharging stays off? Just so they can fight over who gets to hold it?

Maybe we'll sit in our office chairs with a tablet in our laps and watch a movie... while our desktop PC idles and the boss starts placing ads for an opening?

There's lots of possible uses. None of them can tolerate a $1000 price point. The $700 smart-phone trick only works once.

Re:Buzz (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30721598)

I see a niche market. Many find smartphones too limiting for web browsing and their fingers too fat for onscreen keyboards. Others find a cramped 10" netbook keyboard unappealing; if the size is right but the keyboard is daft, dispense with it altogether!

Slates, sans keyboard, can go places netbooks can't: lecture theatres, coffee-shop couches and buses. Even for their size, IMO netbooks are still bad etiquette on public transport - elbows during typing are irritating to people either side and should a train stop suddenly one's stooped posture is likely to land one's head in someone's lap!

While the nettop market is probably dead in the water, convergence with a slate could be popular with the student market. By day, a mobile notepad with a 3G connection (or wifi for on-campus). By night, plug it into your HDTV via HDMI and instant desktop machine via USB hub/bluetooth.

In Apple's favour, they've had Newton's handwriting engine maturing like a fine wine for a decade and a mobile CPU/GPU finally powerful enough to exploit it.

The upfront cost would be hidden by the 3G plan.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30716108)

I'd be really pleased to see Tegra 2 chips emulating x86 fast enough to run XP.

Most wintel killer apps ran on XP and haven't improved massively.

Maybe a 1.2ghz tegra 2 at 32nm could be as fast as an atom?

Maybe one of the Tegra 2's 8 cores could handle the emulation. Ahh... sweet dreams! Nvidia and ARM manage to pay off man's x86 mortgage at last.

where is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30719794)

Where's Charbax?

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