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Dell's 'Dual Personality' Laptop

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-still-want-one dept.

Portables 126

njkobie writes "Dell was the unlikely star of today's keynote at IDF, unveiling a convertible tablet. While that might sound a bit been there, done that, the Inspiron Duo can be used as a tablet or opened up to offer a keyboard. The screen rotates inside the frame, taking it to the netbook form factor. It runs on an Atom processor and will be available at the end of the year, Dell said."

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126 comments

first person (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33578916)

Im here first!... no i was here first

Where have I seen this before... (1, Insightful)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33578936)

I know I've seen this design before... [cnet.com] the only difference is the Dell's screen (glass part) flips instead of the whole top. I feel that I would prefer the other design since it has a bigger hinge, less likely to break then that Dell's.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33578996)

Lenovo had a laptop like the Asus one a couple year ago with a full notebook instead of just a netbook...

Re:Where have I seen this before... (2, Insightful)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579130)

Gateway also had one like it in 2005 running Windows XP. The video on the netbook shows it better then the older review pictures though. [cnet.com] All in all, it's a (what I feel) gimmicky twist on an old design, and possibly a bad move since I feel the screen without the case boarder would make it more delicate and more likely to be broken by Joe User.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (3, Interesting)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580672)

I must agree with this sentiment. It does look very much like a gimmick. I feel that tablet PCs (the convertible type) are a gimmick. Having bought one thinking it could be used as a tablet, I was sorely disappointed. The size and weight make them cumbersome, and the UI is completely useless (icons, links, menus are too small in Windows 7).

If Dell were serious about making a tablet they'd ignore the convertible market and leave it up to the ruggedised designs then aim for the iPad/Galaxy Tab market.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33580042)

Are you thinking of the X61 tablet? I'm still using one of those. It's a pretty solid piece of hardware.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (2, Informative)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580884)

IF it ever comes out [google.com], Lenovo's U1 [youtube.com] should be a better option than this Dell. A detachable screen that near-instantly boots into it's own 'pad' OS, and seamlessly reintegrates and syncs with the main system when reattached... Nice idea, but the implementation must be giving them hell, given that over 9 months have passed since they first showed a working demo model...

Re:Where have I seen this before... (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579168)

Asus is just the reference MSFT tablet design - rotating hinge. It has been for years and has failed to deliver spectacularly so far.

So I would not be so sure. Dell maybe onto something here.

Wow slow news day (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579376)

A story about laptops (zzzz), and "Big Data" (whatever that means), and Steve Jobs possibly (but probably not) yelling at Japanese security.

I think I'll submit a story.....

.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579434)

Yeah, the Asus T91 was exactly what I wanted technically. Except that, unlike most Asus products, it didn't run Linux natively. After installing Ubuntu on it, there were a few driver issues and random crashes that totally spoiled the experience. I gave up on it quickly (and a colleague wanted it with puke Win7).

Re:Where have I seen this before... (1)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579170)

Yeah, this is not really anything new/innovative, though it certainly could be a better implementation of an existing idea.

I read the summary as "While that might sound a bit been there, done that, here's a feature that's already been done by many of our competitors." Awesome!

Re:Where have I seen this before... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579344)

It was called the Compaq TC1000.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579380)

I have mixed feelings, having repaired laptops for a day job and battering plenty of my own.

The idea looks good at first glance, because tablets use something known cutely as The Achilles Hinge. [gizmodo.com] The dell mechanism that swivels the screen does not depend on friction, but probably a latch.

But, there are a good number of hinge-related problems, namely cracked cases around the hinge supports. In this case the top clamshell dosen't have the weight and the sturdiness of a fully integrated LCD and, even with a latch, we may be left with a flimsy outer "picture frame" that may be prone to bending and even breaking. You know what I'm talking about if you've ever opened (carefully) a laptop clamshell without the LCD attached. Any hinges which depend on friction will render your gadget useless if they go limp.

It's all Apple's fault, of course. They had the change to make something more than a glorified, overpriced, locked-down "phone-without-the-phone."

Re:Where have I seen this before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33580782)

"It's all Apple's fault, of course. They had the change to make something more than a glorified, overpriced, locked-down "phone-without-the-phone.""

So...you're saying we have a Jekyll and Hyde laptop that'll at some point break due to an unfixed and well-known design flaw, thus assuring the gizmo and the device user stay in Hyde mode, because Apple had the cash to engineer the pacifism out[1] of a Berserker?

[1] there is a known conspiracy theory that such leftovers was really done to install it in their user base, making them sheep

Re:Where have I seen this before... (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580790)

I think the answer is a wireless connection between the top & bottom half.

What are the things you almost ALWAYS need? Processor, screen, battery, wifi.

Whare are the things you SOMETIMES need? Keyboard, DVD/Blu-Ray drive (hey, some people still use them for movies), touchpad ...?

So, a tablet with a wireless "base" that has a DVD drive, keyboard, and touchpad, and which the tablet snaps into to protect the screen when not in use, seems the logical way to go. The main point is co-locate the screen and processor so you don't have the video signal sent through the hinge.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (2, Interesting)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581132)

Like an ipad with a charging dock that doubles as a keyboard. That's a pretty good idea. It's mine now.

Been there, did that (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581640)

So, a tablet with a wireless "base" that has a DVD drive, keyboard, and touchpad, and which the tablet snaps into to protect the screen when not in use, seems the logical way to go. The main point is co-locate the screen and processor so you don't have the video signal sent through the hinge.

Check out the Always Innovating Touchbook [alwaysinnovating.com] to see what your idea looks like in practice. It has its own issues, mainly that the weight distribution is very unlike that of a laptop, producing a top heavy device which tends to fall over if opened at a nice reading angle. Yes, they've mitigated the problem it by modifying the base, and eventually we might see lighter circuitry (or heavier batteries) remove the issue.

It is a shame that they seem to be mismanaging their opportunity away. They've ran into issues that leave Feb. orders unfilled today. They've also stated that they will not produce more product due to the commitments in developing their "new" version.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579500)

I don't know, the hinge on the standard convertible tablets is definitely heftier, but it also has the whole screen rotating around a single point, where this is connected at both sides. To me, the added stability of having two hard points instead of one might overwhelm the advantage of having a larger hinge. First and foremost, the hinge in Dell's new one is much simpler, and only needs to spin 180 degrees in one direction. Second, since it's attached at both sides it shouldn't have torque in directions that the hinges aren't designed for. Basically, I'd put more faith in a couple of rotary hinges than I will in a ball in socket type hinge.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580908)

How about a real blast from the past... Imagine its 2005, netbooks haven't been dreamed up yet and Fujitsu came out with the P1500 [digitaltechnews.com] convertible.

Re:Where have I seen this before... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581078)

I was looking at it and thinking the same thing. The hinge on the T91 is bigger and beefier.

On the other hand, the T91 has a lot more complex a hinge system, and it does a relatively poor job of containing the forces necessary to switch from one mode to another. They combined a single spindle and a hinge into one unit that can't be terribly effective at either, then overdesigned the crap out of it to compensate. Imagine being halfway through the conversion and having something bump into the top of the screen - you'd almost certainly snap it off.

Dell's design is pretty clever. By putting dual spindles on either side of the screen and keeping that mechanism contained in a frame and separate from the hinge, they've significantly reduced the complexity of the motion and made it less likely a user will twist it off or break components by mistake. The actual open/close hinge system looks like it has the standard two attachment points and is a simple netbook-style hinge that should be able to take some use , and the screen itself is held in place at two opposing points by simple spindles.

So instead of one single pivot about which two axes of motion and force are applied, Dell has designed a system that handles each axis separately, using two attachment points for each motion. So the motions are more controlled, and it's harder to apply force in the "wrong direction" and break something. The Dell doesn't need to be overdesigned to hold together, so you can probably build 'em cheaper and keep 'em lighter, and still have a pretty solid machine.

All in all, it's an impressive improvement in the mechanical design of a convertible tablet.

Don't usually say this about Dell... (2, Funny)

RafaelAngel (249818) | more than 3 years ago | (#33578958)

But that is really cool and innovative. This product fulfills a need that is currently not being met. I'm sure that will be copycaters pretty soon.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579156)

Even so, if people know that Dell knowingly sells defective hardware, why would anyone buy anything from them?

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579198)

Same reason people buy Apple hardware, even when they knowingly sells defective hardware like the screens breaking in the new iMacs, iPod batterys exploding, mbp graphic cards melting....

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579308)

Dell defective? No one cares. Apple defective? Obvious troll.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579460)

Especially hilarious that it is a completely true comment. Mod me troll if you like, it just proves your inability to comprehend past the RDF from Steve...

http://db.tidbits.com/article/10829 [tidbits.com]
http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/03/exploding-ipod-blows-up-in-apples-face/ [engadget.com]
http://support.apple.com/kb/ts2377 [apple.com]

Every manufacturer has these types of issues, holding any manufacturer responsable for them will only mean you don't buy from anyone. What manufacturer didn't have video cards from NVidia in this time period? What manufacturer hasn't had a bad batch of batteries?

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579234)

I still have a Dell E1505 sitting to my left. The battery is dead but it works great when it's plugged in. Finally runs Ubuntu well (10.04 ... previous versions were iffy when it came to some of the hardware, especially sound and wifi). I've been very happy with it. It's never been broken, never had a part had to be replaced, it doesn't overheat even though it's fairly old, etc.

I know, Dell knowingly sold defective hardware. I'm sure they're the ONLY company in the US that has EVER done that, and I can use my amazing Skills of Induction to reason that ALL their hardware is similarly faulty ...

... but instead, I decided to see what other people had to say about specific things from Dell, not just go based on branding. I know it's a shock (and I know I'm replying to an AC, hehe), but sometimes, brand name stuff is junk, too... and sometimes it isn't.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579262)

Rebuilding the packs is easy, and ordering new ones is cheap.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579400)

Yeah... I also have two other laptops and my desktop in the house, so I don't need the battery. And I'm cheap... so I just leave it sitting near my living room soundsystem, plugged in, and use it to watch movies, surf, etc.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579516)

Yup. I said the same thing above here, all manufacturers have issues of this type. I go Dell when I have a choice at work because their support for the commercial side is great. Call them up, and generally the new part is in receiving the next day. I haven't seen anything like it from any other manufacturer. Apple treats you like a moron who shouldn't open the computer, HP forces you to ship laptops back to them, because god forbid I own a jewel screwdriver kit and can do the work myself. Dell is the only one I have found that will have the new part in my office the next day, and a tech on site an hour or two after to fix the issue. Though I usually decline the tech, I generally have more experience then the tech as I remember hooking up computers as old as C64.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581166)

I know, Dell knowingly sold defective hardware. I'm sure they're the ONLY company in the US that has EVER done that, and I can use my amazing Skills of Induction to reason that ALL their hardware is similarly faulty ...

You don't need to be moron about it. All it took was Sony to put rootkits on their audio CDs, or Belkin to randomly redirect their routers to ads. Once you know that a certain company has certain policies, such as a policy to continue selling hardware which they know is bad, I simply lose trust in that company and don't want to do business with them any more. Dell might come out with great-looking products, but that doesn't change the fact that I know that Dell management has a policy of selling crap hardware and denying that it's crap. If I know these people have a policy of trying to sell me crap, then why would I buy from them? I'll give my money to another company that hasn't breached my trust.. yet.

and I know I'm replying to an AC, hehe

Yeah, thanks Slashdot.

if (Math.random() > .5) document.getElementById('post_anon').checked = true;

Oh well though, guess I avoided a troll mod for the crime of pointing out a fact.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581182)

You don't need to be moron about it.

Nice. I can see that my proofreading skills are on par with my check-post-anon skills.

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579284)

I know the story - even had one of them myself. And yes - I'd by from them any day!

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579456)

Re:Don't usually say this about Dell... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580392)

It's a good thing both of those use the same design then. Otherwise Dell might be caught copying.

(For the clueless, like the parent clearly is, yes, convertible tablets aren't new. The summary even says that. In fact, they're really old. I came very close to buying one over four years ago. What's new here is the design, and the linked HP tablet uses the design that has been followed by convertible tablets half a decade. Is Dell's new design good? Who knows; I'm not saying it is, just that that's what the article is about.)

former 'smoking gun' cheerleader promoted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33578966)

Herman Nackaerts. he's a certified wmd magnet.

Duo (0)

prichardson (603676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579016)

I know "Duo" refers to being both a tablet and a netbook, but I feel like it's an intentional reference to Intel's Core Duo processors. I don't think it's right to imply that connection if you're going to use an Atom processor. That said, I find myself interested.

Unfortunately, the article is devoid of details. What kind of battery life can we expect? Will it run WIndows 7 or Android maybe? Both? How much will it cost?

Re:Duo (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579268)

The article does mention Win7, but makes no mention of battery life. You can presumably put other OSes on it if you want. Battery life will probably be better than a typical laptop but worse than a long-life netbook or ultraportable, based on my guesses at how much of its chassis can be battery and the probable power consumption of the parts we know about (10" screen, Atom 550). I'd guess 6-8 hours, but though I'd love to see better I wouldn't be terribly surprised if it's only 5 hours either.

Cost is unknown but if it's more than about $500 it's going to sell pretty poorly. Throw in WiMAX or similar and I'd either pay a bit more or accept a contract in exchange for a price subsidy.

Re:Duo (3, Interesting)

sabernet (751826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579384)

I want to know if it has or can be upgraded to have a Wacom digitizer. Fingerpainting is fine, and reading books with your fingers has an intuitiveness to it, but I've been waiting ages for a nice thin pen-enabled tablet.

Re:Duo (2, Interesting)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580104)

Have you looked at the HP tm2t? I bought one recently to use for grad school and it has a Wacom digitizer. It's only about an inch and ahalf thick, around 5 hours battery life, and is pretty snappy with the low end 1.2 GHz Core i3. They're not exactly cheap, mine was about $900 after a $200 discount, but it's significantly cheaper than other similar tablets.

I wrote this post on my tm2t.

Re:Duo (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580330)

I was thinking more along the lines of the ultra thin, ultra light form factor variety...4.5pds doesn't quite cut it:) I've got my old m200 for now.

Re:Duo (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580524)

Well if you want to wait 10 years for technology to advance that far, that's up to you. I was just informing you of options that exist outside of Star Trek.

Re:Duo (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580802)

Or, use the technology that's available now , throw in a 3mm digitizer and write down "I will not use snarky sarcasm when dealing with subjects of which I understand little."

Re:Duo (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580988)

The technology doesn't exist now - it may be close, but to have the kind of device you want (and I want too), it's going to be several more years.

But I guess wishing the future was here now and being a dick to people who offer you alternatives that already exist works better for you.

Re:Duo (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581128)

I shouldn't feed the troll but...

A) the alternative you gave me was no better than what I use now.
B) your response to me starting that fact was childish
C) take an ipad or android tablet, shove 3mm worth of digitizer pcb below the lcd. How was that star trek level future tech?

Re:Duo (3, Interesting)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580694)

Yup. From when I got my first 6x9 Wacom tablet, back in early 90's, have wanted a tablet display on it. At the time, I wasn't too concerned if it had to be hooked in to a parent machine but after seeing what the iPad and similar systems can do with size and weight, am really hoping for a real Wacom tablet.

Solving the wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579064)

The problem with convertable tablets has always been that desktop OSes suck on a tablet.

Re:Solving the wrong problem (3, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580170)

Wrong. If you want use just your fingers, then yes, they're not too hot - but if you use a pen, then Windows 7 is great on a tablet. Even the default handwriting recognition is pretty damn accurate (you can train it to better fit your writing style). Don't bash it until you try it.

Re:Solving the wrong problem (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580822)

Even the default handwriting recognition is pretty damn accurate (you can train it to better fit your writing style).

I was actually astonished at how accurate it was -- and surprisingly, it's actually better at cursive than print. XP was pretty poor when it came to non-words (e.g. URLs), but Vista and 7 improve that as well. I forget whether it was introduced in Vista or 7, but if the application supports it, the pen input panel can actually do some pretty neat stuff. (E.g. compare the URL bar in Firefox and IE using that input panel on Win 7.)

I dual boot that machine with Kubuntu (actually triple boot -- XP, 7, and Kubuntu), and unfortunately there's nothing close I've found.

That said... what I found personally is that the main thing it is good for was taking notes with OneNote. There you're not using the input panel mostly only if you're flipping back and forth to Firefox or something. For times when I wasn't OneNote-ing it up, it stayed in laptop mode. (It's also somewhat amusing to play StarCraft in tablet mode. No hotkeys is hard...) If you don't use it for that purpose much, the tablet doesn't buy you much, even with a pen. Why would I write something when I can type faster?

Re:Solving the wrong problem (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581042)

Yup. Onenote is exactly why I bought a tablet (since I just started grad school). The Windows Journal app works great too.

Dual Personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579074)

You mean they can do twisted pair OR mini-GBIC?!?!? Sweet!

breakable? (4, Interesting)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579092)

I like this but...
I wonder how many times you can convert it before it breaks.
Does dirt and stuff get in the mechanism?

Re:breakable? (1)

JasoninKS (1783390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579184)

I was wondering that too. Seems like either the glass or frame will be the major points of failure. Kudos for an interesting design though. And as mentioned by other posters, I'd like to know more specs on this device.

Dimensions? Weight? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579142)

The rotating screen is a cool idea but the screen itself looks as thick as an iPad, the upper half looks thicker yet and the bottom half about the same as the top making for one chunky looking device.

Given all the griping about the iPad's weight I wonder how much battery they could pack in with all that extra hardware.

Re:Dimensions? Weight? (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579258)

I'm not sure this is meant to be an iPad killer... it's meant to give you the option of using your laptop(/netbook) like a tablet if you want to do so.

And iPad cannot be used as a laptop, even if you want to do so.

It would not be much of a shock if the battery life of a netbook is about the same as other netbooks, nor much of a shock if the weight of a netbook is heavier than that of a big iPhone :)

Better design (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579146)

It would probably be better if, instead of the screen flipping inside the frame, they had made it so that if you opened the laptop up completely to 180 degrees, you could then just slide the screen down across the keyboard.

Or is that how it was done before?

IBM did it first? (1)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579296)

The X41 from IBM did this in 2005 also.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/120592/ibm_turns_its_thinkpad_into_a_tablet_pc.html [pcworld.com]

We have a couple of these at the office still. They were horribly slow and horribly expensive... a great idea that came way too early for the technology and it never sold well. We'll see if Dell does any better.

Love Affair (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579536)

Now that my love affair with Netbooks has ended, I have an overwhelming feeling of "what was I thinking".

This Dell toy will probably be just as slow as those X41 from 2005, IMO Intel Atom is a step in the wrong direction, what we need are i7 with great battery life.

Re:IBM did it first? (3, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579560)

It does it in an entirely different way - one central hinge. That design - the one most convertible tablets use - puts a lot of strain on that one central point.

If you bother to read TFA you'll see that this one uses two hinges (twixt body and frame) to fold/unfold and two (on the screen within the frame) to roll the screen over. Providing the frame is strong enough, this is on the face of it a more robust design; any force acts less than half the screen diagonal from the fulcrum.

Leverage knacks hinges.

Re:IBM did it first? (2, Insightful)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579702)

The Dell looks pretty fragile to me, whereas the X41s we have are still going with no hinge problems after 5 years. But that's not the point I'd worry about. mrops has it right... the form factor is smaller still, and probably will be too slow to satisfy anyone who can afford it. With today's technology I bet you could fit a killer system inside a body the size of an X41.

Re:IBM did it first? (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579992)

actually, I own a X41 and don't find it "horribly" slow, it works great (besides the intel graphics mess at the moment at linux) for small tasks and similar to other laptops of that era, and I do use it to surf the net with chrome, writing mails or drawing with artrage2 over wine until today.

Of course, the X41 does have a great bottleneck, which is the hard drive, a special type of 1.8", must be from specific vendor (if you dont want to press buttons at the startup to confirm an IBM warning) and has a slower turn rate, loud clicking noise, and so on. You can replace it with an SSD or cardreader however. This does not bother you however if your tasks do not involve a lot of harddrive activity.

Also, there are tablets in the 6x series, and later, too.

Re:IBM did it first? (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580868)

X4n had a (up to) 2GHz P-M, if i'm not mistaken.. which should still knock the pants off a atom, at least in speed. I think they were reasonably speedy when they were launched, it's been a long time.

The thing I disliked about them the most was the nonstandard hdd.

Same tablet, different axis (2, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579352)

So it's a generic convertible tablet PC like we've had for ages, except the screen rotates along the x axis instead of the y axis? Why is this news?
What does this do that my X61t doesn't?

Re:Same tablet, different axis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33581574)

It trolls Slashdot.

Yawn yawn yawn... (3, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579392)

When will they realise that it's not the hardware that matters but the software.

I've seen a convertible laptop/tablet before at a customer site. He was trying to use it to take notes. But thanks to Windows it required a reboot as it wouldn't come out of sleep properly. It's a bit annoying when you all have to sit there and wait to start a meeting while a laptop boots.

Anything tablet like needs to be instant on/off. No HDDs, no x86 Intel processors and a keyboard should be totally detachable for those who don't want to use it.

Re:Yawn yawn yawn... (5, Funny)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580176)

When will they realise that it's not the hardware that matters but the software.

No HDDs, no x86 Intel processors and a keyboard should be totally detachable for those who don't want to use it.

Yea, those are generally the biggest software issues I have with my tablet...

It's nothing new (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579410)

And looks pretty rubbish [youtube.com] loved the crappy input latency on the map app and the fact that they're still using mouse emulation for the touchscreen.... I thought Windows 7 had proper support for touch input.

Re:It's nothing new (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579482)

It does, and it uses that proper input to emulate mouse movements which every app for the past 20 years has been written to expect on Windows.

When you start running apps with UIs designed for touch and not a mouse, then you can stop using touch as if its a mouse emulation layer.

Current apps are not designed for touch so having OS support means nothing.

Re:It's nothing new (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579664)

Current apps are not designed for touch so having OS support means nothing.

Ah, a bloated OS forced to support legacy software for which no touchscreen based applications exist. I could not think of a better platform to build tablets around!

Re:It's nothing new (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581454)

Well, you basically have 2 choices. The first being to start with a new platform like ios or android. The disadvantage being you can't run any 'legacy' apps.

The second being to retrofit an existing one. My money would be on kde rather than windows. It has been modernised in the 4.x release with plasma. Plus, thanks to nokia's efforts with meego and symbian, Qt is already touch ready.

Re:It's nothing new (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579540)

Who picked that map app for the demo? They seriously deserve to be fired, it makes their whole product look like an underpowered piece of garbage. My phone performs better than that...

Other than the fact... (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579492)

Other than the fact that it's a Dell, and therefore a complete piece of shit, it sounds great.

Re:Other than the fact... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33580054)

Yes! You made my day sir.

Been there, done that, 5 to 10 years ago. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579632)

While that might sound a bit been there, done that, the Inspiron Duo can be used as a tablet or opened up to offer a keyboard.

Not only does it sound a bit like been there, done that, it was done ... several times ... by several different manufacures.

They all failed. Touch interfaces fucking suck. Apple has a nice one on the iPhone for what its for, but you don't sit around using an iPhone for hours on end to accomplish things.

Touch is good for short, dedicated, standardized input, like picking a phone number out of a list to call.

Touch freaking sucks for any sort of data input, your hands get tired VERY quickly regardless of how big the screen is. Holding a tablet and trying to input data on it sucks, try holding your laptop while standing and entering data while its closed like you were touching a touch screen. Just stand there for 5 minutes holding it in your arm and you'll be exhausted. When its sitting on a desk with the screen open, now you have to hold you hands in the air to touch the screen, again, your arms will be exhausted in short order.

When you get to the size of a tablet, just using the keyboard is far easier. Smaller than a tablet and it starts to get a little different, but thats because you're going to do less overall on the smaller device so the UI can be streamlined and made more useful and less of a chore, and the entire device gets shrunk and form factored to make holding it not a chore. Think about the scanning guns stock boys use in grocery store, tablet would suck to carry around and work on, but a smaller, fewer option, form factor device is actually good to work with.

Tables fail because, contrary to the current belief, using touch interfaces fucking suck. I was using touch interfaces 20 years ago, they still have the exact same problem, its still a shitty input interface for anything more than a tiny subset of functionality.

Touch tablets are an invention without a use. Touch is great for kiosks that users use for 20-60 seconds max, after that, its a hassle.

Re:Been there, done that, 5 to 10 years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33579906)

Not quiet sure why this is score 1. I agree that for some application touch is really lame. I hate writing on my ipad, sure it's a bigger screen and the keypad is a reasonable size but there's no feed back and I miss features like the bumps on the f and j keys so I can find home without looking at the keyboard. :)

So will it sell? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579718)

Here's exactly what so many posters on Slashdot complain that they want - a full PC they can install anything on in a tablet form.

I wonder if it will even be around a year from now...

Re:So will it sell? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580220)

It already sells - the HP tm2t shows that. The only reason that tablets aren't more popular is that most of them are horribly overpriced.

Similar to EEE PC T91MT (convertible).. (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579784)

...the chip is different but for whatever reason the Windows platform performance is extremely sluggish...

Doing it wrong (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 3 years ago | (#33579886)

The whole idea is to move away from ridiculous contraptions with moving parts that add weight!

It would be cooler if you just closed the lid and BAM there was your screen on the outside of the lid. OLEDs would be good for that. Thinner/lighter so two wouldn't add as much weight as two traditional LCD panels.

Re:Doing it wrong (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580010)

I doubt it adds any significant weight, it's just a rotating frame after all. Though I agree that your suggestion is cooler.

It's a netbook - It's a tablet (2, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580076)

It can do a lot a things as a netbook, but won't be able to as many things as a tablet or as well as a dedicated tablet.

That's the problem with the Windows Tablet (and has been for years) not all the programs available will take advantage of the tablet. Programs that do take advantage of the tablet, do it so poorly that you prefer to run it as a netbook. Thus all you end up with is a netbook with a neat gimmick.

There is something to be said about devices that are dedicated tablets. If it runs in Windows then I'm tempted to make a program that can use a keyboard so I can take advantage of an already large audience. There isn't as much temptation with iOS or Android because even though both have access to a keyboard (iOS via bluetooth) the devices do not have a ready made market of legacy devices that were keyboard centric.

Re:It's a netbook - It's a tablet (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#33580542)

Programs that do take advantage of the tablet, do it so poorly that you prefer to run it as a netbook.

I agree with this, with one big exception: OneNote, which is a pretty fantastic piece of software. I generally hate about 99% of the software I use in a given day. (I recently pushed for and got Linux on my work box, while I run Windows at home; this way I get pissed off in different ways by my OS depending on where I am, instead of always the same way, which gets a bit old.) So, at least I think that my like of OneNote says something, because... it doesn't really piss me off at all. It's one of only a couple pieces of software I can say that about.

That being said, OneNote is basically the only reason that I would put my tablet (a Lenovo X61) out of notebook mode. I'd do things like read websites and stuff occasionally, but they're kind of too heavy to do that for very long at all.

KABOOM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33580428)

Neat, does this one come with or without exploding capacitors? I could always use another lap warmer.

Start taking bets (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581024)

on how many of them will be returned with the screen hinges busted after the first three months.

I've got one of these... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33581162)

Actually, just a ThinkPad X41 Tablet [thinkwiki.org], but you swivel the screen, and presto, tablet. I bought it used, cheap, so it's fun.

It needs a Wacom style pen, but it's a tablet, just not touchisensitive.

And even accounting for the pen, it's not all that.

And this kludge by Dell looks equal parts flimsy and flaky. I give it a C- on sight.

Now the Lenovo S10-3t [liliputing.com] was interesting. And the U1 [crenk.com] was very cool looking. Can I find one?

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