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Intel's Atom To Ship In Over 35 Tablets Next Year

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the new-warmness dept.

Handhelds 146

nateman1352 writes with a bit from TechSpot: "Intel has been trying to cut itself a slice of the mobile market for years, and it seems the company is finally making some headway. During a conference yesterday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini revealed that the company's Atom platform will ship in over 35 tablets starting early next year. The chipmaker has partnered with more than a dozen manufacturers who will launch slates running Windows [or] Android as well as Intel's own MeeGo operating system." The article lists Toshiba, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Asus, AT&T, Cisco, and Acer as developing Atom-based tablets.

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35 tablets? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34608814)

35 tablets is "making some headway"? Way to shoot high...

Yeah, I know... they meant "35 tablet models"...

Very much this (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609016)

The new Oak Trail and Moorestown processors look interesting from a raw technology point of view. Low watts, great power management, good performance, x86 compatible. A guy could make a lot of neat stuff with that. But a processor is not a platform. Intel has shown some shortsightedness in product positioning on netbooks by encouraging OEMs to stay within a platform definition for display size, memory configuration, and so on. They're afraid of "cannibalization". This limits the scope of creativity for the designer and prevents the creation of innovative systems that excite people. The fear of cannibalization is actually a fear that the new product will be overwhelmingly successful and sweep the field - which for any other chipmaker would be the ideal outcome, not something to be feared. The field needs sweeping, and I think the competitors are going to get her done by taking the field without these self-imposed hobbles.

That, and no current major PC vendor will ship a system that can run Windows with anything but Windows. That means that non-Windows systems with these processors will be made in low quantities, and Windows systems made with these processors will sell in low quantities no matter how many are made. The market has clearly spoken about the desirability of Windows tablets - screamed it in fact. So unless Intel can change the entire market dynamic of Windows and OEMs, these processors are going nowhere. Maybe Apple, Samsung and HTC will do the needful thing - otherwise this time next year we'll have forgotten these processors and be talking about the awesome iPad2 and other ARM tablets that continue to innovate and impress. There will of course be the usual number of indefatiguable fanboys for the Windows tablets product online - just like there are for WP7 and were for Vista - all of them posting from the same script, which is sort of creepy.

But the chips themselves? Yeah. Way cool tech. Way to go Intel! You guys sure know how to make chips. Congratulations on 35 design wins. I sure hope you manage to figure out how to sell chips into mobile and get people excited about your products in that space. But I'm not counting on it. It's not about the widget or the gadget. It's about the people and what they can do with it.

Re:Very much this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609352)

The new Oak Trail and Moorestown processors look interesting from a raw technology point of view. Low watts, great power management, good performance, x86 compatible.

(Emphasis mine)

That, and no current major PC vendor will ship a system that can run Windows with anything but Windows. That means that non-Windows systems with these processors will be made in low quantities, and Windows systems made with these processors will sell in low quantities no matter how many are made.

Help me out here -- if you don't see Windows as an advantage, how the hell is "x86 compatible" an advantage? Surely you're not expecting Hackintosh enthusiasts (or even more obscure x86 OSes) to prop up the market -- and ARM's no worse in any way for open-source or roll-your-own OS.

Re:Very much this (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609668)

It's sheerly a question of the availability of diverse development tools. GP was speaking about chipmakers providing good platforms for OEMs to build customer-attracting products on. If these Atom processors were available 8 years ago, the iPhone might very well have been x86.

Re:Very much this (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610622)

how the hell is "x86 compatible" an advantage?

Oh, come on, you can't be serious.

More software has been written for x86 compatible than all other platforms combined.

The potential for re-use of existing systems and software must be patently obvious even to the most bigoted of OS snobs.

He can be serious (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34611648)

For Windows developers x86 is Windows and nothing else. They don't know about anything else and can't believe anything else could be significant. It's sad, really, that so many people go through life thinking they understand the whole world having never been further from their birthplace than the next county over.

Re:Very much this (0)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34611536)

ARM's no worse in any way for open-source
BS

1: floating point is a mess. Afaict this isn't as bad as it used to be but still general perpose linux distros like debian are using softfloat for wide compatibility.
2: Cross compiling is a PITA because lots of software has build processes that aren't designed for it, compiling under emulators is SLOW. This makes having fast boxes with lots of ram and the SAME architecture as your target very desirable. High end arm boxes are both expensive and still lacking in power compared to x86 stuff.
3: Most OSS is nowhere near as highly tested on arm as on x86.
4: Even if using an open platform there may be a desire to run some propeitry software be it flash (yes there are arm versions of flash but afaict they aren't freely available which raises issues with the long term supportability of the device) or something running under wine.

Re:Very much this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609700)

"...no current major PC vendor will ship a system that can run Windows with anything but Windows."

Kind of ironic, but a good argument against this idea is... the Atom based netbook.

When these were first introduced, a Linux based OS was actually more common than an MS based one, and less expensive at that. However, as time went on, MS netbook sales overtook those of Linux, and manufacturers responded. Whether this is due to MS pissing and moaning to OEMs about hypothetical piracy, greatly reduced license costs for XP, or simple customer preference is unclear, but the fact remains that in this particular case Linux was initially pushed by OEMs as a viable alternative.

Also, this is strictly anecdotal, but personally I've seen far more iOS/Android fanboys bashing WP7 without actually using it than the reverse. I'm not sure WP7 has even been out long enough to gather a significant fanbase.

FWIW, I agree that a Windows 7 tablet without a major UI overhaul is going to royally suck, but I think you're being a bit cynical in your assessment of OEMs bending over backwards to keep the hegemony happy.

Re:Very much this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609778)

personally I've seen far more iOS/Android fanboys bashing WP7 without actually using it

Which is the same situation where people who never touched a Mac in their life, or at best fiddled five minutes with one at an Apple store, think it's all about "shiny" and visuals.

Exposé works the way it does because it makes sense, you see all your windows at once, you see the one you want, you click on it, you work.

The "page flipping" of Windows Aero, which probably has a name, is counter-productive because it hides most of the window when it's not the front one. You need to flip through the windows to search the one you want before you can work. A tool for finding that makes you search through the items one by one? It's shiny for the sake of shiny without any practical use, typical marketing department crap that looks good on TV and printed ads but is a PITA to use in real life.

Re:Very much this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34611528)

Um, OK? I'm glad Expose works for you. I wasn't saying anything against any particular OS or platform, I was just politely disagreeing with a couple of GGP's assertions, and providing a bit of background to back it up.

I don't have a smartphone, and I use all of the Big Three (Windows/MacOS/Linux) almost every day, albeit on different machines for different purposes. I don't have an axe to grind. Sorry if it came across as an allegiance to any particular product or company; I certainly wasn't trying to open an "OMGmyOStotallyrulz!" can o' worms.

Re:Very much this (0)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609964)

Intel has shown some shortsightedness in product positioning on netbooks by encouraging OEMs to stay within a platform definition for display size, memory configuration, and so on. They're afraid of "cannibalization".

While Intel is afraid of cannibalization, and comparison charts on their site try to push that netbooks are pure crap for anything more than reading emails, the limitations on specs are two fold: Consumers wanting cheap computers, Microsoft only offering cheap licences on computers under a certain spec.

Re:35 tablets? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609676)

Hey, Moses started with just 2 tablets, and look what happened there...

Fingers crossed... (2)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608824)

Ubuntu is doing a lot of work on multitouch right now... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least some of these could have reasonably open drivers for their hardware. Given that Ubuntu is working on an app store as well there's at least some kind of a chance for an open alternative to Apple's walled garden.

Re:Fingers crossed... (3, Funny)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608894)

Don't cross your fingers.. it will screw with your multitouch capabilities. :)

Re:Fingers crossed... (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608958)

If you're comparing an Ubuntu tablet to an iPad, there's already an open alternative: Android tablets. The GalaxyTab has already gotten some good reviews and there're more Android tablets trickling out every day. They might not all be good or similar to an iPad, but there are plenty of people who want different form factors and Android allows manufacturers to make that choice. I can't see Ubuntu being terribly much better than the tablets that have been running Windows 7. Sure, you get Linux instead of Windows, but it's still bolting a touch interface onto a desktop OS and running it on hardware no more powerful than a netbook. Maybe this is something that you want, but given how terrible the sales of Windows 7 tablets have been, I can't see Linux devices doing much better in the market.

Apple doesn't even make a tablet that uses a regular desktop OS. If you're comparing Ubuntu's app store to the OS X app store that doesn't even exist yet the comparison makes no sense since you can side load apps on OS X and it's been the only way to do so up until now. Ubuntu's app store will also be curated just like the major repositories (which honestly are pretty much app stores without a fancy graphical front end) or at least it had better be because if it's full of malware no one is going to want to use it. Regardless, it doesn't make a lot of sense to compare a desktop OS app store to a tablet OS app store. They run on different devices which have different histories.

I'm not really sure what it is you're looking for as you seem to be mixing two different ideas together while trying to treat them as though they are similar. Could you perhaps explain what you meant? I'm having a hard time trying to determine exactly what kind of product it is that you're looking for.

Re:Fingers crossed... (4, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609110)

I have to work with Android development every day. It is so spectacularly bad that I start to feel a little nauseous every time I hear someone raving about how its the future. For one thing, calling it "open" is a fucking joke - maybe some parts of some OS components are open, but go use one of those cheap Chinese knockoff devices based on the open source tree to see how well that code actually works to assemble a full OS. I'm also still mystified as to what makes people think Android is more of a "smartphone" OS than the J2ME based featurephones everyone has had for a decade - same Java lockin, similar strange low-memory-consumption JVM's, just without reasonably standardized API's. And don't even get me started on fragmentation - let's just say you have not known frustration until you build an application, submit it to the QA team, and find that it crashes randomly on Galaxy S devices due to weird inconsistencies in the Galaxy S's Android implementation. And, even worse, that the Galaxy S handles logging differently than any other Android device on the market.

I despise Objective-C, but I'd take iPhone as a target platform over Android any day.

Re:Fingers crossed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609288)

I take it that this would be a bad time to joke about coming over to Windows Mobile, eh?

*Gets piercing expressionless look*

OKay. OKay Okay ....

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609456)

I used to develop for Windows Mobile. It was a lot like developing desktop software - choice of language and IDE, proper filesystem access, no "app store." I liked it.

Re:Fingers crossed... (2)

Zerimar (1124785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609426)

I've seen a lot of apps in the market saying they don't work with the Samsung Galaxy S line of phones - your post helps me understand why. Is there any company doing more harm to the Android ecosystem than Samsung? HTC and Motorola stay pretty close to Google's Android, and seem to benefit from it. Samsung needs to wake up.

Re:Fingers crossed... (2)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609448)

The thing is, the Galaxy S line (including the Nexus S) are more or less the Android flagship devices at this point. Google is 100% complicit.

Re:Fingers crossed... (5, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609664)

Galaxy S = Samsung Flagship - manufactured by Samsung for Samsung. This phone runs the Samsung proprietary RFS filesystem, uses Samsungs TouchWiz interface and is poorly supported by Samsung. Google has nothing to say about it.

Nexus S = Google Flagship - manufactured by Samsung for Google. This phone runs on EXT4 filesystem, uses stock Android with some device specific drivers and will be well supported by Google (if the Nexus One is any indication). Samsung has nothing to say about it.

Re:Fingers crossed... (0)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610934)

If in less than a year, the flagship changes from Nexus One to Nexus S, the whole fucking ecosystem has fucking -problems-.

I'll reiterate a point John Gruber made. If the selling point of the Nexus S, if the big selling point behind the nexus S is no crapware and a stock OS, then the whole thing has problems.

What happened to the Nexus One? is it even getting Gingerbread?

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

hawkeye (4170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609532)

I'll wait for WebOS tablets...where the development environment is not spectacularly bad...

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609858)

>I'll wait for WebOS tablets...where the development environment is not spectacularly bad...

Have you looked into MeeGo development in the mean time?

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609648)

I've been long dreading porting my iPhone App to Android for the fragmentation issues. It is enough there are plenty of flavors of iOS out there (And Apple doesn't provide a means for developers to downgrade to perform testing), but on Android the problems are only compounded. I mean, I have been playing with Android enough - but it is far, as you proclaim, from being the "open future" people want it to be.

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609822)

Disregarding that MeeGo isn't really anywhere yet, have you looked into that from the openness fragmentation and general pain of development perspective?

Re:Fingers crossed... (0)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609960)

Theoretically, it should be like any other Qt-based Linux system. I used to play with its predecessor, Maemo, and found it to be amazing; it really was like a full, open, Linux, running a cut-down GNOME-based desktop environment.

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610680)

I'm also still mystified as to what makes people think Android is more of a "smartphone" OS than the J2ME based featurephones everyone has had for a decade - same Java lockin, similar strange low-memory-consumption JVM's, just without reasonably standardized API's.

J2ME was a really cut down Java to handle the weak phones of the times, so it gave people trouble. Android is pretty much Java, which love or hate Java, is pretty easy to build applications in.

Re:Fingers crossed... (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610688)

Worse yet, if you're trying to build anything game related, it's an absolute disaster.

With iPhone, you get a guarentee that 90% of your target market has a PowerVR SGX and can run OpenGL ES 2.0 pretty well.

With Android, you get no real graphics chip on 70% of devices in the wild, and on the other 30% the performance varies so wildly that you have no way to judge how much graphics work you can do.

objective c (1)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610774)

ok, first... I am no schooled in objective c. If the average laymen/programmer wants to trust code I assume you can obfuscate in that language. But which is easier to track, - objective c or java like? And what is the proper process to out bad code? I don't know of any. So until that time... should we consider all code bad/untrusted? Just wondering... I am not for or against any platform/language. Free apps are fine. Some are good and some are evil. So I see a sight like fresh meat or such that can help the average joe.

Re:Fingers crossed... (2)

binkzz (779594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609148)

Ubuntu is doing a lot of work on multitouch right now... I'm keeping my fingers crossed

Then why do you need multitouch?

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609152)

Given that Ubuntu is working on an app store as well there's at least some kind of a chance for an open alternative to Apple's walled garden.

In my time we called those repositories. The micropaying system on the other hand is pretty new, since back then Linux used to come with all that is needed attached.

Re:Fingers crossed... (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609554)

Well, frankly what signifies a store from a repository is some kind of payment logic. And payment logic goes a long way to motivate developers to contribute to the platform.

I welcome the change. I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable fee for stuff I use regularly and wish to support. Building it on top of the existing .deb infrastructure and Ubuntu software center makes sense.

No need to cross fingers (1)

mrwolf007 (1116997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609200)

Ubuntu is doing a lot of work on multitouch right now... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least some of these could have reasonably open drivers for their hardware.

The WeTab runs a modified version of MeeGo, but runs Ubuntu just as well. All the drivers work (including the Crystal HD decoder card). The hardware is pretty much identical to the ExoPC, so that should run Ubuntu just as well.

Re:No need to cross fingers (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609962)

>I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least some of these could have reasonably open drivers for their hardware.

Nowadays having open drivers for various chips should be more and more compelling, since there are so many companies doing so many different configurations, that it's too much work getting the drivers working with the hw of all the customers putting together tablets and phones and whatnot. At least I wish that would logically follow...

Re:Fingers crossed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34610878)

There are murmurings on the Ubuntu Forums (see this thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1628232) that Dell's new Inspiron Duo works out of the box with Ubuntu - the only thing that doesn't work is the auto-rotate feature (which uses an accelerometer, I guess). Admittedly it's not exactly a tablet, but on the other hand, I like having a keyboard. If I had the cash, one of these would definitely be on my list of cool toys to buy and play with!

Wow 35 whole tablets! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34608848)

"Intel's Atom To Ship In Over 35 Tablets Next Year"

What are they hand built like a super car? Maybe in 2012 they can make 50 tablets but they may have to bring in another employee to pull that off.

Re:Wow 35 whole tablets! (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609464)

Well, it says they will ship over 35 tablets. What I don't understand is why Atom will be shipped over 35 tablets instead of inside many more of them.

At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their sal (5, Funny)

melted (227442) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608860)

At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their tablet sales prospects against Apple. Yes, I do think they'll be able to sell 35 of them or so. Maybe 40, if they drop the price.

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34608892)

you go, fanboi.. some people might want to use a tablet for something else other than gimmicky 'apps'. apples stuff doesn't allow that.

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (3, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609452)

The thing is those people have had that option for years....and no one bought them. Look up the Motion Computing tablets or the HP Tc1100. Both had all the "something else" like usb ports, video out, memory card slots, all the crap that supposedly everyone wants...but they didn't sell for shit. I really wish the people who whine about their choices being too locked down had put their money where their mouth is but unfortunately all the whining in the world doesnt work if no one buys the products available so manufacturers get the idea that simple and stripped down is really more what people want.

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610220)

People who want all that other stuff, in my opinion, probably want a laptop and are happy with it. Apple never targeted that crowd, they have laptops and I'm sure they didn't want any new device they field to cannibalize their laptop sales (which I think are still pretty good). Instead, Apple shot for a new market of people. That new market could care less about a lot of the whizzy hardware stuff, they just wanted a simple device for simple things. They got it. MS hasn't realized this, they think they are going to get their flock to, in addition to their existing Windows machines, ante up for something that will complement those existing machines. But that crowd doesn't appear to want a complement, they are satisfied with what they have.

MS never identified a market for their tablets. They do not want to compete head-to-head with Apple so they are not building a knockoff. They wish to move Apple's market into something they can take advantage of...if they only knew what that was.

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (4, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34611712)

Both had all the "something else" like usb ports, video out, memory card slots, all the crap that supposedly everyone wants...

Would you like to bet that all 3 of those make it into the iPad over the next 1.5 years?

People do want that crap, it's just that Apple intentionally withheld it so they can trick OCD Apple fans into buying the next 2-3 models of iPad they release over literally the next 2 years. Seems kind of cynical to me, but they're probably right - Apple fans will lap that shit up.

So your point is silly. Apple has a built in set of marketing tools that nobody else has, and they had good timing with the iPad.

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608912)

You call that realistic? I think they're missing a decimal point somewhere in that estimate. :|

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609102)

3.5? How can you sell half a tablet?

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609156)

The article says "more than" I assume that by 3.5 they'd mean 4. :)

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609166)

actually, it says "over", not more... I obviously did not rtfa very intently. :|

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34608990)

The great thing is that you probably would've said the very same thing about the desktop market - and Apple's share is about to drop from insignificant to utterly insignificant as you probably know.

I suspect people working in education, business and science will be looking for functionality in a tablet and not care so much about the shiny finish or exquisitely rounded edges.

These users may spend some of their cash on mp3 jukeboxes etc - but when they go to work they will want something more than the digital equivalent of a designer handbag - its a simple matter of priorities.

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (3, Informative)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609014)

I think it's more of a hardware problem than a OS issue. Samsung has shown that Android tablets can sell well, but they've used an ARM chip just like Apple has used. ARM chips get a hell of a lot more performance per watt than Atom has ever been able to get. Unless the amount of power they can offer is significantly better, I can't see a good reason why anyone would want to use one. Tablets require small sizes and light weights to be successful. Cramming a more power hungry chip in one is just going to make it burn through the battery more quickly or require a bigger battery.

I also wonder how many of these are going to end up being Windows 7 tablets because those haven't sold worth a damn and if the vast majority of these are Windows 7 devices, I wouldn't expect more than a few hundred thousand atom-based tablets to sell all year. That's hardly a praise-worthy figure when both Apple and Samsung can sell over one million ARM-based tablets in a month.

It's not an Apple thing. It's an unsuitable CPU thing.

Re:At least SOMEONE realistically estimates their (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610636)

It is also an OS issue, or at least a UI issue. What both products show is that a tablet should be a giant sized pda / smart phone, not a laptop with the keyboard chopped off.

Intel jealous of Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34608952)

They managed to get into Macs but not into their iOS devices, so they are flooding the market with copycat devices. Just like ARM/Androids as well.

Re:Intel jealous of Apple (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608998)

It's ARMdroids, you insensitive clod!

And next year's media campaign:

"We ARM the world
We ARM the children
We ARM the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start switching
There's a choice we're making
Getting Wintel out of our lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just wait and seeeeeeeeee.

-- Barbie

Re:Intel jealous of Apple (2, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609756)

We ARM the world
We ARM the children

Definitely a song from the US ...

35 is not that ambitious (0, Redundant)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608960)

35 tablets isn't that many. Apple must have sold 10 million iPads by now.

Will Microsoft do its part? (5, Insightful)

caywen (942955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608962)

The question for me is, will Microsoft do its part? Are they gonna half ass it by slapping on some lame, choppy UI that takes up even more memory and resources on top of Win7? Or will they do the right thing and strip Win7 down to its core and work on a first class tablet experience from the ground up? Remember MinWin? That sure looked cool, but where has that gone?

My guess is they will half ass it as they always do, and then a bunch of clueless execs will be left scratching their heads why sales flopped. Then, a handful of execs who knew the whole thing sucked and fought to do the right thing will leave and defect to Google or start a company. The wheat will leave and Microsoft will be left with the chaff.

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609010)

From what I hear, MS is just going to use Win7 in tablets, no tablet UI (or if there is one, one that isn't hugely different). Having talked with people in the company, they don't seem to get that the desktop motif they use will not be good for tablets.

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609260)

To be fair to MS, I was looking for something to do with an ancient Asus R2H UMPC (900MHz Celeron with 1.2GB RAM) and failed miserably to get Ubuntu Netbook Remix to boot on it so I popped on Windows 7 and it 'just worked', albeit that I had to run some drivers under Windows Vista or XP compatibility mode. In the end, Windows 7 provided a pretty decent stylus interface that ran at a decent pace on the ancient hardware, so it should have no problems on a dual core Atom with a better-spec screen.

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609600)

Sorry, you'll have to wait to Win 8.

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609712)

You want to know the sad part? MSFT has the fricking source code and doesn't do as well as the pirate hackers with their own shit. look up "Tiny7" and you'll find a version of Windows 7 that'll run anything a regular Win7 will and just takes 145MB of RAM and almost 0% CPU on the desktop. For even crazier numbers look up "TinyXP Rev 09" which uses just 45MB! on the desktop or MicroXP A03" which uses just 32MB.

MSFT needs to hire the pirate hackers and have THEM design the lightweight versions, because trying them out they'll play any game or office app you throw at them and feel fast even on 10 year old crap. Which considering the Atom is in order crap that is like a hyper P3 would mean you'd actually have a Windows that was snappy on one. Personally I'll wait until some come out with the AMD Neo, as it pairs an actual AMD CPU, which means out of order dual cores with virtualization and x64 support as well as DEP, with a nice Radeon GPU so the videos will all be unskippy and smooth.

Playing with Atom based netbooks here at the shop it always amazes me people buy these things, as I have 7 year old laptops that feel smoother and handle better than the Atom single cores everyone keeps using. I guess it just proves folks will buy just about anything if it is cheap enough. Hell I should have known that when the local Walgreen's sold out of the $99 Android tablet, which felt so anemic that even launching a fricking browser felt like you needed to pack a lunch first.

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34610250)

You want to know the sad part? MSFT has the fricking source code and doesn't do as well as the pirate hackers with their own shit. look up "Tiny7" and you'll find a version of Windows 7 that'll run anything a regular Win7 will and just takes 145MB of RAM and almost 0% CPU on the desktop.

I seriously doubt it will run everything a regular Win 7 install can. No need to doubt since there are mentions of software and/or drivers not working on the site itself. What good is it if you can't run your (not the creator's) favorite software or use your hardware?

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610252)

How much of Win7 is in there because MS wants to hogtie all their systems together? Put another way, in the stripped down systems, are they as integrated with the rest of MS's ecosystem?

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 3 years ago | (#34611140)

Actually, most netbooks with Atoms I've seen are dual-core atoms and they are fast enough for most purposes.

Re:Will Microsoft do its part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34611364)

Running a lightweight linux distro with the right applications on even the first-generation atom netbooks is perfectly fast. If people accept that they can't have all the bells and whistles (and GUI bloat) of a desktop OS, netbooks are surprisingly fast and more than capable of performing most desktop tasks.

Gah... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608966)

Didn't the plethora of netbooks teach us the Atom processor is woefully underpowered? Why does anyone think it's going to be any better in a tablet?

Re:Gah... (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34608988)

If they plan to sell them in 2012, I'm sure half the mobile phones on the market would outperform them atom cores by miles. No idea what MS was thinking.

But then again, I'm not supposed to worry. I don't work for them. :)

Re:Gah... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609026)

No idea what MS was thinking.

Let me guess: 'Windows users can't run existing Windows software on ARM, so we need an x86 chip instead'.

Re:Gah... (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609138)

That's the point of this that just about every but apple and android seems to be ignoring. Running standard windows apps on a tablet is like shitting in your kitchen sink. Just because you can doesn't mean it was meant for the purpose, and it always leaves you with a terrible mess to clean up later.

You need a dedicated tablet interface, and regular applications have to be at least modified to follow that. Since the apps in question only run specific windows versions without trouble what makes you think they can be run on tablets any better ?

Re:Gah... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609170)

That's the point of this that just about every but apple and android seems to be ignoring.

I don't think that Microsoft are ignoring it, they just don't have any choice. If they released a new version of Windows for tablets, then no current Windows software will run on it, and the only reason people buy Windows is to run their old Windows apps.

So the backwards compatibility that made them rich in the past is now screwing them as they try to get into new markets.

Re:Gah... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609696)

Since 2002 MSFT has had a tablet additions to their OS. in that time they didn't do anything as simple as updating the mail client to work better with tablets.

Apple didn't release a tablet OS, until after the web browser or mail client worked well for tablets.

If it takes you ten years and you are still beaten by your competition then you are doing something wrong.

Re:Gah... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610244)

If it takes you ten years and you are still beaten by your competition then you are doing something wrong.

I don't think "beaten" means what you think it means.

Re:Gah... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610662)

Windows Phone and Windows Mobile run on ARM, and might actually work better on a touch screen device.

Re:Gah... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609008)

Didn't the plethora of netbooks teach us the Atom processor is woefully underpowered?

If the Atom is 'woefully underpowered', what does that make the average ARM chip? I believe you need the fastest ARM generally available to beat an Atom on CPU performance.

Re:Gah... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609112)

The thing is that when you have an ARM chip you're not trying to run some flavor of Windows. It's the only reason to use an Intel chip. And if netbooks were slow and sucky I don't see how tablets based on the same platform are going to be any different.

Re:Gah... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609154)

And if netbooks were slow and sucky I don't see how tablets based on the same platform are going to be any different.

If netbooks were 'slow and sucky' due to using Atom CPUs, why do you think a tablet based on an even slower CPU is going to be better?

There are plenty of ARM-based chips which can offload video decoding to hardware so that it doesn't require as much CPU power, but for anything that's limited by CPU power, why would you want a slower CPU? ARMs are used because of their cost and power consumption, not because of their processing power.

Re:Gah... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609298)

Because of the OS. You're not going to run Windows on an ARM platform. And I'm betting that's what you're going to find on almost all the Atom-based tablets. And we know that Atom + Windows = fail.

Re:Gah... (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609038)

Tablets don't have to be powerful, but I don't think the Atom is a good choice as well. You can get an ARM processor to use less energy. Since you most likely have to play around with the OS anyways to get it onto a tablet, why not get rid of x86, too?

Re:Gah... (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609068)

Once again the problem is the OS not the hardware. Admittedly Atom has a time pushing Windows 7 around. We had a number of them at the office for execs to play with. Put XP on them and they run great, so great I bought one. I am running Slackware 13 on mine with the XFCE desktop and its perfect and plenty fast. I can even use Codeblocks quite happily. Its good for watching online video as well 1366x768 native res screen. Once in a great while Atom might let a 720p mpeg4 video shudder just slightly, not a big deal. The only thing I ever wait on is compile jobs, and Its evident the bottle neck is disk IO there.

I maybe would not want to edit video on it or rip dvds but that is not the Netbooks purpose, it does not need to be as powerful as my desktop. It needs to be portable, and run for 6+ hours.

Re:Gah... (1)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609414)

Thank fuck someone else realises this. I thought I was the only one vomiting with frustration at the mucoussy slowness of anything with a bloody Atom in it. I eventually reformatted the windows crap and tried ubuntu. Even that was a fucking joke. I remember my old 486DX being faster than this shit.

I eventually broke the thing's spine with maniacal glee while having an argument with my wife.

Atom is rubbish. Stay away.

Re:Gah... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609508)

Atom is rubbish. Stay away.

Strange. I have three Atoms here and they work fine. I'm going to replace one with an i3 or i5 eventually, but only because it's the MythTV server and the Atom is a bit slow for transcoding.

Of course I'm not trying to use it for playing modern games or editing H.264 HD video.

Re:Gah... (1)

chromozone (847904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610120)

I pull my hair out over people who expect Atoms, netbooks etc. to be like notebooks.

Re:Gah... (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609724)

Underpowered? What are you trying to do? I use an Asus B202 with a 1.6ghz Atom/1gig RAM and WinXP, and DSL 4.XX in a VM? Everything runs FAST ENOUGH!

Geez, you people have some strange ideas about NEED vs. WANT.

Re:Gah... (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610584)

Install Windows 7 on there and let me know how well that works for you.

Re:Gah... (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34611738)

Odd, considering Atom outperforms ARM you seem to have a logical conundrum in there somewhere.

Arm is more efficient, but has less performance so if performance is the problem you better tell that to Apple.

Why? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609092)

I understand why some people want to be compatible with x86, which is mainly for Microsoft Windows. Since most applications aren't designed for touchscreens, however, you don't need and shouldn't be using Windows in the first place. The target market for tablets is Web browsing, email, instant messaging, etc. It's an internet appliance.

So if they don't need Windows, why are they using Atom in the first place? ARM processors are much better on a processing-per-watt basis, which should be your primary target when designing a portable device.

Nintendo understood from the beginning that low-power is crucial for portable devices, which is one of the main reason the GameBoy won over all the other portable devices. The SEGA Nomad was a great idea, a portable Genesis/Mega Drive, but it could barely run 60 minutes on a set of fresh, brand-name alkaline batteries.

So my question is: are those companies so fucking stupid that they want to make inferior products or are they just too braindead to make software? Do Microsoft have a gun to their head? What's going on here?

And oddly... (3, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609098)

It's the small guys' products I'm most interested about. Dell, HP, Asus, Acer & co. seem to be struggling to find something worthwhile, but small start-ups like Notion Ink and ExoPC are bringing genuinely interesting products that I'm far more interested to read about.

Yes, tablets will be a big thing in 2011 and probably beyond, but not because of all those slow megacorps.

Are there any advantages to using Atom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609132)

other than native x86 compatibility? I was under the impression that ARM CPUs were much better for low power environments due to more efficient work-per-cycle (sorry, I don't know the technical term for this) and power consumption at idle (an ARM CPU can basically shut down when not in use). Have I just been drinking fanboy Kool-Aid, or have there been advances that I'm unaware of?

On another note, is Meego actually polished enough to be usable at this point? All I know about it comes from Nokialand, where Meego/Moblin (Harmattan) was intended to replace Maemo 5, aka Fremantle. However, as of the release of the n9, Meego was still so rough that Nokia went to Symbian instead. Any n9/n900 users who've tried it care to comment?

Re:Are there any advantages to using Atom... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609594)

You may be thinking of the N8 -- the N9 is not out yet, and still planned to be Meego-Harmattan.

Note, however, that there's a huge difference between Meego and Meego-Harmattan -- Meego-Harmattan is more-or-less a Harmattan (Meego 6) core with Meego-compatible libraries and Nokia's custom Meego UI on top. The next generation after the N9 will be real Meego (with Nokia customizations).

As for usability, the stock netbook UI is, AIUI, pretty much done. The tablet UI is mostly there,but not perfect. The handset UI is still very much WIP. But, like Android, all the big manufacturers are expected to add their own "special sauce" UI, so it's mainly important to hackers looking to run it on N900s, Beagleboards, Pandoras, etc., or small-time device manufacturers without the resources to do their own UI.

Re:Are there any advantages to using Atom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609970)

Yes, I did mean the n8; thanks for clarifying. I spend most of my time in the Diablo fora, so what I hear about newer devices is mostly from other sites or misplaced posts.

So, then, Nokia is essentially taking the kernel and libs from Meego and rewriting the Hildon stuff in QT to make Harmattan, yes? It seems like NIT/phone development is in a state of upheaval at the moment, but I still have high hopes for the finished product. :)

But what about power...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609164)

I've been developing with low-power embedded systems, many from Kontron, and Intel Atom boards typically burn around 5-7 watts, while our ARM-based systems don't go over 2 watts for about the same performance (0.5 to 1.0 GHz clocks). I wonder how warm these Atom-based tablets will get and how long they'll run? The iPad's 10 hours is going to be very hard to beat. If these companies do the same things they've done with netbooks, they'll do good to get 5 hours.

Re:But what about power...? (1)

kakris (126307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34611732)

Sure they've done some work to reduce power consumption, but the Ipads big secret is still the fact that it has a FREAKING enormous battery in it. Hell, the battery in my core 2 duo 16" laptop has less capacity at 4400 mah than the ipad's 6600.

This is the biggest fad since Palm (5, Insightful)

cygtoad (619016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609196)

I can't say that i am ready to jump on the tablet bandwagon, but if I did it wouldn't be an iPad. I know I risk being left behind by not being an adopter, but tablets just haven't proven themselves primarily because developers don't write important mission critical programs for touch screens, they write them for keyboards and mice.

We recently went live with an EMR (Electronic medical record) at our hospital. As slick as the EMR is, it is written for a keyboard and a mouse. Guess what the docs want, you guessed it; Can we get it work on an IPAD? Oh yes, while technically possible via Citrix it is about as about as practical as mounting a steering wheel on a horse. Can't you teach the horse to respect the steering wheel? Um, no.

We have tried tablets in the past for the EMR. The users get excited about them and once they have them, they collect dust. $2,000.00 state of the art spill proof made especially for hospital settings tablet PC's which never leave their docking bays. What a waste.

All tablets are currently toys, iPad included. If I want toy to play with and have an extra couple hundred bucks burning a whole in my pocket then maybe I will buy one, but why would I want a toy with limitations, like the iPad?

Tablets may some day be a respectable tool for some apps who's developers are willing to write to them, but that will be 10 years out. Then, they will be about as sexy as a Palm is today.

Re:This is the biggest fad since Palm (0)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609306)

You really are trying too hard to troll. iPad not suitable to use in Hospitals for mission critical applications you say? No kidding! The ipad is still Rev. A. ...not to mention ipad is geared primarily toward consumers.

I suppose you don't count educational uses and the ipad's role in promoting ebooks....no I guess not.

...or the fact that most executives find many uses for ipads.

Ok I'm done.

Re:This is the biggest fad since Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609366)

Seriously? You're whining that major apps haven't been written for a tablet that's been out for about 6 months? And that's why you claim it's a toy? And you can't seem to understand how a mouse could translate to a touchscreen (the iPad already has a keyboard)?

S.T.F.U.

Re:This is the biggest fad since Palm (0)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609490)

So let me get this straight your biggest problem is that software designed for a different form factor that hasn't been ported but simply accessed though hacked interface provided by yet another piece of software doesn't work well? Then complain that your attempts at tablet computing using devices that ran an operating system designed for a different form factor didn't do the job either? Here's an idea...why not get a piece of hardware running an os designed for its form factor and run software designed for it as well...you will get much better results. You cant just shoehorn something into another device simply because the one thing it has in common is a freaking screen....it just doesn't work that way.

Re:This is the biggest fad since Palm (0)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610372)

The problem is the software, a lot of medical software is extremely dated and its not uncommon to see supposedly web based apps which actually require IE6 and wont work on any modern browser...

Doctors used to write medical records on clipboards, a tablet would be a logical evolution from this and would work very well with appropriate software... The problem is that your $2000 tablets typically run windows, which has an interface designed for mouse+keyboard and works really poorly on a tablet, and the same can be said of the applications. Windows tablets are also either heavy making them impractical to carry around, or with extremely poor battery life.

If people would write software specifically for tablets (and various places werent already locked in to other stuff) then tablets would be very useful for many things, hospitals included.

Re:This is the biggest fad since Palm (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34610684)

So you're writing off the whole tablet industry because it's not suitable for one setting?

I don't think they're a fad at all. The only reason PDAs died out is because they are the same size as phones and technology got to the point where the two devices could be combined into one.

Tablets are not (and, by definition, can never be) good enough to replace all computers in all places but now that the form factor has been done right and the CPU and battery life are good, they are suitable for many tasks and they will never go away. Who cares if they aren't "sexy" in 10 years? As long as they work, they'll still be in use. Light bulbs and toilets aren't very sexy either but I don't want to live in a world without them.

Re:This is the biggest fad since Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34610876)

I used to do development at an EMR company and I'm now in medical school. The main issue is that the software isn't really designed to use tablets and touch screens are pretty crappy for heavy text situations. In general EMR have had terrible user interfaces even when compared to the rest of the software industry.Tablets are great when you are doing menial stuff like check boxes, short notes,and punch in a few numbers. I really see touch screens working for nurses and other areas like the operating room. Macros and templates can make notes touch screen friendly, but they don't work in situations where things are really abnormal. Their you are going to need a keyboard or dictation software to get the job done.

no Meego? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34609342)

Isn't that Intel/Nokia's entry into mobile computing? Why wouldn't they use their own OS?

Bah (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34609612)

There's no way they'll be able to turn a profit if they only ship 35 units. ;-)

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