This is a very interesting time in the personal computer landscape. You might even say we are experiencing a Paradigm Shift, the post Laptop age. Mobile computing has been rapidly migrating towards an ever smaller form factor, and right now we are spoiled for choice.
The Tablet Landscape
The Tablet market is entering its third year with the iPad clearly leading the pack, having sold over 3 million units just on the launch weekend of its third iteration. Apple may have nailed a great combination, quality, size, price and ease of use. This has left the other contenders in a perpetual state of “testing the water”. Most are afraid of getting sued by Apple for imitating a black or white rectangle with similar dimensions so they are left to experiment with different sizes and form factors. There are a myriad of tablets available on the market today from manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, even Blackberry. Samsung has been the boldest in this regard, using an almost shotgun approach to tablet manufacturing. We have 7”, 7.7”, 8.9”, 10.1” Galaxy Tabs sporting Android, and even a hybrid phablet device, the Galaxy Note.
There are currently only a few options available in terms of operating systems, such as the leader, iOS from Apple, followed closely by Android from Google and Blackberry’s QNX in the “Also Ran” category. With limited support potential expected for WebOS from HP (Palm) we can just as well submit it into the annals of Tablet History. As great as these OS’s are, or might be, one day (looking at you Blackberry), they all have the same basic flaw… They’re light weights, intended primarily for media consumption, effectively making these devices little more than tagalongs on our daily digital trek. They’re great for updating your social networks, writing the occasional short email and catching up on your soaps, but lack that little something extra that prevents you from completely untethering from a proper computer. That is, until now.
The Game Changer
Thanks to Samsung’s relentless push into the personal computing market with tablets, laptops and Ultrabooks and pressure from their rivals, like Asus, they have come up with arguably the best answer to this conundrum… The Samsung Series 7 Slate PC.
This bad boy is packing a real CPU, Intel’s Core i5 at 1.6 GHz and 4 GB of RAM this is arguably the fastest tablet PC on the market today. Sporting an impressive 11.6” wide capacitive touch screen complete with Wacom’s Digitizer technology you’ll be hard pressed to find a similar offering from Android or iOS. What sets this Slate PC apart from its light weight counterparts is that it comes with a full Windows 7 operating system. That means, real programs, real MS Office and real digital freedom.
Soon there will be a real competitor from Microsoft against iOS and Android in the form of Windows 8, or Windows on ARM with the beautifully simplistic and easy to use Metro interface.
I have had the good fortune of getting my hands on the Series 7 Slate and can personally attest to its versatility. As a matter of fact I’m writing this post on it with the optional Bluetooth keyboard and using the pressure sensitive Digitizer is just amazing. Performance wise, this baby cold boots in 18 seconds thanks to the lighting fast SSD. Let me say that again… 18 seconds… that’s faster than the iPad 2, and the Slate is loading a full featured OS, not some watered down mobile OS. The screen is brilliant and I have the brightness set to around 25% as full power would probably give me a tan. On the plus side, Samsung has included some great apps to improve the touch experience on Windows, such as the Swype keyboard. The touch interface is accurate and a pleasure to use. The pressure sensitive Digitizer is perfect for you artsy types and works great with ArtRage and Photoshop.
What could make it better?
Now, is this Slate PC the perfect Tablet? Maybe, but that depends on what you wish to use it for. This is a Laptop replacement. It wont be competing with the iPad on battery life due to the powerhouse processor inside, but it should get you through your day at the office, with the occasional top up on the dock back at your desk. Taking notes with the Digitizer on OneNote or Live Journal is superb with the built in palm rejection. You student types might want to consider this PC instead of an iPad as it will be immensely more useful to you.
So, how can we make this Slate any better? Well, what if I told you that not only will it run full blown Windows programs such as Office, CAD, Photoshop, Counter Strike, StarCraft 2 and more, but when Windows 8 arrives later this year it will open up the whole Metro App world to you as well. What’s this I hear you say? You would miss your other Apps? Well I can’t help you with the tightly controlled iOS Ecosystem but I what if I told you of a way to run Android Apps on your Windows PC, and that incudes running them on this touch enabled Slate PC. Are you interested now? Then allow me to introduce you to BlueStacks App Player.
They’ve just started handing out Beta invites and I got mine yesterday. To say that their program is impressive would be an understatement. I’m playing Android games and running Android apps directly on my 11.6” Windows Slate PC. So not only do I have the ability to consume media, but also create it, right at my fingertips. Their solution is perfect for integrating your Android based digital life onto your PC, they even have Could Sync to keep your Apps aligned across the different platforms. And as an added bonus, I can now run WhatsApp Messenger on my Desktop.
You can now own a full blown Windows Tablet Computer that comes with a Bluetooth Keyboard, a dock and a Digitizer, that’s faster than an iPad and has real multitasking, with a screen format better suited to watching video and can run full programs and one such program allows you to run Android Tablet Apps right on your desktop… So, what more would you want on your checklist of the “Perfect Tablet”
As always your comments would be welcome.