It goes without saying that CES will see a lot
of tablet launches. However, the tablet you really want is unlikely to be among them.
Why? Not through lack of innovation; it's more about economics and materials.
For starters, both Microsoft and Intel want in on the tablet market really, really
badly. However, both companies don't have ideal systems for tablet PCs yet. Annoyingly, Microsoft isn't letting anyone put the Windows 7 Phone operating system on a tablet device, and is instead dishing out heavy rebates for full-fat Windows 7 installs.
Not only that, but we've been told by several industry insiders that Intel is putting some serious marketing cash behind its current Moorestown Z-series Atom hardware, as well as the new re-spun Atom platform dubbed Oak Trail. Manufacturers wanting to take the cash (and most of them do) have to make at least one Oak Trail tablet PC, and Intel will apparently help to co-market it.
As a cherry on top, Oak Trail is also cheaper than any Atom platform to date ($25 per unit, based on orders of a thousand
; the 230 launched at $29). However, while DigiTimes states that the $25 includes the use of the MeeGo operating system
, we've heard a less than positive reaction to the OS, so we'd be surprised if there were any third-party MeeGo launches.
This is why you're much more likely to see so many
Oak Trail tablets at CES and most, if not all, will be running Windows 7.
Economics aside, we've also heard about supply problems. Capacitive touchscreens are in very high demand, and apparently a very large percentage of the total capacity is being vacuumed up by Apple. We've also had complaints about component manufacturers tailoring their output to Apple's specs, as they either barter for a contract or expect other companies to follow suit. Demand is dictating supply, and at least one company is entirely working from stock that it procured three months ago!
Showing off product samples is one thing, but getting them to market is a whole other ball-game. Sadly, the pack is stacked in favour of companies with stronger buying power and robust supply chains, rather than those with innovative ideas, or even a 'better product.'
Any requests for your ideal tablet, or are you happy that an Atom and Windows 7 combination might kill the fad? Please share your thoughts in the forums