Saturday, June 4, 2011

The best from Computex 2011

Computex 2001 is wrapping up over in Taipei, Taiwan and it seems like mobility was a big part of the show. A load of slate PCs were shown off and Microsoft even unveiled a more slate friendly version of Windows, codenamed Windows 8. There have been some interesting ideas that have rolled out and some things that I think really have potential.

Most Creative: ASUS Padfone

Probably the award for the most creative product goes to ASUS for the Padfone. The idea is that you get a slate PC that's powered by an ASUS phone running Android. I see benefits with this idea as I imagine it will help people own a slate PC and smartphone for less. The design is not without drawbacks. If I have my phone in the slate, I'm not going to want to use the slate itself to take phone calls when they come in (if you think people walking around with a bluetooth headset look dorky, imagine someone answering calls on a slate) and it would be a pain to have to save what I'm doing, pop the phone out, and then answer it. I'd be surprised if that could be done before the call goes to voicemail. The other drawback is that your phone is directly tied to your slate. What if I don't want a Blackberry phone and Android slate? What if I don't want the ASUS phone model? If you're already planning on getting the ASUS phone then the slate dock is a nice addition. If you're looking at the Padfone just for its slate functionality, I think you're better off looking at other slates so you have the freedom to choose your phone separately. It all depends on your priorities. I'll be interested in seeing how it plays out with a scheduled release of the end of this year.

 Most promising: MSI WindPad line

The most promising device I saw coming out of the show is the MSI WindPad line (the 100A, 110W, and 120W). The 100A runs Android while the 110W and the 120W run a full Windows 7 Home Premium install. The difference between the 110W and the 120W is that the 110W runs on an AMD Brazos Fustion APU and the 120W is running Intel's Cedar Trail (the 100A runs a Tegra 2). I'm especially excited about the 110W and I look forward to seeing how it does compared to Acer's Iconia Tab W500. I've been looking forward to a Windows 7 slate running the AMD Fusion APU in order to get the full functionality of a Windows PC, the legendary media performance AMD inherited when they bought ATI, and the battery life the Fusion APU promises. MSI is promising 6 hours of battery life. I hope to get to put that to the test. The devices also come with front and rear cameras making it ideal for Skype. Up to 64GB of storage will be available for users. Data can be protected biometrically using the cameras to identify the user. No official word on when these devices will be available or what the prices will be. It'll be interesting to see if MSI can gain traction in the slate market with these devices.

Did you see anything interesting out of Computex 2011? Share in the comments below.

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