Winners and Losers of Computex 2010

Computex 2010 Winners & Losers

Computex 2010 just wrapped up last week in Taipei. They may want to think of renaming it to Tabletpalooza, because, wow, it was extremely tablet rich. It was also a bit unbalanced. There were a lot more winners than losers in our opinion from the show, but that’s not really because of extremely great products. It’s mostly because there were so many “meh” ones. Anyway, on to the list.

Winner: MeeGo
Consider MeeGo officially birthed. While we first learned of the conception in February during Mobile World Congress, Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin have a bouncing baby OS that they can be proud of. MeeGo was shown off on three different tablets during Computex — the Quanta Redvale, Winstron W1 and CZC P10T. MeeGo lends itself perfectly to touch input by allowing for grid or panel mode UI. Plus, it’s a type of mobile ecosystem — all interchangeable, but with specific benefits with each version (like netbook, smartphone and tablet). While we won’t begin seeing it on tablets until 2011, it’s certainly a standout from Computex and something we’d like to see more of.

Loser: Windows 7 tablets
Computex was bursting at the seems with Windows 7 tablets. It seemed like the floors of the conventions center was paved with them. Some looked nice, others looked bad, but all of them still rely on a very bulky OS for tablets that drains batteries. There were a few standouts, but only because they decided to run an overlaying UI (more about that next). However most of the straight out-of-the-box Windows 7 tablets seemed destined for failure. Couple that with the fact that two of the three slate tablets that Microsoft CEO Ballmer showed off at January’s CES keynote have now decided to dump Windows 7 and you have a lot of losing going on.

For those of you still doubting that Windows 7 on a tablet is a bad idea, do us a favor. Go to your local Best Buy, Office Depot or Staples. Walk up to one of the Touch All-In-One PCs running Windows 7. Play with it. Get a feel for it. Now imagine doing that on a screen less than half the size. Yup, we thought so.

Winner: ExoPC Slate
One of the exceptions when it comes to Windows 7 tablets is the ExoPC Slate. This thing will cause you to utter words that will blow your mind. Words like “this is a good Windows 7 tablet!” It’s all due to the ExoPC people having some smarts when conceptualizing a new tablet. Yes, the Slate does have Windows 7 (for those who like that kind of thing), but they went and made it better with their overlaying ExoPC UI layer. The ExoPC UI takes all the power of Windows 7 and devolves it into a usable interface. While the ExoPC wasn’t the only Windows 7 tablet offering to do that (the MSI WindPad 100 did it as well) it certainly did it better than anyone else. Just check out the video here and see how smooth and responsive it runs; how fun it looks to play with. This is what a tablet should bring to the table and we hope the ExoPC lives up to its $599 price when it comes out in September.

Winner: Pixel Qi
Pixel Qi has been a tech darling for the past year. They’re technology provides the best of two worlds — reflective color screens for reading and for use in direct sunlight; and their backlit LCD screens for watching movies and standard viewing. Plus, they’re extremely energy efficient! For a while there was one shining hope with Pixel Qi — the Notion Ink Adam. But now that we know that the Adam tablet will be delayed until November and will receive an India release prior to U.S., we’re disheartened.

Thank goodness Pixel Qi was at Computex to brighten our spirits. They showed off a wide variety of tablet devices all with included 3Qi screens. One of the standouts was the Innoversal Lattice. However there are plenty more devices on the way as shown in these videos (from Charbax and Engadget). Bring them on Pixel Qi!

Loser: NVIDIA and their Tegra 2 CPU
It looks like sunshine and rainbows were not to be had after all. On April 1st of this year Slashgear reported that NVIDIA had hit major snags with the development of their Tegra 2 processor. Hoping it was an April Fool’s joke we received confirmation from Slashgear before going ahead with the story. Unfortunately, they confirmed that it was indeed good intel from a reliable source. Later that day NVIDIA fired back saying that there wasn’t any delay at all. Everything was cool. Well, they lied.

NVIDIA’s press conference at Computex was full of apology from CEO Jen-Hsun Huang who asked us all to “have patience” in regards to the Tegra 2. Now the Tegra platform is expected to come out in the Fall, effectively pushing back all of those exciting tablet releases we’ve been salivating over. It would have been nice to see NVIDIA man up to the delay in April and save a lot of people some heartache.

Winner: Two-in-One Tablets
We saw two exciting new tablet combinations from this year’s Computex. The first was the ASUS Eee Tablet which combined a monochromatic eReader with a digitizer screen — effectively turning this into a graphic tablet that you can read on. It features a 2450 dpi sensitivity (matching that of Wacom’s popular Bamboo Pen & Touch), 2MP camera, 10 hour battery life and will come out in September for between $199 to $299. It allows you to save drawings, edit previous ones and a whole lot more. Frankly, we’d love to have one!

Also of note was the DigiLife iOne tablet that slapped a pico-projector into their tablet. This VGA projector would be perfect meeting tool especially considering its 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen, Android OS and Samsung Cortex A8 processor. All of that for under $300 as well. Now we’re talking!

Loser: Computex 2010
As exciting as this year’s Computex should have been it just… well, it just wasn’t. This should have been the year of massive innovations and some jaw-dropping tech. Instead we saw a lot of catch up, a lot of comparisons and a lot of follow-the-leader. Worse than being just plain bad was the fact that it was kind of boring. Sure, there were plenty of tablet products, but only a few stand outs. Even tablets from companies that should have stood out didn’t. The ASUS Eee Pads were there as was the MSI WindPads, but they were just kind of there, like wallflowers, hoping to pick up a dance with the latest blogger.

Other products look interesting but we really can’t get a feel for them quite yet. The PocketBook 901 eReader looked like a cheaper version of the Kindle DX geared for educational use. Windows Embedded Compact 7 looks to be a neat OS for mobile devices, but at this point we really haven’t seen enough for us to make up our minds. Even cheap Android tablets like the $70 InsisTek failed to inspire.

Tons came out from Computex but few items were worthy. It made for a disappointing show full of sound, but little fury.

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12 Responses to “Winners and Losers of Computex 2010”

  1. Yep, went to best buy tried Windows 7 touch, Loved it! I can’t wait to get a real OS on a slate.

    Thanks

  2. You forgot one,

    Loser: Android, it offers no real advantage over iPad.

    ExpoPC won’t be the only company to make a Windows Slate worth buying, Microsoft will also have something to say and do about that, I’m sure.

  3. ^ Astorturfer warning.
    | This looks like a “paid add” if ever I saw one…

    Thanks rwalrond, how must did your opinion cost I wonder…

  4. @darren, “Paid ad”? I wish! If there is anyone out there that would like to pay me to write comments on blogs, please feel free to contact me.

    My opinion is just that mine! I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Windows user in the world that wouldn’t have a problem with the way Windows works on a tablet. Perhaps you should search around and get some alternative points of view.

    Just a thought. Feel free to pay me for more thoughts. lol

  5. Uh.. typing this on a Toshiba M700 tablet PC – and I have a Gigabyte M1028V.

    Love them both – all you need to do is tweak the UI setting to make the title bar and scroll bars a bit wider and a lot of the problems go away.

    It’s worth it for me to be able to run real apps, not toy apps.

  6. Do any of the tablets shown come with a built in GPS?

  7. My mom can tweak her interface settings. !

  8. Loser: Android, it offers no real advantage over iPad.

    The biggest advantage with Android is that it won’t be be restricted by whatever it is Steve jobs thinks you should be allowed to do.
    When a proper Android Tablet comes out it’ll probably have a webcam, sd card slot, usb ports, have proper multitasking, won’t require iTunes to use, you’ll be able to run any app that anyone develops.

  9. I’m a little surprised the Entourage eDGe didn’t get mentioned. Of course, it already exists, so maybe it wasn’t even at the show. Two screens–e-ink and LCD, lots of ports and slots, Android, camera, speakers. No GPS, doesn’t run every Android app yet, but I like mine, anyway.

    • @Bilbo, yes if you think these slates are more than just consumption devices. However if we consider these things as simple consumption devices, Android has to not only compete with the Apple Marketing machine, but they must compete with iTunes and the App store. For the casual user iPads will be their first choice, for most power user, the Windows Slates will be their choice. Android to me is kind of stuck in the middle.

  10. Disclaimer: I work in a big MS shop. Servers, .Net, Silverlight all day.

    But Win7 on tablet… No just say No, No, No. I am now working on a iPad project. SUPER cool. We have also got our hands on a Android powered Tablet (will ship the code on both). Those two are clearly better choice. I am also going to be interested in Chrome OS.