CES 2011 was host to a myriad of upcoming tablets running Android, Windows 7, custom skins, you name it. Samsung’s Sliding PC 7 Series is certainly one of the most innovative and is a stand-out winner in my humble opinion. At first you might look at the slate and think it’s just a thicker iPad. But that thickness is apparent for a reason; hiding underneath the tablet is a slide-out chiclet keyboard with a trackpad. This hybrid machine doubles as a 10.1 inch tablet and a small notebook PC. I’m really impressed with the design factor here, but specs are important too: 1366×768 multitouch display, Intel’s 1.66GHz (Oak Trail) processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 4-in-1 memory card reader, webcam, 802.11n WiFi, 3G/WiMax & DLNA support, built-in accelerometer, USB, HDMI out, will last up to nine hours on a single charge. Samsung’s Fast Start feature will boot up the machine in as little as 15 seconds, or restore it from Hibernate and Sleep modes in 3 seconds. The hybrid will ship with Windows 7 Home Premium and Samsung’s custom skin called Touch Launch that “comes with preloaded applications that are optimized for the touch screen display.” To launch Sammy’s skin you simply and elegantly swipe a blue strip located on the screen bezel. The Sliding PC 7 Series will drop in March at $699.
I’m really digging the choice hardware manufacturers are giving consumers when it comes to tablet design. Companies like Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung are creating such inventive, sleek hardware designs that give users the option to use a simplified OS in a tablet form factor and a more robust Windows experience with a touchpad/keyboard present. I like the idea of having a tablet that can easily be converted into a more full-fledged computing device when a full-sized keyboard is needed. At just 2.2 pounds, Samsung’s slider isn’t that hefty and I think I can sacrifice a couple pounds in weight and some inches in thickness to know that a reliable physical keyboard is just a hand gesture away from accessibility.
Jump after the break to see the notebook do its transformation thing. Official PR’s there too.
After almost an entire year of teases, demos, random resurfaces, and handlings on YouTube, the once mysterious HP Slate has been formally announced and detailed. What was originally intended for the consumer market has been tailored and made destined for “business, enterprise and vertical customers.” (You can thank HP’s aquisition of Palm and their current plans of designing webOS tablets for this slight shakeup in marketing.) By now you should know the Slate’s specs by heart, but let’s run through them anyway, you know, for fun. Weighing in at 1.5 pounds, the Slate features a 8.9-inch (1024×600) capacitive multitouch display, 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB SSD, 802.11n WiFi, rear-facing 5 megapixel camera (for taking still images and video), front-facing VGA camera (for video chat), and a Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video accelerator to help provide 1080p video playback. Ports-wise there’s 1 USB, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, and a mic. A myriad of buttons surround the bezel; there’s a home button, a keyboard button that brings up and hides the on-screen keyboard, volume up/down buttons, and a Ctrl-Alt-Delete key.
The Slate 500 runs a clean version of Windows 7 Professional; you won’t find any kind of HP skin here, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences. Unlike Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android Froyo platform, Windows 7 was not designed from the ground up for touch input. A capacitive screen and a fairly speedy Intel processor will get the job done, but just barely. If you are willing to learn how to navigate a made for mouse-and-keyboard OS using your fat fingers, go for it. All I’m saying is that it might be hard to justify dropping $799 for a tablet of this kind. A worthy iPad contender this is not. If you’re anti-Apple, I’d recommend purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Tab over the Slate any day.
But enough of my gripes. Let’s talk Slate accessories and release details. It ships with a Wacom active digital pen to use for note taking and writing emails. It also comes with a dock fitted with an HDMI port for video out and a “portfolio” case. Again the Slate will ship for $799 and it’s coming to the U.S. first (at an undisclosed date) and will then be “evaluated for further market expansion.”
Look in the gallery below for stills and after the break for official PR.