I wasn’t at CES; I’m not a professional blogger and have to make money to support my gadget habit. However, I’m still absorbing the deluge of information from professional bloggers who did attend CES.
CES didn’t divulge anything earth-shattering. Indeed, some of CES’s thunder may have been muted by Google’s announcement of the Nexus One a couple of days before, and Apple’s possible announcement of its tablet later this month. Still, CES had much of interest. My thoughts after the break.
A touch screen doesn’t make a TabletPC. As JK notes, When is a Slate Not a Tablet? At CES, the emphasis was on touch, not writing. Perhaps this is due to the small screen factor of most of these tablets. At 5” or 7”, writing simply is more difficult than at 12”.
Surprisingly, more slates than convertibles, though plenty of both. Surprising because with TabletPCs, convertibles are far more popular. But then again, these tablets mostly are not TabletPCs.
If you have trouble choosing between a slate and convertible, you can get both with Lenovo’s IdeaPad U1. The U1 is two devices. The main machine is in the keyboard part. The screen is detachable, and detached can be operated as a stand-alone slate, having its own processor (Snapdragon). Attach the screen, and the main machine remembers where the screen left off. Since a picture is worth 1000 words, Engadget has a gallery and videos of this innovative device.
All this tablet stuff is interesting, but if Apple comes up with an iSlate later this month, all bets are off.
Smartbooks, where art thou? This super-netbook but sub-laptop category was the next great thing … I thought. But not much at CES. As JKOnTheRun observes in CES Impressions: Tablets, Er Slates, Are Everywhere:
“Before arriving in Vegas for the show, my feeling was that this would be the year of the smartbook. I expected to see smartbooks everywhere, those little notebooks with ARM chips and either Linux or Android on-board. That’s not what I’ve found, though, and it makes me wonder if the smartbook is going to finally take off.”
As JK notes, the star of this category was Lenovo’s Skylight, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Linux OS and 10.1” screen (not touch). Still, IMO, not overwhelming.
These tablets need a processor that’s powerful, won’t suck battery life like Dracula, or heat up the tablet to a supernova.
CES: The Rise of Powerful Mobiles Thanks to Powerful Processors discusses several ARM chipsets: NVIDIA Tegra 2, Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon and Marvell. Not all is ARM; there’s also Intel’s Moorestown, whose promise Chippy explains.
Very promising for achieving on small devices the trinity of performance, battery life, and controlling heat.
As the policeman tells the street bum: “Nothing here for you. Keep moving.” In this case to Mobile Windows Congress, starting on February 16 in Barcelona. I expect (hope for) a Windows Mobile 7 announcement at MWC.
“[T]here’s an overabundance of gadgets saturating specific categories. For example, do we really need all of these ebook reader choices? I personally have a Kindle 2 and a nook, and haven’t even decided if either of those is really delivering the experience that I require, not to mention that I’m also using the iPhone companion for both of them. Now we have the QUE proReader, the Spring Design Alex, the Skiff, and a whole lot more. And if you don’t want to go the route of an actual hardware device, there’s the Blio. One thing is for sure, there are going to be plenty of choices. For me though, I struggle with what the future of the ebook reader really is. Sure we all want to do away with paper, but I think we need to take a step back from what we know (books, magazines, etc..) and think about how technology today can deliver the written word. Then we’ll finally see the true must-have ebook reader, or whatever it’s called at that point.”
I’ll be writing soon on various eReaders as I’ve been tasked by the boss (aka my wife) to find one to complement her beloved Kindle 2.
I was a bit disappointed. But not every year has game changers. This year was more evolutionary. Fearless forecast: If there’s an area I’ve mentioned to keep your eye on, it’s processors, particularly Moorestown. In the meantime, let’s see what Apple has up its sleeve.