Apple’s Rivals Scramble to Match the iPad
If you'd like to flick through Web pages or e-books by touch, but you don't want to give up your physical keyboard, a netbook equipped with a swiveling screen may be a good compromise. Over the next few months, several new "netvertibles" will emerge, including the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3T (available now), the Viliv S10 Blade, the Asus Eee PC T101MT, and the Gigabyte Touch Note T1000P. Each will have a 10.1-inch multitouch display, will run Windows 7, and will cost around $500 bucks. That's cheaper than standard 12.1-inch convertibles such as the HP TouchSmart tm2t and the Lenovo ThinkPad X201T--both of which are multitouch capable.
The ExoPC Slate--a Windows 7 slate with a custom touch interface, an 8.9-inch (1366-by-768-pixel) multitouch screen, netbook-like specs, and Flash support--was scheduled to arrive at the end of March, but ExoPC postponed the launch to June or July. To upgrade specs against the rival HP Slate, perhaps? Whatever the reason, the ExoPC Slate will include at least a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, Intel GMA500 graphics, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for videoconferencing, 802.11n Wi-Fi, two USB 2.0 slots, and a mini-HDMI output. The unit is due in the summer of 2010, with prices starting at $599 (32GB).
Innovative Converged Devices' Ultra is expected to start at just $250 (without carrier subsidies) when it reaches the market at midyear. Verizon used an Ultra in January to demonstrate its next-generation 4G LTE wireless network; and the Ultra's big brother (the 15.6-inch ICD Vega) is headed to T-Mobile in the UK before the end of the year. Specs include a 7-inch resistive single-touch display (with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels or 800 by 480 pixels; capacitive versions are expected as well), a 1GHz nVidia Tegra 2 (Tegra T20) CPU, 256MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM, 4GB of internal flash memory (nonremovable), 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mini HDMI output, FM radio, and 3G and GPS options.
Archos 9 PC Tablet
On paper, the Archos 9 looks impressive, thanks to a 1.2GHz Atom Z510 CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 60GB hard disk, Windows 7, a front-facing Webcam, Flash support, and a price of $549. But its 8.9-inch display is resistive and lacks multitouch, and the company hasn't made Windows 7 any more finger-friendly. Archos also sells 7- and 5-inch Android-based tablets/mobile Internet access devices, and recently announced the Archos 8 Home Tablet--essentially, an 8-inch touchscreen photo frame that runs Android.
PCWorld senior news editor Tom Spring contributed to this report.