Samsung Previews Slider Tablet, Air-Like Ultraportable

Samsung's TX100 Slider PC. (Click to zoom)
With so many mobile PCs hitting the market, hardware makers are doing all they can to differentiate their products, a trend particularly evident right now among tablets vying to unseat Apple's iPad. Samsung is differentiating to the hilt with two Windows 7 mobile PCs unveiled on the eve of CES: a new "slider" tablet PC, and a slimline ultraportable notebook.

Samsung previewed both the TX100 - also referred to as the Slider PC 7-and the Notebook PC 9 at a news conference during CES Press Day on Wednesday in Las Vegas, amid a flurry of Samsung TV announcements.

I got a close-up look at both of the new mobile PCs during the press event. Where the extremely thin and light 13-inch notebook looks a bit like a MacBook Air, the slider is more reminiscent of the original Droid smartphone, with a keyboard that slides out from underneath its touchscreen.

As a tablet, of course, Samsung's gadget is a lot larger than a slider phone, measuring 13.5-inches across diagonally. The keyboard on the slick new device features bright blue lettering on its keys. The Intel Oak Trail-based netbook is equipped with a 32 or 64 GB solid state drive (SSD) rather than a hard disk drive (HDD).

Other specs for the slider include 2GB DDR2 RAM, HD-level screen resolution of 1,366×768, and 3G and WiMax connectivity.

Jason B. Redmond, senior manager of integrated communications, told me that Samsung views the offering, which will ship later this quarter, as the first in a slider family that will "straddle the consumer and business markets."

Samsung's first slider tablet will be outfitted with Windows Home Premium, but Samsung is also eyeing a future release running Windows 7 Professional, according to Redmond. The initial slider is bundled with consumer-oriented applications such as Kindle.

Maybe the tablet hasn't really killed the netbook at all, if the tablet's touchscreen is combined with an unobtrusive hardware keyboard.

Other household names unveiling new tablets at CES this year will include Lenovo and LG, a vendor that will make its announcement in the category on Thursday.

As for Samsung's latest notebook, it's made of a material known as Duralum-generally used in aerospace equipment-for light weight and high durability, Redmond said.

The screen on the Series 9 ultraportable provides 400 nits of brightness, for outdoor as well as indoor viewing, along with a 1,300 to one contrast ratio, 16 million colors, and 1366 x 768 resolution.

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