Neowin hands on: Pegatron Windows 7 'Slate PC'

Steve Ballmer introduced several tablet based "Slate PCs" at the Microsoft keynote for CES 2010 yesterday and we got a quick look at one earlier today.

The Slate PC is manufactured by Pegatron and has an 11.6" screen powered by an Intel Atom processor and Windows 7 Home Premium. On board is 1GB RAM, 32GB HDD storage, a HDMI port and a web cam. The device is lightweight and fits into the hands like a book. Although the form factor is interesting and exciting, Windows still has a long way to go until people can easily use such a device. Vendors will likely build interfaces on top of Windows to take advantage of touch.

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All these tablet PCs fail in ergonomics. How come they don't notice that? I mean try to hold a device like this with one hand its so uncomfortable.. They should do something about it tho. I'm pretty sure Apple will realize that, designing its their specialty.

I have seen some sleeves that have a strap running horizontally across the back of the tablet, so you just place one hand under it, and you can hold it without having to clutch your fingers around one of it's edges.

Definitely windows 7 (or windows at all) looks out of place on this thing. If you're going to do touch, it's best to design an interface specifically for this.

You truly don't realize how clueless the average computer user is until you read through a forum of posts like these.

1) Waiting for one with Handwriting? Did you miss the last 15 years of reality? TabletPC XP edition did OK with handwriting, WindowsCE from mid 90s does ok with it, and Win3.x PenWindows did OK with it. Go YouTube Windows7 or Vista Handwriting if you want to see a computer read your handwriting faster and more accurately than another human. -Especially note the people that write like Doctors and Vista and Win7 still nail the words 99.999% of the time, and this is outside of sentence context, which it does even better.

2) Need a Touch Interface? Win7 supports up to 50 points of multi-touch input at once, building from the requirements of the Surface computer platform. The UI adjusts if it notices you have a touch screen so things are just easier to touch.

3) Thrid party software to take advantage? Ok, ya, you can add in third party software for some really cool designed Touch applets - this is one of the strengths of Windows, the development platform it offers.

4) Built in Software - If you are thinking 'Media' the reviewer should have been using Media Center as it is designed around a Touch UI concept, and works like a Zune or iPhone and is equivalent to a single application providing all the functionality of media devices.

5) Hard to Type? Maybe, but considering Windows 7 is the only OS with a nice predictive multi-touch on screen keyboard, typing on tablets or touch screen is rather easy, in fact it is just like typing on the keyboard on your desktop, but on a smooth non-tactile surface. It really is that good and that simple.

This 'toy' product is light years ahead of anything out there, is built on Microsoft Tablet and Touch technology going back to the early 90s late 80s and already provides all the features Mac users are 'dreaming' about having the 'chance' of having on the iSlate. Let alone that TabletPC and Touch interfaces have been at the heart of Microsoft's OS strategy for a long long time, and is established technology and there is nothing in the world that can match Windows7 for touch or handwriting or even speech, which these devices ALSO work by.

I know a lot of people have not a clue that there are 100,000s of TabletPC and Touch PCs in hospitals and on assembly lines and being used in warehouses and by delivery drivers. However, you need to take notice, that this is NOT knew to Windows or the PC world, and even just simple purpose MEDIA applications like you find on the iPhone have their origins in Windows Media Center, which gives the iPod Touch or even the Zune a run for their money in ease of use and features, especially with a mulit-touch display interface.

Ya but the mac fans ...will think that the islate or whatever it is will be the first tablet pc ...sorry but a friggen touch slate to me its useless without a dock for keyboard ect apple adding another gimmic to their bloated lineup and the dumb masses will gobble it up no matter how many problems it plagued with,,,

I think apples will be more touch friendly and will most likely be based on the iPhone OS probably(hope not).
Since I already have an iPhone I wouldn't need a bigger one that does the same stuff.

So having a fully functional Slate PC with windows 7 would be good. Be handy to keep in the living room. For checking e-mails and reading documents(PDF,Word,PowerPoint,Excel) May not be good for editing/creating them. But would be great for viewing. Ability to run outlook on there would be good for me. Just be handy to have sitting about if I need to log on and check work stuff if I was downstairs.

So I can see windows 7 slate being more beneficial to me than Apple's Slate. Unless apple have Full OSX on it. So I can install different programs.

Some slates, will probably run on WinCE with a new UI made by the hardware maker, same as they do with phones, or they can stick a new UI ontop of Win7.

Have you seen the, iirc, lenovo hybrid notebook/slate prototype? It's the one where the screen popsoff going from a notebook running the normal win7 UI to a slate with a custom touch UI.

That's what I think more of these, if not all, will end up being like. This is just a start, and to show you that they're powrful as well they run full Win7.

I could see myself using this in the morning for a quick e-mail/Facebook/news check. It'd be tedious for working with documents, etc.

Tom, you know I mean no harm by this, but don't be afraid to talk us through a bit in the video walkthrough! :P

would love if this had a video in, so i could use it in the studio for shoots... instead of having a dedicated setup to preview shots coming off the camera, could walk around with this...maybe I can set something up wirelessly.... still waiting to see what apple offers.

where's the iSlate from apple? they will set some minimum requirements to other manufacturers to make things actually be usable for a tablet's purpose! and before all you guys start dissing me, I'm a PC. However , I do know how to appreciate apple's design and simplicity.

After using it hands on, the device needed to be calibrated but that said, MS needs to (or someone) devlope a more finger friendly interface for Win 7...

bdsams said,
After using it hands on, the device needed to be calibrated but that said, MS needs to (or someone) devlope a more finger friendly interface for Win 7...

Like Courier? Where's that? I wanna know! LOL It looked brilliant.

M_Lyons10 said,
Like Courier? Where's that? I wanna know! LOL It looked brilliant.

The Courier is probably, and this is just my guess, running or going to run a new version of WinCE and use Silverlight for the UI. There's a slate from this other company, forgot the name, m something, that does just this. Though I dunno if the UI is writen using Silverlight, but it's running on WinCE and uses the tegra 2 for full 1080p playback and all that.

Looks interesting but its all down to price. If its cheap it could be brilliant especially with a pen (aka old tablet style)

ZeroHour said,
Looks interesting but its all down to price. If its cheap it could be brilliant especially with a pen (aka old tablet style)

Well, I wouldn't say cheap, but reasonable would be good... But I still want the Courier UI...

@ZeroHour, this is a terrible idea. Pens? Go back to 2005 or Windows Mobile 6. Nobody wants pens anymore, we want mult-touch. Why would we want pens when we already have dumb tablets like that? We want capactive touch screens, not resistive touch screens.

Hold the phone man. Who doesn't want pens on a tablet/slate? You think this is going to be used just the same as a smartphone? People like to write still, not just type away on some touch keyboard. With the right UI you can write out notes and other stuff, even draw, on this as if it was paper.

Looks dirty and ugly :/, and I wouldn't be too happy just using Windows like that.
I think apple are going to bring out some good applications/GUI improvements with their tablet.

acnpt said,
Looks dirty and ugly :/, and I wouldn't be too happy just using Windows like that.
I think apple are going to bring out some good applications/GUI improvements with their tablet.

Well if you don't like that one, there are many others for you to choose from.

HP Slate is probably my favorite
http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/06/the-hp-slate/

If you don't like that one, here's a Dell
http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/07/dell-5-...-to-study-them/

And here's one running android on a tegra chip
http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/07/icds-te...ded-to-t-mobil/

The real problem I see is text input. Probably faster to use a touch keyboard on a phone than on something that large.

Yeah thats what I'm a bit worried about, maybe if they add a writing program where you could actually write something and it turns into text but I don't know how well that would work. Really it's the only thing keeping me from going nuts over these things.

StaticL said,
Yeah thats what I'm a bit worried about, maybe if they add a writing program where you could actually write something and it turns into text but I don't know how well that would work. Really it's the only thing keeping me from going nuts over these things.


I'm not sure if it's exactly what you're talking about but Windows 7 does have the tablet pc input panel and maths input panel in accessories :-)

StaticL said,
Yeah thats what I'm a bit worried about, maybe if they add a writing program where you could actually write something and it turns into text but I don't know how well that would work. Really it's the only thing keeping me from going nuts over these things.

Have you never seen hand writing recognition / transcribing? Microsoft have had this tech implemented for what, 10 years already?

protocol7 said,
I guess that Courier concept was just another tease after all.

Or it's still in the works... With that UI I would buy one up right away. That was really sharp.

It's still in the works from what I can tell. The big difference here is that it's not running normal Win7. Or it might not be running win7 at all. I'm fully conviced that the end goal for many of these slates will be to run WinCE (newer version ofc) with a UI built using Silverlight 4 with all the advantages of gpu acceleration.

kraized said,
Hmm, seems like W7 needs a new interface specifically designed for touch. Not an after thought/add-on.

You obviously haven't seen a touch Demo... Windows 7 was DESIGNED for touch... the start menu icons automatically separate when a touchscreen is plugged in, vertical menus get more space, the gestures work great... you guys should really try it out!

CrimsonRedMk said,
I'd like to see all of those touch features actually. Never knew any of that. Go back to that booth Neowin and get more video!

Yeah they demo'd some of it at the Windows 7 Developer launch events where we got Windows 7 Ultimate =)

vaximily said,
Yeah they demo'd some of it at the Windows 7 Developer launch events where we got Windows 7 Ultimate =)

They didn't demo any of that at the one I went to...

yup. i agree. w7 needs a multi-touch friendly ui that goes over the normal one. kinda like their media center ui. i own a hp tx2 tablet pc. i can tell you using touch in w7 is no fun.

M_Lyons10 said,
They didn't demo any of that at the one I went to...

Did you go to the one for Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7?

I did the morning track for Windows 7, I think it was the Developer one... IT Pro was in the afternoon if I remember correctly.

i really like that, i am seriously consdiering one of these tablet devices as a 'coffee table' pc..

nice

BGM said,
i really like that, i am seriously consdiering one of these tablet devices as a 'coffee table' pc..

nice

I agree. I have thought about this as well, but I think the OS needs a lot of work before I make that jump. Where is Courier? With that UI I would definitely take the plunge...

Looks "neat", and I would have a use for something like that.
I also think running Windows on that would get really tedious, really quickly.

virtorio said,
Looks "neat", and I would have a use for something like that.
I also think running Windows on that would get really tedious, really quickly.

Yeah, there needs to be a touch friendly version of Windows available, like what we saw on the Courier in order for something like this to make sense. I would never run a desktop version of Windows on a touch device. No thank you...

warwagon said,
Looks great for web browsing but I wouldn't want to read a book on that. For books i prefer e-ink.

I don't think the author meant to imply this would be used for e-books, just that it had a form-factor similar to an open book. Sounds like a great idea for coffee tables and things... I see these types of devices having a huge potential as control devices... send media to your TV, us IR & Bluetooth to control all of your AV components... touch screen will make a lot of things possible that were tedious before.

vaximily said,
I don't think the author meant to imply this would be used for e-books, just that it had a form-factor similar to an open book. Sounds like a great idea for coffee tables and things... I see these types of devices having a huge potential as control devices... send media to your TV, us IR & Bluetooth to control all of your AV components... touch screen will make a lot of things possible that were tedious before.

Steve Blamer sure did during his keynote

SB main focus was interactive books such as books with videos and pop quizz as well as vdieo/media streaming... Whats he ment to show u? Look this version has IE and u can brows the web on a keyboardless touchscreen laptop... He wa sonly showing off the new and coming features which may intrest people.. The FF was there and anyone who missed it has some issues