Cheap Google Android powered tablets appear to be a dime a dozen in China these days, even if they’re not all that common in the US and Europe yet. But what about cheap Windows 7 powered tablets? It looks like China is getting its fair share of those as well. One of the latest is a rather attractive 10 inch model with a 1366 x 768 pixel display and a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor.

What makes this tablet from Haina Digital attractive is the reasonable $370 price tag. Instead of paying a premium price for a tablet that’s basically a netbook without a keyboard, it looks like this tablet will sell for a netbook-like price.

Not only is this tablet significantly cheaper than, say, the Apple iPad, but it also features Ethernet, VGA, and USB functionality. On the other hand, it’s running an operating system that’s really designed for use with a keyboard and mouse rather than fingertip input. On the third hand (you have one of those, right?) you can use those USB ports to plug in a mouse and keyboard if you really want to.

via Shanzai.com

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9 replies on “10 inch Windows 7 tablet hits China for under $400”

  1. Considering the price of most PC tablets, even based on netbook hardware, this isn’t too bad.

    Tablets just suffer if there is a noticeable lag in performance and netbook hardware is usually not sufficient to avoid that lag.

    While resistive is more accurate than capacitive, while making it easier to use a stylus, and thus a better choice for a Windows OS.

  2. “…it’s running an operating system that’s really designed for use with a keyboard and mouse rather than fingertip input.”

    No, not really, it’s running Windows 7 which is really designed to be used whichever way you prefer; be it mouse, finger, stylus, trackpad, trackbutton, voice command, etc., Windows 7 could do with some improvement, sure (as could ALL of the current tablet operating systems), but it works just fine for fingers on touchscreen tablets without requiring a bag full of USB peripherals. If you’re ham-fisted or sausage-fingered or just find the links or buttons too small – then adjust them, that’s what the Control Panel is for. Don’t complain about leg room until you’ve bothered adjusting your seat.

    1. Sorry but Windows 7 is still clearly a keyboard and mouse optimized OS.  It’s still built upon the traditional Windows interface and there are no alternatives for things like Ctrl+Alt+Delete if the system crashes.  Let alone on the smaller than 12″ systems, even customization doesn’t allow you to fix all the short comings.

      It’s also why there are still efforts to develop 3rd party solutions to provide a better touch only interface for Windows 7.  Even though most only provide a patch solution that doesn’t change the core nature of the OS.

      Besides, one of the points of using Windows over other operating systems is being able to use it as is out of the box and extensive customizing by every user kinda defeats the purpose for most people.

      So we’re still waiting on Windows 8 to see if MS can finally provide a proper touch optimized release.

      1. No need to apologize, Windows has been designed for touch input since Windows XP whether or not you or I find its deployment optimal for our different uses. That it maintains compatibility with trackpad/mouse & keyboard navigation is hardly surprising given that it’s designed not only for multiple devices (tablets, convertibles, laptops, & desktops) but to function as a mobile desktop-style system running full function and legacy programmes as well – hence it also maintaining deign similarity with previous versions (Ford would hardly start installing the steering wheel on the right-hand side of their American models overnight either). Apple has chosen a different route  by choosing (so far) not to redesign Mac for touch input but to delegate that functionality to their phone operating system instead. These are 2 different approaches and both have benefits and pitfalls. Meanwhile Google has a clean slate (pun intended); not having a long-standing user-base (unlike Mac & Windows) whose users “expect” their OS interface to look and act a certain way. Could Windows be better at what it does – abso-bloody-lutely it could (the same goes for all OS’) but you can’t say it was not designed for touch input. Why there are 3rd party interface programmes being designed for Windows is because the Windows interface can be customized and people are different (look how many user styles are available on sites like DeviantArt offering mere cosmetic changes). The operating system core has nothing to do with it. I agree that the lack of quickly accessible Ctrl+Alt+Delete, Esc, & other hot-key key features, among other shortcomings, is annoying (though if the system has already crashed then the power button is probably the best option anyhow – with any device) and I, too, hope Windows 8 addresses this. Apple’s one-size-fits-all approach works for some, and indeed customizing anything may defeat the purpose from their user’s point of view but Windows (or Android) users can choose a 12″ model if a 10″ is too cluttered for them (9″ is too small for me but not for some, others prefer 12″+) and changing font sizes is hardly “extensive customization” any more than it is to adjust the colour scheme to suit one’s taste. It’s far from a perfect system and, yes, hopefully Windows 8 will provide us with a better UI.

        1. No, Windows really is not optimized for touch interface. Overlays and utilities do not make a OS touch optimized.  

          Never mind that Windows 8 is clearly stated by MS to be the first version of Windows that will have an actual touch optimized interface.

          Side by side comparisons to an OS actually optimized for touch only interface clearly shows the difference.

          Also let’s clear up some facts as XP was not designed with touch features.  It was only the special Tablet PC edition of XP that had those enhancements added, emphasis on added as it being much like the 3rd party solutions mentioned and not really integrated into the OS, and like Windows 7 it still was only augmented functionality and not true optimization.  

          The OS has to be optimized throughout to be considered actually made for a usage model.  Examples like what options are available to deal with crashes and other system issues clearly show the limitations of a touch only interface with Windows.  

          These aren’t just annoyance but actual limitations that would be critical if such issues occurred and you had no mouse and keyboard to fix the problem and let’s not even pretend Windows never crashes.

          The clicks and taps are also primarily handled by Windows as mouse clicks as well, and requires much more precision than touch optimized operating systems.

          Even with Windows 8 many programs will still have to be optimized as well to support a touch only interface.

          Your apparently confusing compromised solutions with the difference of native optimizations.

          Windows isn’t the only reason why PC Tablets never succeeded in the market but it was a significant percentage of reasons.  Prior to the tablet pc edition of XP there wasn’t any touch support besides digitizer pen input and even now the digitizer pen is better than relying on the inaccurate capacitive touch common now, which only makes smaller screens even more problematic.

          The number of issues that shows the limitations of Windows in touch only usage is quite numerous and is almost ridiculous to have to list them all.

          Like how Flash on the web is mostly optimized for interaction with a mouse rather than a touch screen. Or how some sites will pop up a message that is basically a image set to a specific size that defies any customization adjustments.  Or how legacy support emphasis keyboard and mouse optimized interface. Or how Windows doesn’t auto scale well and often requires extensive customizations, which in turn aren’t always optimal for every user type. Among other examples…

          Suffice it to say you may be perfectly fine with the limited functionality of Windows within the confines of a touch only device, you may even like it, but fact remains that Windows up till now was never originally designed for a touch only interface and work arounds are inherently limited and not true solutions.

          Windows 8 is the first real attempt by MS to get a truly touch optimized interface working and while it’s still questionable as to whether they will fully succeed but if it does then it will be the first version of Windows to really offer the best of both worlds.  Since it will still support traditional interface as well.

          1. Well, the few vaguely salient points you make appear to be rephrasing of my original points, which were that: Windows 7 is designed for touch input, though it could be deisgned better (the original posting claimed it wasn’t designed for touch input – not that it wasn’t designed to his liking) and that Windows has had touch input capabilities for tablet PC’s since the days of XP. You also seem to be confusing Microsoft with a “3rd party” though, implying that their addition of features to their own operating system somehow makes such features “3rd party add-ons”, that the process of adding features to an operating system somehow doesn’t make the additions part of the operating system (indeed – addition is the only way to build anything, from skyscrapers to software, and all operating systems have things added, integrated, into them in the form of updates on a regular basis). You also seem to imply that Windows Explorer is some kind of “3rd-party overlay” – it isn’t, it’s the Windows OS’ default GUI.

            You throw the word optimization about a bit (such as in the phrase “true optimization”) as though it’s a quantitative, rather than qualitative, term. It’s just a subjective word which means “to make things more efficient” yet you use this buzzword as if it were a benchmark. Quoting Balmer as saying they intend to make Windows 8’s touch capabilities “more efficient” than 7’s only proves Microsoft isn’t brain dead. I should hope they wouldn’t want to make it worse, and that they wouldn’t say so in a press release even if they wanted to.

            You say 7’s touch capabilities don’t work well (for you) because the OS treats it as mouse-clicks and then you complain that you can’t use web-based Flash efficiently because it responds to mouse-clicks (?). You blame Windows 7 for poor 3rd-party web-based Flash and website design (as viewed on your tablet) and I hate bad web design too, but it’s nothing to do with Microsoft, it’s the website designer who is to blame. Every few years we have this problem as the average monitor resolution changes (traditionally, increasing) and web designers in general have been very slack to adjust for the increasingly common lower, and atypical, screen resolutions of netbooks and tablet PC’s. E-mail the web designers of the sites you frequent most (there’s often a link at the foot of the page) and ask them to get their stuff in order. More and more sites have (less-than-ideal) “m.” mobile versions of themselves available each day in the meantime, and with the majority of websites requiring overhauls to take advantage of HTML5 we will hopefully see better treatment for all device resolutions into the bargain.

            You mention that tablet PC’s “never succeeded in the market” which is (almost verbatim) an opinion which a lot of Apple fans seem to share. In fact, tablet PC’s were very successful in their market (which was originally in businesses – not in common homes) and it is only recently that better miniaturisation techniques and lower hardware costs (as well as competition) have seen their market appeal widen to include the domestic market. This is hardly surprising as the IBM PC itself was also a very successful device (likewise, in the workplace – it’s market) for a long time before they became commonplace in homes. Indeed the same can be said of the pocket PC/smartphone form factor.

            You also mention not liking the relative innaccuracy of capacitive touchscreens and I feel the same way. This is, of course, a hardware preference rather than a software problem and I prefer (and use) resistive touchscreen models (though others hate resistive displays and prefer capacitive – horses for courses).

            You say that comparing one operating system to another only serves to highlight the differences between them – that would be precisely why I drew such a comparison. I will clarify, however, that the point to which I was alluding was that many people say “touch optimized” when they mean “more in the style of iOS or Android devices” and that comparing Windows 7 to these OS’ is unfair to all platforms involved since they are phone OS’ (like Microsoft’s own long-standing dedicated touchscreen mobile OS; Windows Mobile/Windows Phone) – not full-featured mobile desktop OS’. The great (and continuing) success of Windows Tablet PC’s (& the Windows operating system itself) in the business sector over the years has dictated the unfortunate compromises to which we are referring but we all expect Microsoft (as with any software company) to continue to fine-tune their wares. Nevertheless, as I originally said, Windows 7 does have touch input capabilities and it is usable, and adjustable, without requiring any “extensive” customization. It may well be that things as mindlessly simple as creating desktop shortcuts to your most used programmes & tools, or likewise pinning such shortcuts to the start menu or taskbar, or creating a custom toolbar near the system tray are beyond the capabilities of some people but most Windows users have been customizing their machines like this for years – it’s the “personal” part of “personal computer” – and adjusting font sizes to suit the individual is just as easy. And I have never pretended that ANY operating system is immune to system crashes (goodness knows from whence you got the impression I did) but if your system is crashing on a regular basis then you should do a scan or a system restore or system repair from your recovery disc or return it to the manufacturer as it sounds like your system is corrupted in some way. Or it maybe faulty 3rd party software to blame. I’ve found 7 to be an extremely stable system and only experience crashes when I’m testing alpha & beta stage software (when one pretty much expects crashes).

            Hopefully, Windows 8 will be the “best of both worlds” though I am worried by the Windows Phone 7 style overlay they are using on top of the Windows Explorer GUI in the demo video and assume that, since Windows 8 promises ARM-based CPU compatibility, there will be a form of Windows 8 “Tablet Edition” for these devices which uses that overlay as the default GUI instead of running it atop Explorer while keeping a more traditional style of shell for the more powerful convertible & laptop devices. From what I see of the apparent return of the old XP Tablet Edition split on-screen “thumb” keyboard and the new large buttoned Office 2007-style ribbon being tested for Explorer (in place of the toolbar)I am encouraged Iammenencouraged.nneneneneenenennneneeencouragedencouraged.

          2. Again, Windows 7 is not designed for touch interface. Saying so because you are fine with the compromises doesn’t change the facts to support your contention of it being otherwise. Windows 7 only has touch feature utilities included but the OS itself is not optimized for touch only interface. 

            Throughout the Windows UI the design and interaction are intended for how you would use a keyboard and mouse.

            So up to Windows 7 those utilities really aren’t all that different from those 3rd party solutions other than MS provides them now by default and the 3rd party utilities are sometimes better but still nothing makes Windows as fluently easy to use with a touch only interface as an OS made from the ground up for touch only use.

            It’s why they specifically state Windows 8 is the first touch optimized version!!!

            Windows is designed from the ground up for keyboard and mouse, has been since its inception and not till Windows 8 did they ever seriously consider changing it.

            Calling Windows 7 made for touch screen is about as silly as saying Android and iOS were made for keyboard and mouse.  Both can work with the others interface but they are clearly not optimized to do so.

            Btw, comparison is completely fair because we’re comparing the UI and not the capabilities of the OS.  So it doesn’t matter that Android and iOS are made for Smart Phones, it would still be the same differences if we had any proper examples of a desktop OS optimized for touch only interface, like some of the touch optimized versions of linux they are still working on.

            What you call made for, is really just added-on utilities that keep Windows from being completely crippled with a touch only interface.  Much like the 3rd Party solutions, these features just augment the interface to allow touch interface to work and/or add touch features on top but invariably most features are still being treated as if you were using a mouse and keyboard.

            Even the multi-touch features are derived mostly from touch pad development, which in turn is mainly an expansion of mouse functionality, rather than native touch screen development for Windows.

            Never mind most programs are also optimized for keyboard and mouse use for Windows.

            Prior to Windows 7 touch was even more limited to single touch and as pointed out you had to get the Tablet PC version of XP to even have those features.

            There’s a world of difference between being made for a function and a compromised solution!  The compromise can work just fine but the OS optimized for that function will always be better.

            Previous reality aside, we can agree on hoping Windows 8 succeeds.

            MS is reducing its size/bloat a bit, much like how they reduced Windows 7 from Vista.  So it should run better on more minimal hardware.  While it will also auto configure itself for the hardware it is being installed on.  So for example it will default to the touch optimized interface when installed on a tablet but default to traditional Windows interface when installed on a regular PC.

            Though this may mean less legacy support, possibly relying on virtualization to handle more of it like Windows 7’s XP mode.

            It would also be nice if they can follow Apple’s lead and either put it on a USB and/or offer the install over the Internet.

            Overall though, I think we may mostly just have to worry about how well Windows 8 will perform on ARM.  But higher performance on less powerful hardware should at least make products like the tablet in this article more appealing.

  3. It is resistive.

    original text:
    电阻多点触摸屏,也能双手拉大、缩小图片
    translation:
    the mufti-touch resistive screen also support two finger zoom-in and zoom-out

  4. Any idea if it’s a resistive or capacitive screen? Google translate yields the following which seems to imply resistive but it isn’t exactly clear:

    “1366×768 screen used for the 10-inch LCD screen, screen to document resistance (resistance type). However, to support multi-touch, but also, and that touch (capacitive) similar. From a cost point of view, with more resistive touch screen, single point of resistance than the higher cost of the screen.”

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