While Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the Windows 7 tablets are coming… a lot of folks are starting to notice that some are already here. Heck, some Windows tablets have been around for 10 years, but those tend to be machines with built-in keyboards and high price tags. But a number of PC vendors in Asia have been pumping out Windows 7 tablets with an iPad-like look and feel for months. We just haven’t seen very many in the US yet.

Digitimes reports that Taiwanese PC vendors are focusing their efforts on tablets with ARM-based processors running Google Android. But we should see some machines with Windows 7 and Intel Atom processors coming from device makers “in small volumes to maintain their relationships with Intel and Microsoft , and also to gauge market demand.”

Basically, ARM chips cost less, use less energy, and generate less heat. But they don’t run Windows.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese PC builder Pegatron is showing off a new 11.6 inch tablet running Windows 7. It’s just a prototype at the moment, but the MasterPad features a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, a 1366 x 768 pixel display, 2 USB ports, a 1.3MP webcam, a mini-HDMI port, 3G and WiFI connectivity, and a solid state disk. It weighs just under 2.2 pounds and should be able to run 5 hours on a charge.

Engadget reports that the tablet has an IPS display — which is the same type of screen used on the Apple iPad, known for allowing wide viewing angles.

As far as Windows tablets go, the Pegatron MasterPad looks pretty nice — although I suspect that if it’s sold in the US it will likely be rebadged and sold under a bigger brand name. Oh yeah… and the thing isn’t limited to running Windows 7. The company is also working on an Android version.

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8 replies on “Masterpad tablet runs Windows 7, has an IPS display”

  1. > Basically, ARM chips cost less, use less energy, and generate less heat. But they don’t run Windows.

    That’s a huge plus on all four points.

  2. Hmmm…another version of the Poineer Dreampad/EXOPC/WeTab. I’m still going for the EXOPC!

  3. I guess for a 11.6″ device 2.2 lbs isn’t too bad. But with a tablet every ounce counts. It is one thing to desire a note/netbook to be light weight, but you don’t hold those in yoru hand for 25 to 45 minutes at a stretch. With a tablet, I don’t care how big or what features it has, the damn thing needs to be =/> 1.2 lbs.

    The battle for tablet ‘marketshare/mindshare’ will be balancing ergonomics against features. Anyone making a tablet for consumers (not doctors, factory worksers, shipping clerks, etc) needs to make the device to put a hard ceiling of 1.3 lbs on the device.

    These device makers need to crack open the book “International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors, Volume 1” look through teh index for how much and for how long a human hand can grip something.

  4. Brad – Check your caffeine level – you might be running low. . .

    “Basically, ARM chips cost less, use less heat, and consumer less energy.”
    “Basically, ARM chips cost less, consume less energy and generate less heat.”

  5. It seems like Microsoft’s innovations are just riding on the coattails of others. For such a large and intelligent organization, what would it take for Ballmer to learn how to disrupt themselves to be more innovative?


  6. As mentioned elsewhere, the Motion Computing LE1700 has had an 12.1 inch 1400×1050 IPS display for years now. It also had an active digitizer, runs Windows 7, gets better battery life, and has lots of extra accessories available.

    For years and years I’ve been an open, active supporter of Linux on ARM-based devices. I’ll be in the camp of the most excited if ARM really does make a visible break through with tablets. However, the driver support for the hardware remains as asleep-at-the-wheel as it’s ever been. At this point, with non-“Z series” Intel Atom netbooks (the Z series garbage has the same driver problems that ARM has because of Intel GPU licensing) hitting 6-10 hours on battery life and having great driver support on all relevant platforms, I’d be shocked if THE slate form factor to emerge from all of this “tablet” ado isn’t an Intel Atom slate packed with a dense, 6-cell battery and loaded up with MeeGo or Windows 7 and sold for a few hundred bucks. ARM is terrifying cheap and efficient, but Atom is surprisingly affordable and conservative. The only thing that can derail Atom at this point is better driver availability on ARM, which I think is why consortia have been recently announced and formed.

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