It’s exactly 12-hours after the launch of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as I start to write this article. I’ve spent a number of hours hours researching and making notes on this unique product and have come to one main conclusion. Microsoft has a superbly engineered product in the Surface Pro 3 but it’s too early for mainstream 2-in-1 customers.
It’s starting to happen. Those promised Tegra2 tablets of 2009 and 2010 are starting to appear. We’ve seen the Interpad and the AC100 as firm launches and now it’s Pioneer Computers turn. They’ve just emailed information about their Dreambook ePad N7 which appears to be based on the Compal tablet we’ve seen around trade-shows this year.
With a capacitive screen it’s not going to trip itself up like the Huawei S7 although it remains to be seen if this is blessed with Google licensed software. Without Market, Maps, Gmail and sync it’s a no-go for many. Sideloading of applications helps but isn’t the ideal scenario.
$499 $AU seems to be a good price but it must be noted that this isn’t with 3G (a $AU99 extra) which, if the lack of GPS is also true, combines with the lack of webcam and [correction: webcam is a free option] potential lack of Google Android apps to make a serious list of issues.
We’ve got an email out to Pioneer about the Google applications, Android 2.2, GPS and the docking station but I guess we’ll have to wait for those Aussie’s to wake up on Friday morning to get the information. In the meantime we’ve added what we can into the product database and will be updating it as we get new information. Let us know what you think in the comments here or on the product page.
The core of a ‘smart’ device or consumer tablet/netbook is the software and despite its shortcomings, the iPhone OS is recognised as the market leader. Android isn’t far behind though and for some, the multitasking and ‘openness’ put it way into the lead. If you want the best Android experience out there, you’ve got to look slightly below the handheld tablet and smartbook category at the new high-end smartphones that are appearing. The Droid/Milestone, Nexus 1, HTC Desire and Xperia X10 are fast, fluid and a lot of fun. Only 10 days ago I bough an Xperia X10 and I’ve been writing about it on a sub-blog at XperiaX10.Carrypad.com Yesterday evening I posted the second part of my first impressions.
Overall it’s an impressive bit of kit with a fast browser, great daylight camera, enjoyable UI and of course, seamless access to Google applications and the thousands of Google Marketplace applications.
It’s a highly converged device and for anyone looking for the ultimate in web-capable smartphones, it’s up there with the best of them but I can’t help thinking that it would be even more enjoyable if it were simply a handheld tablet rather than a smartphone. On a 5 inch screen the experience would be way more useful/readable and the on screen keyboard would be much easier to type on. Finger-sized icons and menu items would take less effective screen space and there would be space for a battery that would last more than the 9-12hours that I get out of the X10 when I start using it like it should be.
I discussed the topic of convergence over at UMPCPortal and put the argument forward that I might be better off with something bigger and a separate phone but right now there isn’t much choice out there so the question is, do I keep the X10 or sell it and drop back to my trusty N82 while I wait?
Of course, that’s just me. I know that the majority of people out there just want one device if possible and if that you, take a closer look at the XperiaX10 blog because I’m continuing to test the device from every perspective. I’ll also be interested to hear from Droid/Milestone, Nexus One, Desire owners too. How do you feel about total convergence?
CeBIT is where many many Asian device designers will be looking for European customers and it’s totally expected that these unknown devices keep cropping up but I can’t help thinking that by the time these devices are put through final customer modifications, approved for all the local regultions and then put on the production line and distributed that ARM11 based devices are going to look very out of date. Personally i’m of the opinion that ARM11 is already out of date for a good quality web browsing experience.
We’ll try and get a round-up of all these new tablets together for you over the coming weeks but it looks like we’ll have to let CeBIT play fully out before we can start that job.