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Netbooks Might Be Key To Mainstream For Tablet PCs



gigabyte-touchnote-m1028-convertible-netbook-1Mobile World Congress 2009 wrapped up today, and buried deep within the myriad of phone related announcements lies  this little gem of a convertible tablet PC. Gigabyte, famous for their MIDs and UMPCs, announced an update to their M912 with the TouchNote M1028. It sports a 10″ screen in the classic netbook form factor but adds convertible tablet functionality with a swiveling touchscreen. The specs aren’t anything to write home about as it runs the now-standard Intel Atom N270 processor at 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive and Windows XP, as reported by


Why do I think netbooks might play a role in turning the tablet PC into a mainstream machine? Netbooks have taken the industry by storm and it seems like everyone but Apple is primed to release or have already released their own iteration of the low-cost device. This year’s CES was pretty much a dud for the convertible Tablet PC but fortunately, and something that caught us mostly off-guard, there was a unique netbook tablet PC from Asus in the form of the T91 and T101 sporting a swiveling 8.9″ and 10.1″ screen respectively.

Currently, companies releasing netbooks often get overlooked as the novelty of the device is wearing off and the standardization of hardware induces yawns across the blogosphere. OEMs have tried a variety of tricks to set their device apart, be it a lit up touchpad on the MSI WInd U120 we saw at CES, the Vivienne Tam edition of the HP Mini 1000, or the custom cases of Athena’s ArtPC, but these “features” are merely cosmetic and do not enhance functionality at all . With the introduction of Asus’ T91/T101 and Gigabyte’s new introduction, perhaps the pervasiveness of the netbook market will finally break the tablet PC into the mainstream.

Photo and Gigabyte TouchNote M1028 news Via iTech News Net



  1. GoodThings2Life

    02/19/2009 at 7:09 pm

    When you look at Star Trek Next Generation and see the crew carrying around small tablet-style touch-based pads, you can’t help but notice that they’re a great size and form factor. The 8-12″ slate form factor is great for a small portable device as evidenced by the alleged appeal of netbooks in the first place.

    Given a decent OS experience to go with it (Windows 7 is great on my 12″ tablet), I can only hope that netbooks will evolve into more tablet-based designs.

  2. Joe

    02/19/2009 at 9:57 pm

    The problem, is that the M912 at least is incredible overpriced. Hopefully the new one won’t be, but I doubt that.

    Also, the M912 also has major vectoring issues, so presumably so too will the 10″ model.

  3. Xavier

    02/19/2009 at 10:23 pm

    I think a bigger problem for Tablets gaining mainstream adoption is that relatively few people ever get to see one in person when evaluating notebooks. Think of it- walk into Best Buy and you’re lucky to see one tablet (tx2 from HP). Walk into other computer retailers/flagship stores and you’ll see zero tablets (Apple, Sony, Staples, Office Depot,etc.). Nothing wrong with paying a few bucks more if you want/need tablet functionality but a lot of PC users are completely unaware of the choice.

  4. Kenrick

    02/19/2009 at 11:01 pm

    Hmm, before there were Netbooks we had a great 10″ tablet PC – the TC1100.

  5. Estrelo

    02/20/2009 at 2:51 am

    Some quick notes from my experience with the M912M:
    Yes, it’s the standart netbook specs, apart from 2 things: the screen is LED, very bright and with a lower power usage, and the HDD is a 2.5 SATA drive. Makes a great difference in speed and upgradability.
    The hardware itself has nothing on an equivalent P1630 of course. Plastics are a bit crap, keyboard/charger/other bits are borrowed from the not so great EEE PC 901, and the touchscreen has no active digitizer, limiting it’s usability.
    That said, it costs 1/4 of the price of a equivalent UMPC, it has the form factor, size and weight of a UMPC, and runs Win 7 without a hitch (mine came with 2GB ram).
    Sure, it’s a downgrade for most people here, but it’s a valid choice if you want the tablet form factor on the cheap.

    (And before you say refurbished, remember that’s only an option for the US mostly)

  6. loyukfai

    02/20/2009 at 11:51 am

    I think what should be looked at is the price difference between a similarly configured non-Tablet model and the non-Tablet model.

    The moniker (netbook, low-end notebook, ULCPC, UMPC…) could be a bit more irrelevant.

    Then, there have to be some “reasons” for consumers to pay for that particular difference. (The said “reasons” themselves can be real, or constructed. Regardless, the consumers have to be made aware of them.)

    Once the price difference is smaller than the values consumers give to the “reasons”, people will flock to buy the Tablet model.

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