Why wait for a Windows 7 slate when you can get one now?

It’s great that Steve Ballmer is getting people fired up about Windows 7 slates and that Microsoft is promoting the concept at their Worldwide Partner Conference. A lot of people seem very excited at the prospect of a slate running Windows 7. Here’s an idea: if you’re excited about Windows 7 slates, why not buy one now?

For all of Ballmer’s bluster about being “hardcore” about Windows 7 slates, the fact is, we have Windows 7 slates now. You don’t have to wait for prototypes. You don’t have to wait to see what they’ll look like later this year. There are slates running Windows 7 right now. Such as…

Motion Computing J3500: So glad to see Motion Computing on the big list of companies scheduled to release Windows 7 slates later this year. Perhaps that means another model to keep their Motion J3500 company. This is their rugged, top-of-the-line model with pen + touch display. If you think the iPad is a toy, then consider this an industrial strength tool. Check out our full review and InkShow on this tough and powerful slate running Windows 7 Professional.

TabletKiosk: If ruggedness is not important and you just want a consumer-level notebook in slate form, then perhaps one of the slates from TabletKiosk will interest you. Their high-end model has a pen+touch, sunlight-readable 12″ display and runs Windows 7 Professional. Their line is a bit plain Jane, but their slates are backed by a broad line of accessories, from docks to expansion modules, that turn a TK slate into the core component of  a modular tablet system. If you need a slate tailored for specific needs, TabletKiosk caters to you.

Electrovaya Scribbler 4100: This brand, I admit, does not live up to its former reputation, but it remains a sentimental favorite for me because the Windows-based slate that brought me into Tablet PCs was an Electrovaya Scribbler. Back in the day, their slates were packed with battery power. My SC500 boasted 140Whrs and 10-12 hours of run time. Today, their 4100 is more advanced – faster, bigger display (12″) at the same weight, and pen+touch digitizer – but it packs a conventional battery rather than the Electrovaya super-polymer one. Nothing particularly outstanding about this one, but it’s a slate running Windows 7 Home Premium available now.

Archos 9: If you’ve clicked through on any of those options, you’ve noticed they’re pretty pricey. That, alas, has been one of the great drawbacks of the Tablet PC. For something lighter and cheaper, there’s the Archos 9 running Windows 7 Starter Edition. SE means it’s in the netbook-class of computing power, sporting an Intel Atom processor and 9″ touchscreen. Are you going to be tearing through the latest 3D PC games on this thing? No, but it’s a light and nimble Windows 7 slate cheaper than most iPads, which you can own right now. It’s even available through Best Buy (at least online).

Allegiance Technology Partners: Okay, so you know there are Windows 7 slates out there, but maybe you’re not ready to pull the trigger on one until you can try it first. Hey, we’ve known about that “won’t buy it ’til you try it” problem for years, and Allegiance Technology Partners has a solution. They have a demo program that lets you try a Tablet PC for 48 hours and currently they have several Windows 7 slates ready for you to try.

Sorry if all that sounds like a sales pitch, but I have been trying to sell people on the idea of tablets for years. While the current hype is great, it somewhat pains me to see all the excitement over Windows 7 slates of the future when there are slates running Windows 7 available right now being completely overlooked. It strikes me a bit like waiting for a breeder to deliver you a newborn puppy when there are plenty of perfectly fine canines in need of homes. If someone really wants a Windows 7 slate, there’s no need to wait. They’ve been around since Windows 7 was released.  Go ahead and get one now, just like I got my first slate more than five years ago and have been a proud tablet fanatic since.

19 Comments

  1. Slater

    07/12/2010 at 6:31 pm

    Having recently experienced the total awesomeness of pen + capacitive touch with a $1500 Lenovo X201t, I’m *almost* ready to take the plunge and replace my beloved SXGA+ Motion LE1700 with a $3000 J3500. I hate to lose the higher resolution, but touch + pen in OneNote is every bit as great as I hoped it would be (fast, intuitive panning & zooming provide reasonable compensation for the the diminutive 800 pixel dimension shared by the Lenovo & Motion offerings).

    If anybody else is looking to blow a huge wad of cash but wouldn’t mind hanging onto a few benjamins for themselves, there are a couple of Motion webinars being held this Thursday, and participants will apparently be given a $500 discount off the J3500. Check out Motion’s website or Twitter feed for promo info & link to webinar registration.

    As for the other slates mentioned – Wacom pen + resistive touch (e.g. the TabletKiosk Sahara’s DualTouch) certainly has its place, but Wacom pen + capacitive touch (e.g. the J3500) is a dream come true. Anybody remember which kind of touch the Electrovaya Scribbler is packing? I feel like there must be some reason it didn’t catch my eye the way the J3500 did…

    Reply

    • Slater

      07/12/2010 at 7:55 pm

      Couldn’t find the touch tech for the Scribbler, but I saw on the Electrovaya website that the display resolution is XGA (1024×768). That was the dealbreaker for me.

      Reply

  2. acerbic

    07/12/2010 at 7:04 pm

    The prices per features are simply stupid. If HP can sell all the components needed for a slate with combo Wacom / capacitive touch plus extra junk like keyboard, touchpad, swivel hinge etc. for $800 (Touchsmart tm2t), why the %#!! can’t anyone sell them without the extra junk for less than $2000?

    I think a few years ago an archeologist must have opened a tomb in Egypt that was protected by the most powerful curse ever. He was taking notes on a slate pc which absorbed all the curse…

    Reply

    • Slater

      07/12/2010 at 7:51 pm

      It’s a fair point, but when you use a tablet PC long enough, often enough, you come to really appreciate thoughtfully designed features. Little details can make a big difference.

      For example, the J3500 features a lot of assignable buttons & a D-Pad (which you can probably also reassign to perform different actions) on the screen bezel. The tm2t doesn’t have any tablet buttons, if I recall correctly (even in the convertible world, Lenovo still has 5 buttons on the bezel of X200-series tablets, though it inexplicably dropped the d-pad that that its previous models included).

      Sure, a few buttons shouldn’t be a $2000 upgrade, but thoughtful design & engineering does cost money (and Motion & Lenovo do a lot more than add buttons to make their tablets useful and resilient).

      Reply

    • Fleon

      07/12/2010 at 7:56 pm

      Well, you don’t really get what the consumer tablet vs the professional tablet offers. The LCD screen, for example. My x61 (professional tablet) is miles above any of the new consumer tablets as far as contrast, readability, viewing angle, and responsiveness. Sure, it’s $800 more, but there are huge benefits to someone who is going to be writing and staring at the screen for hours per day.

      However, I agree with you that the price isn’t quite as justified as it should be. There definitely should be a way to scrape off some of those dollars.

      Reply

      • acerbic

        07/12/2010 at 9:32 pm

        Huh? I certainly get the difference. Do you get that I don’t want or need a “professional” tablet? I want a consumer slate but with Wacom, which seems to be strictly forbidden. I would buy even one with a thoughtless design if the price were anywhere near down to earth. (What I don’t get is how TabletKiosk can be trying to sell plain resistive touch for over $2000 these days.)

        Reply

        • Brett Gilbertson

          07/13/2010 at 3:53 am

          I think they’re coming… not soon enough, but patience my friend.

          Reply

  3. TabletTeacher

    07/12/2010 at 7:47 pm

    I agree Acerbic…wow that hurt just to type.
    But, you bash Apple for their prices…look at the tablets above. That is the same issue.

    They should be able to produce a tablet with basic features and Wacom. What is preventing this from becoming a reality?

    Reply

    • Osiris

      07/13/2010 at 3:35 am

      I would suggest the uncertain demand and still high prices to produce their screens.

      In any case this is all irrelevant, the Win7 tablets will be targeted at consumers so it will be piss weak specs and crap battery life. Same old crap rehashed.

      Show me WinCE or a WinPhone7 tablet or just rack off back to the dark ages you’ve crawled up from MS.

      Reply

  4. John in Norway

    07/13/2010 at 2:39 am

    So, you can buy a slate with Windows 7 in the US. What about the rest of the world (apart from the Archos which is really just a toy)?

    Reply

    • Sumocat

      07/13/2010 at 5:44 am

      Electrovaya is in Canada. Not my fault you have blazing wireless speed and no Windows 7 slates to enjoy with it. :)

      Reply

      • John in Norway

        07/13/2010 at 11:52 am

        Isn’t Canada one of the United States states? :)

        Reply

  5. Brett Gilbertson

    07/13/2010 at 4:14 am

    With you all the way Sumocat. Had a play with the touch + pen J3500 yesterday and it is awesome. Not quite as bright as the Gorilla Glass model which we had too, but well and truly good enough for the extra functionality for me.

    They are out of reach for most consumers (or for those who want something simple). Fine for businesses and people who can afford them, but in the continued abscence of good marketing from the big players, price is still the driving factor for widespread adoption of Tablets.

    Apple have a consumer price on a quality (looking) slate, no one has matched that yet.

    There is also the Tablet Kiosk eo a7330D which has both digitizer and touch for $1495. Probably still expensive for many but I have been quite impressed with it’s rugged brother the Tuff Tab…

    Reply

  6. Carl Andersen

    07/13/2010 at 7:47 am

    Why wait? The weight, of course – the tablet options in this article each weigh 3-5 lbs. except for the Archos 9, which I find just a little too small for easy use.

    When someone makes an 11.6″ light-weight Windows7 tablet, I’ll probably buy it.

    Reply

    • Elee

      11/04/2010 at 12:16 am

      Too bad NEC didn’t stick in the tablet space. Their first outing with Versa Pad slate Windows TabletPC showed real promise.

      Reply

  7. GMA

    07/13/2010 at 8:19 am

    Or my TC1100 when I can find the time to format the drive and get it on eBay. People are still buying these right?

    Reply

  8. Steve

    07/13/2010 at 4:15 pm

    • JM

      07/14/2010 at 11:35 am

      I don’t think this includes PEN/STYLUS input, does it?

      Reply

      • acerbic

        07/14/2010 at 11:56 am

        Only with a capacitive sausage/crayon stylus like Pogo. There’s no digitizer.

        Reply

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