According to an official press release, a device based on the Linux-based prototype (video) unveiled by the HRD ministry could cost around $35 (Rs 1500). But that is still pretty steep, isn’t it? Well, the ministry sees the price “gradually dropping down to $20 and ultimately $10 a piece.”
Aimed at students, and developed by the country’s leading tech universities, the dirt cheap tablet features video conferencing functionality, Flash- and Java-enabled web browsing, a rich multimedia experience, and more. Very little is known about the hardware apart from the fact that it has 2GB RAM, Wi-Fi and one USB port.
But this might as well turn out to be a dud as development projects backed by the Indian government usually face a plethora of hurdles at various stages.
“This study will be two hours long and will take place on the Microsoft Redmond campus with a number of dates and times between Friday, July 16th and Wednesday, July 21,” read the now-deleted Facebook event's description. “In appreciation for your time, each participant will be offered a Microsoft gratuity item. If you are interested, please respond to the questions below to email@example.com with the subject line “iPad.”
The Facebook event surfaced just a day after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced plans to launch tablets and smartphones in the next few months. But why did the company delete the Facebook event? One explanation is that it does not want to come across as being awestruck by the iPad.
After Microsoft scrapped plans to release its dual-screen Courier and HP pulled the plug on its much hyped Windows 7-based Slate (you know, before the company went out and gobbled up Palm, putting them in a webOS state of mind), we wondered if we'd ever see Redmond's latest OS make a run at the tablet market. Wonder no more, says Steve Ballmer, who told 14,000 partners during his July 12 keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference that Windows 7 slates are forthcoming.
Not only are Windows 7 slates coming, says Ballmer, but in a big way. As the outspoken CEO tells it, Microsoft and several of its PC partners have plans to release Windows 7-based tablets in the coming months, including ones from Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sony.
These will ship in varying form factors, everything from ones with physical keyboards to touch only, from dockable tablets to slates with digital ink, and more, Ballmer says.
When exactly these slates will come to market is anyone's guess, but if everyone makes good on their plans, 2011 might go down as the year of the tablet. Everyone and their uncle has been promising to release a tablet at some point or another, with many aiming for late 2010.
Cisco surprised a good many people earlier this week when it announced plans to release a tablet of its own, but contrary to what you might think, the company's upcoming Cius tablet isn't just an iPad in Cisco trim.
"It's complementary to the iPad," said John Chambers, CEO, Cisco. "We do want to have an architectural play in consumer (but a tablet or netbook for the home) is where a number of our peers will lead."
According to Chambers, the Cius isn't a lame attempt at cashing in on the sudden rabid demand for tablets, but a product that has been in the making for the past 18 months.
Whereas the iPad is primarily an entertainment tool for the home user, Cisco says its Cius will target markets in technologically transitional stages, like education and healthcare. The Cius could, for example, foster collaboration between healthcare providers, patient, and insurance company and family to talk about different treatment options, Cisco says.
It's no secret that tablets are gearing up to become as popular as netbooks, but would you have guessed that the current and upcoming demand would push shipments of touchscreen displays up by 5,000 percent in 2010? First of all, that's not a typo, and secondly, that's the exact number market research firm iSuppli is predicting.
"The rising popularity of slates is setting off a conflagration in touch screen technology, firing up not only the long-dormant tablet computer market but also all-in-one PCs, desktops and monitors," said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitors and sustainability displays for iSuppli.
It's going to be a touchy-feely tech world in the coming years, iSuppli suggests. Global shipments of touchscreen tablets and tablet-like devices is expected to rise to 8.9 million units in 2010, up from only 176,000 in 2009. After than, touchscreen shipments will jump seven-fold by 2013 and reach 63.9 million units, iSuppli says.
While Microsoft's dominance in desktop computing is indubitable, its software has found few takers in the increasingly lucrative mobile and embedded device market. Just as it is planning to turn over a new leaf with its all new Windows Phone 7 operating system, it needs an embedded operating system that can wipe out whatever little recollection people might have of its Windows Embedded CE operating system.
Microsoft does have a successor to Windows CE, and it is called Windows Embedded Compact 7. The Redmond-based company is showcasing many tablets and slates running its latest embedded OS at Computex 2010 in Taipei. It has also released the public community technology preview (CTP) for Windows Embedded Compact 7, which is available online as a trial download.
Many companies are showcasing their upcoming tablets at Computex 2010. The event has shown that tablet makers are not adverse to their tablets or slates running a full featured version of Windows 7, with the recently announced MSI WindPad and ASUS Eee Pad being the most prominent examples. However, Windows 7 is only compatible with x86-based tablets and tablet makers have no choice but to opt for some other operating system – in most cases Android - for such devices.
On the other hand, Windows Embedded Compact 7 can also run on ARM-based devices. So a stellar embedded OS will only enhance Microsoft's chances of success in the tablet market.
Rumors of an ASUS tablet first surfaced during December last year and the Taiwan-based company wasted little time in confirming them. But the internal organs of the Eee Pad still remained a subject of speculation. Today, ASUS put all that speculation to rest when it unveiled the Eee Pad at Computex 2010.
“The ASUS Eee Pad EP121 offers two convenient modes of character input-an embedded virtual keyboard or an innovative hybrid keyboard/docking station design. All of this power is available in a personal computing device that delivers up to 10 hours of usage,” the company announced in a press release.
As for the 10-inch EP101TC, ASUS has opted for Windows Embedded Compact 7 and the Nvidia Tegra 2 platform. Not a lot is known about the EP101TC at this point in time. According to Engadget, ASUS expects the Eee Pad tablets to fit into the $399 to $499 price band. The company also told the popular tech blog that it will only begin shipping the tablet during the first quarter of 2011.
Following the acquisition of Palm last month, Hewlett Packard (HP) wasted no time in scrapping its much hyped Windows 7-based Slate project, sparking speculation that HP would putting its newly acquired webOS platform to good use in a tablet form factor. Well, we don't have to speculate anymore.
During HP's quarterly financial call, company CEO Mark Hurd has confirmed that his HP plans to release webOS devices "beyond smartphones into form factors such as slates and web-connected printers." And just like that, we can be excited about HP's tablet plans all over again.
Maybe even more so this time around. The general consensus has been that Windows 7 might not be the ideal OS for a tablet, as it wasn't designed for mobility. The same can't be said for webOS, which only stands to get better with the financial backing of an industry heavyweight like HP.
This is turning out to be a rough week for Microsoft tablets. First the Courier gets scrapped, leaving many to wonder what might have been of the dual-screen tablet, and now HP is abandoning its much hyped Slate, at least in its current form, according to TechCrunch.
HP hasn't yet made an official announcement, but TechCrunch feels pretty confident its "source who's been briefed on the matter" is right on the money. And really, we half expected something like this anyway. Earlier this week HP announced it had signed a definitive agreement to purchase Palm for $1.2 billion, a deal that brings Palm's webOS into HP's stable. HP was very blunt on where it goes from here, saying it plans on "doubling down on webOS," meaning we could very well be looking at a webOS-based tablet in the near future.
This makes perfect sense if, as TechCrunch's source says, HP isn't satisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet OS. If that's the primary reason, however, then it's a little surprising that HP waited this long to scrap the project. Prior to the cancellation, HP had been focused on drumming up excitement over the Slate, posting teaser video clips and talking about all the things the Slate could do, with a particular emphasis on the features Apple's iPad lacks (like Flash, USB, cameras, and expandable storage).