21 Comments

Summary:

Imagine a mad scientist attempting to breed iPads with Windows netbooks. What devious devices could possibly come from such experimenting? How about a slate with looks from Cupertino but the brains and features from Redmond. “It’s alive. It’s ALIVE!”

exopc-slate-web

Does anybody else remember those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials? You know, the ones: “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter! You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!” Well, even if you never saw them, you probably get the idea. And if not, ExoPC is here with a modern day example of what happens when you meld an iPad with a Windows netbook. Yes, it’s an 8.9″ multi-touch slate complete with a black bezel to rest your thumbs.

Engadget caught the specs on this $599 tablet: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional with a custom UI, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB SSD, Wi-Fi, optional 3G, Bluetooth, three USB ports, 1.3 megapixel webcam and four hours on a single battery charge. Yup, there’s definitely a netbook hiding in there. The product page focuses solely on that custom interface and points out support for Adobe’s Flash not once, but twice. Think they’re trying to make a statement?

Unlike some of the netbook-based slates, ExoPC’s wise choice of the Windows 7 Professional Edition means that there’s native support for inking. Why companies overlook this and go with Windows 7 Starter Edition — and no native ink support — on touchscreen netbooks is beyond me. It’s like selling a sports car that comes with only three wheels! Although the ExoPC product doesn’t specify, I suspect that the display is resistive, and not capacitive touch, however. And that diminishes the overall inking experience, unless there’s some excellent palm rejection software included. There’s also no mention of the device weight, but with dimensions of 25 x 16.8 x 2.1 centimeters, I’d say we’re looking at or under two pounds.

 

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  1. What makes you think this looks like the iPad as opposed to the HP slate which was announced first? While we’re at it, why haven’t you added a post claiming that Apple got the idea for the iPad from HP’s slate?

    1. “What makes you think this looks like the iPad” – because it does. ;)

      I can’t claim that “Apple got the idea for the iPad from HP’s slate” because I don’t know that it’s true.

      1. And yet you can claim that ExoPC got their inspiration from the iPad (and managed to bring a product to market within a week no less)?

        I also find it interesting that you think a device with a 16:10 screen looks like a device with a 4:3 screen. One’

        It’s articles like this that make me glad I use an adblocker.

      2. Jake, I applaud your passion for all things Microsoft. I truly and sincerely do. But why does every post about Microsoft and some other product bring out defensive comments from you?

        If I were saying that an iPad was better than a Windows netbook, notebook or what-have-you, I could relate to the defense. But that’s not what I’ve posted.

        I’m not claiming that ExoPC got inspiration from the iPad, I’m saying that I see a similar looking device. If you don’t, that’s fine. Nor am I saying anything at all about how quickly they’re bringing a product to market, although you are.

        Again, I encourage you and all readers to defend the platform that works best for you. I’d never say you’re wrong in that case. But let’s defend the right arguments, not what you’re reading into, ‘k?

        And just a passing note. I’m far more inclined to take opposing viewpoints seriously when they’re not defensive and attacking. I say that because your last statement, Jake, adds nothing of value to the conversation nor to even your own argument. Use an ad blocker or don’t read the site – that’s your prerogative. But to toss around insults willy-nilly is pointless and honestly, I expect more from this community.

        Let’s have a good discussion when the post merits it — not an elementary school fight when there isn’t much of an argument to be had in the first place.

      3. I’m not sure what insults or defensiveness you’re referring to Kevin but I can honestly say that I think the comparison you made between this device and the iPad is either intellectual laziness or another attempt to generate page hits by mentioning the iPad. Either way, you do yourself a disservice by making such silly comparisons.

        Is every large-screened, keyboard-less device to be compared to the iPad from now on? Does it do the people at ExoPC any favours to have constant reminders of a completely different category of device appear in the same sentence every time their product is mentioned? Somehow I doubt it.

        Maybe this is just a trick of your trade that I should ignore but if you want to report on this device then why not do it properly rather than resorting to the same tricks that Gizmodo and Engadget have to resort to get people to come to your site?

      4. You’re right Jake. I’ve cleaned my glasses and it looks nothing at all like the iPad from the only pictures we’ve seen. Thanks for setting me straight.

  2. I realize that this may be the wrong forum to bring this up, but it’s been four years since Project Origami was announced – if the future was really in full-OS handhelds, shouldn’t we have seen some significant consumer movement in that direction by now? I think that tablets built on mobile OS platforms are likely to provide a much better user experience on an all-touch device, and I expect that the iPad and the upcoming Android tablets will provide some significant proof of that idea in the coming year.

    1. Excellent point. There will always be folks that want a full OS on a handheld, but neither currently available products nor sales numbers over the past four years have indicated that the majority prefer that configuration.

  3. What you guys think of Nokia claims that the N900 is a small computer? Can the N900 be a mini Tablet? :)

    1. Kevin C. Tofel HG Monday, February 1, 2010

      I don’t think it’s just Nokia that’s claiming that, HG. I’d make the same claim and everyone else I’ve spoken with that has used an N900 has too. It’s more a traditional computer IMO than a smartphone. It’s like carrying around a handheld device that runs and behaves like a full Linux notebook with some limitations — only smaller. Let’s put this way: how many smartphones do you know of that come with a native Terminal app? ;)

      1. Terminal on a phone, somehow that’s scary. :)

  4. Hate to say it but this is more along the lines of what I expected from Apple and it’s iPad. Can’t find anywhere that mentions if this is LCD or LED backlighting. I’d have to assume that 4 hours battery life argues against LED. Going to have to take a serious further look.

  5. Eww, $600.

    For <$250 worth of a hardware that sure is a steep price…

  6. Jean-Baptiste Friday, February 5, 2010

    Hello,
    Here at ExoPC we appreciate reading what is said about our product all over the web.

    The iPad with iPhone OS is a great machine. Windows 7 is great too. Both of them was not really made for this kind of form factor, even if one of them was created for touch screen only.

    Our opinion: Windows 7 is not a touch screen oriented OS,
    exactly as MSDOS was not a mouse oriented OS.
    So? We can have full power in a small form factor but cannot use it without a mouse, a trackpad, or other. Something must be added over Windows, as Windows was added over DOS.

    Something robust, but light from a CPU point of view. This is the purpose of the ExoPC UI Layer.

    The ExoPC UI Layer is made to be used with fingers only on a 8 to 12 inchs screen. It is open and add multi-touch capabilities to any web content. I mean anyone who can create web content can create multi-touch apps for the ExoPC.

    We (at ExoPC) are a privately held company. We don’t want to eat Apple. We don’t want to eat HP. We just want to innovate and to add one choice in the game.

    We will publish a video soon – it will give a better idea of what an ExoPC is.

    Thanks you!
    Jean-Baptiste – ExoPC

    1. Jean-Baptiste, thanks for joining the conversation and sharing more about the product! I completely understand your point about Windows 7 as a base and building a custom UI for it. We saw the same with Microsoft’s Origami Experience, which was a similar approach. Had ExoPC given any thought to using an ARM platform and some other operating system with custom GUI? Thanks!

    2. Jean-Baptiste, can you please clarify if the touch screen is resistive or capacitive? I can’t frankly imagine using multi-touch on a resistive screen.

  7. Wow…resistive touch screen would be a HUGE mistake. If the iPhone has taught me anything, it’s that capacitive touch makes a big difference when navigating tiny buttons and lists. This is a must for any computer running an ordinary OS that isn’t optimized for touch. (I’ve used XP Tablet Edition on a resistive screen, and know of what I speak.)

  8. Just watched a film of the ExoPC, and I have to admit, the resistive touchscreen looks surprisingly responsive. Perhaps I was wrong!

  9. Ancient thread, but just ran across this and wanted to say kudos to ExpPC for making a very cool device.

    Dead on with the comment that W7 is not a touch OS. This is MSFT’s huge failing IMO. Time and again they are trying to shoehorn Windows onto other form factors without modifying the user experience (UX) via major transformation of the user interface (UI) and without creating a supporting ecosystem (streamlined software distribution, content store, UPDATED VERSIONS OF OFFICE, etc)

    This is what really hurt the Tablet PC, Origami, and what hamstrings UMPCs today.

    @Jake… You’ve got a rough way of making your point, but personally, I do see what you’re saying. It is very frustrating how the media insists on allowing Apple to pull revisionist history time and again. They surely refine and popularize categories well, but from here forward, expect that anything that looks like a slate is now going to have bylines comparing them to the iPad. The media excuse will be this is because of the power and reach of Apples message (that they are category defining), of course the media buying into this makes it so.

    The iPad looks exactly like the original Compaq/HP Slate (the 1000 was it?) But that is now forgetten by history. Every prior slate formfactor device now never existed much like the Sony keyboard design is now the “Macbook keyboard” and Sony is often said to have a “Mac like keyboard”

    As a tech pro and technology advisor, I spend a lot of my day unraveling the misinformation and skewed perspective presented by the media, so I guess its good for business :)

    To be fair, the nature of the media is to be sensational and, as I said, Apple created headlines so they help them create more headlines which means they create headlines and so the machine feeds itself.

  10. Update: 11.6” screen, should be on US and Canada shelves within the next 40 days!

    http://www.youtube.com/user/EXOPCTV

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