Can Windows Slates Be Cheap Enough to Compete With Alternatives?


Slates are all the rage and we’ve seen a few packing Windows 7 onboard, including this new model dubbed the Netbook Navigator. I’m not sure what a slate has to do with being a netbook, but it looks like a compelling device. Like other Windows slates, the Netbook Navigator is a netbook with no keyboard, making it a “less is more” type of device. More is definitely the case as the 3G-enabled model of the NN will reportedly cost $1,199. Yowza, that’s a dent in the wallet for what is essentially a netbook missing the keyboard. There will also be a model of the NN without 3G (and less storage), and that will retail for $799. That’s still a healthy price penalty for producing a netbook missing the keyboard.

This leads to the observation that the cost of Windows slates may not be competitive with alternatives. I suspect that we will see slates with ARM processors and a form of Linux for a lot less than these Windows slates. It’s worth noting that the Netbook Navigator web site mentions a cheaper model coming that will run Windows 7 Starter Edition. If I’m not mistaken Starter Edition lacks the advanced touch features of Windows 7. What’s a geek to do?


Kevin C. Tofel

After reading the comments here and thinking back to the original UMPCs we saw in 2006, I wonder if there’s another factor at play here. The Windows license surely contributes some of the price premium on these types of devices, but what about the rest of the components? For a good Windows experience I think you really need more / better hardware in general than on a lower-powered ARM-based device, i.e.: faster / bigger hard drive, more expensive CPU, additional / faster RAM, etc…

It could be that all of these higher quality / higher capacity components that Windows needs for a positive experience add up to and contributes to some of the non-competitive pricing in this segment. Just a thought… open for debate of course. ;)


I can buy an S10-3 tablet from Lenovo right now with a superior CPU, slightly better integrated graphics, a larger hard drive and Windows 7 Home Premium for $649. I realize it is a convertible rather than a slate, but does it really cost $150 to snap that keyboard off?


I don’t understand why you’re pinning the price on the cost of Windows instead of the cost of “shiny new tech” with touch/pen digitizer.


I have to agree, I don’t think this one can be laid at Microsoft/Windows feet. Even the base model is nearly a $500 premium from a comparably spec’d netbook. I can’t remember exactly what manufacturers pay to put a Windows license on their machines, but I thought it was in the neighborhood of $30-50.

Richard Chapman

I understand all Microsoft Windows 7 loaded slates will include a brick, so every new owner can slam it into their head in case they don’t feel abused enough. Personally I don’t think they’ll need it.


You would think that at least by not having a keyboard they wouldn’t put Windows Starter. This makes no sense when trying to sell a product with no keyboard. This would mean that the consumer would have to install Windows 7 to get inking to take advantage of the slate or tablet. For me I would need inking for my job. I do use my Viliv S5 with Tablet Edition and also use my Kohnjinsha SC3 when I know I will need to ink. Also use my netbook for other tasks.

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