updated 01:25 pm EST, Mon December 13, 2010
MSI vows tablets at CES, says Oak Trail no help
MSI in a talk on Monday promised to more formally introduce its WindPad tablets at this year's CES but cautioned that Intel might not play the biggest role. Although Intel is placing most of its faith on the Oak Trail Atom platform, North American Sales Director Andy Tung said to Engadget that the battery life and speed increases were "not extremely significant" compared to existing designs. The WindPad 100 was being improved to use Oak Trail but would keep the 10-inch, 1024x600 touchscreen, an accelerometer, mini HDMI and USB connectors as well as an SD card slot.
The ARM-based Android tablet, earlier named the WindPad 110, should have some technical advantages over the Windows model, Tung said. It's still slated to use NVIDIA's heavily delayed dual-core Tegra 2 but will have a higher-resolution 1280x800 screen and should be both thinner and more rugged than its Intel-based counterpart. The WindPad would use Android 3.0 if Google's tablet-friendly OS was ready in February or March, but MSI was willing to step back and use Android 2.3 to get the device out on time.
MSI should provide more details at its pre-CES keynote on January 4.
The releases reflect a delay for MSI's tablet plans, which had originally been planned for the end of 2010, and are potentially large hits to both Intel and Microsoft. Intel has warned that it plans a gradual improvement in tablet share, but it may continue to struggle against the battery life and subjective performance of ARM-based tablets longer than thought and could feed into the growth of ARM-based tablets like the iPad and most Android slates. Windows tablets such as the HP Slate 500 often last for just half as long on battery as their rivals and are usually limited by the low speeds of Intel graphics, making the Galaxy Tab and its kind subjectively faster.
Microsoft had been counting on a slew of Windows-based tablets to ship by the holidays and give the OS a foothold, but few have shipped so far and never in large numbers. Intel has landed about 35 designs of its own for 2011, but it's unclear how many of those will ship early on.