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August 16, 2011

Preparing for a Windows 8 Touch experience

by Darren W Baker

The Building Windows 8 Blog was launched yesterday at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8 so it seems like a good time to do a quick review of what is currently available now that can help prepare you for Windows 8. Not a lot of information has been released on Windows 8 at this moment, but I can share with you some Windows 7 links to information you probably missed over the last few months and offer some details on current consumer hardware. To prepare for the Windows 8 experience you are going to need Windows 7, some touch enabled hardware, and a couple of touch enabled applications.

Touch Experience Hardware

If you don’t have a Windows Touch enabled Slate and you are looking to just add a touch enabled monitor to your desktop or laptop, you can find a list of them on the Windows 7 Compatibility Center and search for “Touch” on the hardware tab. I was surprised to see several 21” & 22” touch displays have dropped in price below $300. When I originally looked last fall, all you could find were professional grade or retail displays that cost $1000 or up.

Applications for Touch

If you go to Bing.com and type “Product Scout“, you will be retrieve many reviews for where the site used to be on Microsoft.com  You want to select: Windows Product Scout: Top applications and devices for your Windows 7 PC as the new Windows 7 Product Scout has its home directly on BING. I have been downloading several of these applications to demonstrate the Windows 7 Slate touch experience with my slates. It’s a good place to go to test out some sample applications, but be warned, some of these applications are “beta” or require you to create accounts so the owner knows who is using them. If you just want to test one out, I suggest the USA Today application. If you already own a Barnes & Noble Nook or Nook Color, try the Nook application for Windows 7. The Nook application behaves very similar to the Nook Color, and it’s nice to still have my books available when I leave my Nook at home.

Windows 7 Slates

While I have found lists for touch enabled monitors and applications, I haven’t found an all up list of Windows 7 Slates. There are several really good consumer slates, and a lot of “generic brand” and rugged slates. For purity of the blog, I will start a list of the ones I own, or have had serious hands on time with recently to offer real user advice and not the “specification vs iPad” you get from others.

 

Asus Eee Slate EP121 

Acer Iconia Tab W500 

 

Dell Inspiron Duo                  

 

EXOPC Win 7 Slate 

Fujitsu Q550 Slate              

 

MSI WindPad 110W                    

CPU

 

Intel Core i5 1.3GHz Processor

AMD Dual Core C05 1GHz

Intel Atom N550 Dual Core, 1.5GHz

Intel Atom N450 1.66 GHz

Intel  Z670 Processor

AMD Brazos Dual Core Z01 Processor

Max Memory

4GB RAM

2GB RAM

2GB RAM

2GB RAM

2GB RAM

4GB RAM

HD

64GB SSD Mini-SATA

32GB SSD

Mini-SATA

320GB 1.8mm HD 7200RPM

64 GB SSD P4

64 GB SSD P4

64GB SSD Mini-SATA

Screen

12.1-inch LCD MultiTouch

10.1 inch LED ATI

MultiTouch

10.1-inch

LCD MultiTouch

11.6 inch HD LCD

MultiTouch

10.1 inch LED 

MultiTouch

10.1-inch

LCD MultiTouch

Max Resolution

1,280 x 800 pixels

1,280 x 800 pixels

1366 x 768

pixels

1366 x 768

pixels

1,280 x 800 pixels

1,280 x 800 pixels

HDMI

Yes Mini HDMI

Yes

No

Yes Mini HDMI

Yes

Yes Mini HDMI

Digital Pen input

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Battery

3 Hours

6 Hours

2 Hours

3 Hours

8 Hours

6 Hours

USB

2x 2.0

2x 2.0

2x 2.0

2x 2.0

2x 2.0

1x 2.0

Media

SDHC Card

SDHC Card

No

SDHC Card

SDHC Card

SDHC Card

Weight

2.5 lbs

2.2 lbs

3.5 lbs

2.09 lbs

1.9 lbs

1.9 lbs

GPS

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Webcam

Front

Front & Rear

Front

Front

Front & Rear

Front &

Rear

Dock

N/A

Yes USB

Yes optional

N/A

Yes optional

Yes optional

3G

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

WiFi

802.11b/g/n

802.11b/g/n

802.11b/g/n

802.11b/g/n

802.11b/g/n

802.11b/g/n

Bluetooth

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

TPM

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Fingerprint Reader

No

No

No

No

Yes

No

Base Price

$1,099

$549

$549

$699

$729

$599

Over the new few entries, I will try to list my personal experiences with these devices. Some you might find surprising.

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