I thought I’d open this up by talking about my own recent thoughts on Windows tablet pcs. I’ve been looking recently into Windows tablets, and the exciting notion of Windows 10’s continuum. This feature, provided it works well opens the door for a true 3-in-1 platform – that is, devices that can operate as tablet, netbook/laptop & desktop.
A lot of things have come up in my search. Currently the only devices truely capable of the sort of power a laptop has, and a low end desktop are 10+ inch hybrid devices. Which is great except that I have a personal preference for the one-handed, highly portable style of tablets. Good news however on that front, new intel chips coming into devices very soon will make this over 2 GB, higher processing sort of smaller device a reality very soon. I would guess in the next yearly cycle, we will see 8-9.7 inch devices with such specifications capable of some serious computing power. We can see SoC like this in the new zenfone already – and usually tablets are capable of taking things further. And then all one needs is the device to have a good either USB 3.0 output or HDMI output, and one should be able to run a nice desktop platform experience.
And speaking of high speed SoC chips, there is a new ARM chipset by Nvidia, which is almost overpowered for mobile devices. We should see a device or two running that at some point in the next year or so.
And that brings me to my other technical musing. Now if computers aren’t your thing, feel free to skip this part. I was looking into the bandwidth of WiFi, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and what kind of things you can connect to a tablet without bottlenecking, and everything slowing up. What I discovered was that a USB 2.0 port can perfectly handle even an SSD harddrive – and thats faster than any eMMC internal disk.
Equally, you can run things pretty fast over WiFi. With a standard single band a/g/n type network connection it goes up to 54 mb/s which is still faster than a lot of MicroSD cards, about a third of the maximum speed of most eMMC. Certainly good enough for media. And with a dual band connection, with admitedly can have conflict with other WiFi networks around, you can get up to 300 mb/s – likely less in practice, but enough that you may be able to get a WiFi drive to run as fast as the internal storage (perhaps with slight latency though). And thats a prospect which is reasonable exciting, if you had a hybrid drive running over WiFi with say 500gb, or 1tb of data running as fast as the internal storage.
Both of these open up options for more laptop or desktop style performance for a tablet. I also looked into the possibility of using an external USB video card for tablets without HDMI – because without a very fast WiFi connection we get pretty noteworthy lag using miracast, WiDi, etc. It turns out anything with a reasonable resolution maxes out bandwith wise on USB 2.0. Potentially if that was all you were running on USB, and you selected a resolution around say 1280×800, that would work. But for mirroring or displaying anything higher, it’s not an ideal situation.
Anyway, the upshot of all of this, is I am going to look at some WiFi hard drive enclosures, powered usb hubs, HDMI cables, bluetooth mice and keyboards, as well as the other gaming adapters, microusb flash drives and assorted tablet related peripherals – after I open. So that Windows users can try to aim for that true 3-1 experience when windows 10 arrives.
Speaking of which – opening is taking a little longer than expected. Apologies to any of you who are chomping at the bit for some good devices at reasonable prices. I will let you all know as soon as I know, when the opening date will be.