Sunday, 14 February 2010

ExoPC: a real PC tablet?

There is a lot of buzz nowadays about exoPC, a future tablet PC which will be available on March according to their developers. Of course, this tablet benefited from a LOT of buzz on the web, because it was announced just after the iPad. It is announced at the same price as the iPad 32 Go, is powered on Windows 7, is capable of USB connectivity, and is also base on a multitouch technology.

Whaow great!!

hmm, let's look at it a little more closely:

  • Autonomy: 4 hours vs 10 hours for the iPad, 4 hours is not a lot, but it's understandable, as it uses Windows 7, an admittedly good OS, but not designed for mobile usage. Battery life for Windows 7 is even reportedly not very good, probably because it is designed to use "costly" services such as Aero, and relies originally on DirectX 9 for graphics on regular PC usage

  • Weight: 820g vs 680 g for the equivalent iPad model

  • Thickness: 2.1 cm vs 1.3 cm for the iPad. I understand that, because the use of Windows 7 makes them need to have a ventilator on-board!!!

  • Power: Processor is 1.6 Ghz vs 1 Ghz for iPad, but the absence of a GPU (integrated Intel graphics on-board, probably to reduce price and avoid further reduction of battery life from 4 hours to 1 hours only) is a very bad news for multimedia usage, which is the primary usage for this type of product. Comparisons on the same 3D games between Nexus One and iPhone 3GS were interesting because they showed that despite Nexus One having a more powerful CPU (1 GHz vs 600 Mhz), iPhone was more than twice faster than Nexus One in all configurations.

  • Multitouch: hmm, multitouch development is not finished yet for exoPC. What? less than one month before the product is available? By the way, even if it can optionally handle touch screens, Windows 7 is not known to be the king of touch screens or even multitouch technology

Now for non technological impressions:

  • First it seems that all the demos that were shown were sent to blogs and Internet news sites directly by the designers themselves. Does not seem very neutral. And you will never see any journalist using the tablet anywhere on the web

  • The company which develop and will distribute exoPC is a Canadian company (Quebec). Great, but it's president is a car dealer (!!!)

  • When questioned about references for the exoPC company, Jean-Baptiste Martinoli, the man at the origin of the product, gives the name of mioplanet, another small Canadian company. He says: "it enjoys a significant technological heritage including the structure Mioplanet, another company of Rimouski, a very discreet company that delivered innovative solutions worldwide for clients such as HP or Microsoft for nearly 10 years". Problem is that the president of Mioplanet his... himself. This kind of auto-referencing is something which makes me very cautious. And no names for other companies which could be business partners for exoPC has ever been produced

  • The product is said by the designer to be presented at CeBIT next month ("Next month, Microsoft will present our product at CeBIT in Germany, one of the largest hi-tech fairs in Europe. And it will do the same during a major speech (keynote) next month in Tokyo"). However, if you search for exoPC on the CeBIT web site, you return nothing...

I bet that this product does not really exist my friends.